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Is a Chromebook the right computer for me?

Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode and Dieter Bohn discuss on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.

Chromebook Plus

If you could look past the robots and smart hairbrushes, there were several new Chromebooks at this year’s CES. The two most notable ones are Samsung’s Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, which are being positioned as the new flagship models for the low-cost laptops based on Google’s lightweight Chrome operating system.

But what are the limitations of these low-cost computers, and who should buy them? Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode discussed this topic with Verge Executive Editor Dieter Bohn on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask.

“You look at a Chromebook and most of the parts are basically phone parts,” Bohn said. “They don’t have a ton of RAM, they don’t have a ton of storage, and their processors are, generally, pretty dinky. You add all those things up and that comes to a relatively small bill of sale. The cost comes from how nice do you make the actual physical thing.”

But the middle- and high-end Chromebooks, which start at a few hundred dollars, are getting nicer. In the near future, a touchscreen stylus and support for Android apps will be standard features for those devices.

“The big theme for Chomebooks for the next 12 months is, what are Android apps on Chrome OS going to look like?” Bohn said. “That’s in beta right now, and it’s a little bit — what’s the technical term? — janky. But over the next few months, they’re going to be putting out the latest version of Android on Chrome OS.”

He said that although the laptops aren’t a good fit for creative professionals — video editing is a “pretty horrific experience” and photo editing is unpleasant at best — he would choose a Chromebook for himself over a mid-range Windows PC.

“I would rather have a thing that I know just works and is good at the things it’s good at than a thing that is junky, but pretending to be better than it is,” Bohn said. “If I’m spending 500-ish dollars on a laptop, I’m getting a Chromebook.”

Have questions about Chromebooks that we didn’t get to in this episode? Or have another tech topic on your mind? You can tweet any questions, comments and complaints to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. You can also email your questions to, in case Twitter isn’t your thing.

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