Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps

I have written often about the low-cost Chromebook laptop computers. I have a Chromebook and love it. The cheap laptop has become my preferred laptop for traveling. I also use it frequently at home when watching TV. See http://bit.ly/2uewqi9 for a list of my past articles about Chromebook computers.

If you own a Chromebook, you probably will want to read Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps by Tyler Lacoma. It describes a number of free Chromebook apps that offer the power of many of the commonly-used Windows applications. You probably will want to install several of them on your Chromebook. All of the applications described by Lacoma are available free of charge.

The applications include: Microsoft Office Online (Chromebook-specific versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote), VLC for Chrome (a video and music player), Evernote, Polarr (a photo editing program), Inbox by Gmail, PaperPile (allows you to save article references, PDFs, and published papers to Google Drive and auto-cite them in Google Docs), WeatherBug, LastPass (password manager), and more.

Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps is available at: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/best-chromebook-apps/.


As I age, screen size and resolution become more and more important to me, and many others I suppose. Does any Chromebook offer larger screen sizes?


    —> Does any Chromebook offer larger screen sizes?


    Chromebooks are built by a number of different manufacturers: Asus, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and maybe some others that I cannot recall right now. Most of the manufacturers produce multiple models of Chromebooks. I suspect there are at least 50 different models of Chromebooks to choose from, maybe more. (I haven’t counted them.) Screen sizes of Chromebook laptop computers seem to vary from 11 inches to 16 inches. The various models also may have faster or slower processors, 2 gigabytes or 4 gigabytes of memory, and other variations. See http://amzn.to/2uiOMyK for a list of Chromebooks sold by Amazon. That should give you an idea of the variety of Chromebooks available.

    Also, if you don’t want a laptop, there is a desktop version called a “Chromebox” that looks like a typical Windows desktop computer only it runs the Chrome operating system, not Windows. Chromebox systems use external monitors. You could use a 30-inch monitor with a desktop Chromebox. In fact, you could even use a 72-inch television set in your living room as the “monitor” on a Chromebox system. See http://amzn.to/2uiPoUO for a list of available Chromebox systems. In each case, you will also need to add your own external keyboard, mouse, and monitor onto a Chromebox.

    Comment: Chromebox systems seem to be quite rare. Most people buy Chromebooks instead of Chromebox systems. A few corporations buy Chromebox systems for call centers or other purposes where dozens of employees need to use identical systems. I don’t think many private individuals buy Chromebox systems which surprises me. For someone who wants a DESKTOP system with a bigger screen, a Chromebox strikes me as a very good solution.


I have used a Chrome Box for several years and I love it. I try to use it for all my internet viewing, as it has been described as almost never getting a virus. I have had no problems with that. I do still like to have a cd-dvd drive and have used an external one with it. It measures abt 5″ square and 1 3/4′ thick, and came with a mount if you want it on the back of a monitor .


It looks like there are several good alternatives in refurb chromebooks right now around $200. I am thinking of getting either an Acer CB 14 for $187, or an Asus CB C301 for $220. I definitely like the 13.3-14″ screen, and am not so interested in touchscreen/apps. Do you have experience with either of these? Comments on screen clarity and brightness? I can’t find any measures comparing these two…


    —> Do you have experience with either of these?

    Yes. I presently own an Asus C301 and love it.

    I have owned two Chromebooks. The first was one of the first ones when Chromebooks first appeared; a Samsung unit that weighed about five pounds. It is no longer available and has since been replaced several times by newer, faster, and lighter weight Samsung units.

    Last year I replaced the aging Samsung Chromebook with an Asus C301. I must admit that I love it. It is relatively cheap (but is not the cheapest Chromebook model), boots up quickly, weighs 3 pounds, never gets viruses, has an 11-hour battery life, and has an excellent 13.3-inch screen.

    I have seen several other Chromebook models from the different manufacturers but don’t have any “hands on” time with them.


Thanks. That’s the recommendation I needed!


I’ve read your articles about Chromebook in the past, and it is very tempting. But unless I can run my Family Tree Maker on it, it’s not in the running for me. ☹️


    —> But unless I can run my Family Tree Maker on it, it’s not in the running for me.

    Chromebooks cannot run any Windows or Macintosh programs. Therefore, they cannot run Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Historian. Reunion, Heredis, MacFamilyTree, AncestralQuest, or any of those. Instead, a Chromebook is designed to run applications that are “in the cloud,” such as MyHeritage, Ancestry, FamilySearch, WeRelate, WikiTree, and similar cloud-based applications.


    Someday I imagine all applications will run in the cloud. I look forward to that (I think). Cloud-based apps don’t require finding all the installation disks for your software, they are always up-to-date, and they don’t care if you’re on Windows, Mac, or other. (Some of them do care which browser you use.)

    I recently got a new laptop and am spending way too much time reinstalling my software titles.


Dick, I don’t know if you have seen that Codeweavers the developers of Crossover now have a version for the Chromebook in beta. This allows the running of Windows programmes on a Chromebook. It is available in the Play Store. Just FYI. I don’t have a Chromebook so can’t try it.


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