Buy a Chromebook Laptop for $129

The following article has little to do with genealogy, family history, DNA, or the other topics normally covered in this newsletter. However, it does reflect my interests in low-cost computing and I think it may be of interest to many readers of this newsletter.

I have written often about the advantages of low-cost Chromebook computers. (See http://bit.ly/2K5izCv for my past articles about Chromebooks.) These low-cost and highly secure laptop computers have all of the essentials most computer users need. They are famous for how they “get things done efficiently and easily.” Best of all, Chromebooks are very secure and never get viruses. They also never lose data because all systems are automatically backed up online all the time. If a Chromebook gets lost, stolen, or crushed by a truck, the owner can obtain a new Chromebook and then restore all data within a matter of minutes.

Now you can purchase a new (not refurbished) Samsung 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 (originally $219) Chromebook for $129 US from Wal-Mart and that price even includes free shipping or else you can pick it up at your local Wal-Mart store. However, you will have to pay state and local sales taxes, if any.

The Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook 3 has an Intel Celeron processor, 2 gigabytes of internal memory, 16 gigabytes of SSD “disk drive” storage, HDMI video if you want to connect an external monitor, a built-in Webcam, and a battery that lasts for an average of 11 hours before requiring a recharge.

NOTE #1: The SSD “disk drive” isn’t really a disk drive at all. In fact, it is much better than a traditional hard disk drive. The letters “SSD” are an abbreviation for “Solid State Drive.” There are no spinning platters in an SSD. As a result, it is much faster and more rugged than a traditional hard drive.

NOTE #2: Anyone used to Windows or Macintosh computers will first think that 16 gigabytes of SSD “disk drive” storage is tiny but Chromebooks’ default is to save all files in safe and secure areas the cloud, not on internal disk drives. As a result, most Chromebook users will never fill the internal “disk drive” in their laptops. However, anyone who really insists on storing files locally can plug a flash drive or external USB disk drive into a Chromebook in order to have all the local storage space they want. (I never do that on my Chromebook or Chromebox as I prefer to have all my data available to me on all my laptop, desktop, and tablet computers as well as on my “smartphone. However, your preferences may be different from mine.)

Please keep in mind that $129 US doesn’t give you a high-powered top-of-the-line powerhouse computer. The Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook 3 has modest power with a Celeron processor and 2 gigabytes of memory. You won’t be running architectural CAD/CAM software to design new skyscrapers with a Chromebook system! However, it has more than enough power to surf the web, read and write email messages, communicate on Facebook, run thousands of programs (see https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions), and play hundreds of computer games.

Most of the available Chrome operating system apps are available free of charge although there are a very few exceptions. You always are always notified of any required purchase prices before you decide whether or not to download and install a Chrome app. Many of the Chromebook programs will also operate when not connected online.

Chromebooks will not run Windows or Macintosh programs, however. A Chromebook also will operate well with almost all web sites, including MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, Ancestry.com, WikiTree.com, eogn.com, Wikipedia.org, most email services, and thousands more. I even use a Chromebook (or Chromebox) to build and maintain the web servers of this newsletter.

Because of Chromebooks’ ease of use and minimal technical knowledge required, a Chromebook is a great solution for adolescents, for computer-illiterate adults, and also for anyone who wants an inexpensive laptop computer for use when traveling. Chromebook users can even create supervised accounts to track or limit online activity for kids online. This makes the Chromebook a great family-friendly laptop.

To learn more about the $129 Samsung 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 available from Wal-Mart, go to http://bit.ly/2EYuDRX. I have no idea how long this price will last.

This article was written on a Chromebox desktop computer. See my earlier article at https://blog.eogn.com/2019/05/24/using-a-chromebox-as-my-primary-day-to-day-computer/ for information about my use of a Chromebox desktop computer.

NOTE #3: I am not compensated in any way for publishing this article about Chromebook computers. I am simply a very satisfied Chromebook user who wants to pass on information about a “good deal” to anyone else who is interested.

8 Comments

I just purchased a chromebook, mainly to supplement my Win 10 desktop for web searching, email, and quick access to lists and notes that I hope will make my work area more paperless. I’ve only had it a few days, but have not yet taken it with me to the library on a research quest. I already know that it will be more useful and easier to master than my iPad, and much more portable than my larger and heavier Windows laptop.

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Margaret Gagliardi June 8, 2019 at 6:18 am

Does this Chromebook have enough power to hold Legacy Family Tree and all the photos
Thanks

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    —> Does this Chromebook have enough power to hold Legacy Family Tree and all the photos

    Yes and No. However, those answers require explanations.

    As to holding a large number of photos: a Chromebook can hold millions of photos. However, they won’t all be stored INSIDE the chromebook. Please keep in mind that the Chrome operating system’s default is to store all files, including photos, in safe and secure areas in the cloud. Most chromebooks include at least one year’s free storage space in Google Drive although chromebooks also can use other file storage services.

    The free storage space will store tens of thousands of photos and if you are willing to pay for additional space, you could store millions of photos. In most cases, paying for additional storage space will be cheaper and more reliable than purchasing disk drives for Windows, Macintosh, or other computers in addition to Google Drive.

    Next, if you really want to store your photos in disk drives instead of in the cloud, you can plug external hard disk drives or flash drives into the USB connector(s) on a chromebook or chromebox. The amount of storage is limited only by the money you wish to spend. If you purchase multiple drives, you could store millions of photos in them. The same is true for all other computers.

    So, yes, the answer is: you can store as many photos as you wish in a chromebook by use of external drives or file storage services. The sky is the limit. Of course, the same thing is true for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iPad, Android, and other computers.

    As to Legacy Family Tree: that is a Windows program. It only works on Windows computers. Legacy Family Tree will not run on Chromebook, Macintosh, Linux, iPad, Android, or other computers. Legacy Family Tree will only work on Windows computers.

    For more information about Chrome versus Windows, see my earlier article, Will a Chromebook Computer Run Genealogy Programs?, at https://blog.eogn.com/2019/02/18/will-a-chromebook-computer-run-genealogy-programs/

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Once again, storing everything in “the cloud” doesn’t work unless one has constant unlimited internet access. Right now, my speed is down to 0.75 gbs and will be that or slower until the next billing cycle, when the advertised 25 gbs returns to its usual 8 or 10 gbs. Just once, I’d like to hear “this is not a good solution if readers have slow or intermittent internet access” because that is true of millions of us who live outside major cities.

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Can you use Dropbox and Yahoo mail, competitors to Google drive and gmail?

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What is the end of support date on this Chromebook? The ads NEVER say.

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Great description. My son bought me a Samsung and I am still learning. I shared on Facebook.

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I have had my Chromebook for more than 5 years and love it. I take it when I travel so I can read email and do research online in my hotel room without having to lug around a heavy laptop and without having my personal documents on it in case it is stolen. At home I have a desktop computer, but my Chromebook is great for my travels. I am a grandmother and I do not own a smart phone – but the Chromebook works for me.

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