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Windows dominates the personal computing space and when Google announced the browser based Chrome OS back in 2011, their move seemed very ambitious. Instead of targeting the large share of the computing market, Google carefully planned to sell its OS to organizations that require a light OS for daily tasks like schools and offices.
Since the launch, the OS has evolved and even the number of Chromebooks has increased and Google is now looking sell the Chromebook to the everyday notebook user. Speaking of which Google announced two new Chromebooks for the Indian market last month, one made by Nexian and one by Xolo.
The Nexian Chromebook is a simple and neat looking notebook with a rounded finish and a nice leather strip on the lid that gives it a nice feel. It comes with a decent 11.6-inch display which has a matte finish keeping all the glares away. The keyboard is comfortable and offers a good feedback, and the touchpad is also smooth and responsive. Overall it doesn’t feel bulky and is as portable as any other 11 or 12-inch notebook.
Since Chrome OS is not a heavy system, the notebook runs on very basic hardware, something that you would see on a smartphone. The hardware of the Nexian Chromebook includes a Rockchip quad-core processor with 2 GB RAM and have 16 GB of internal storage which can be expanded further as there is an SD card slot. This is a good addition as you get an option to store files like music and photos. There are also two USB ports and even an HDMI port in case you want to connect a projector or a larger display.
The prerequisite for the Chromebook is internet connectivity and a Google account as everything runs on the Chrome browser. There is a store where you can install apps, which basically add an icon to your app tray and when you open an app it takes you to the web link, like YouTube or Google Sheets. All the apps work great and the notebook is perfect for someone who’s primary need is to access the internet and light office work which can be achieved through Google Docs. Google has been working on the OS and plans to bring in updates every six weeks. The recent most update brings in support for Android apps and Google Now cards. There is also an offline mode where you can save your mails or drafts made in Google Sheets which get saved in your Google Drive and get synced once you connect to the internet.
Since there is internal storage and an option to plug in a USB drive and an SD card you can also store your music, photos and maybe one or two movies. There are no heating issues since it a simple fan-less design. The most promising feature here is the battery as you get about 5-6 hours of juice and about 7 hours when you are not connected to Wi-Fi.
The Chromebook seems to have a bright future and could be used as a simple PC for home usage. At 12,999 the Nexian Chromebook is definitely value for money, but is the Indian consumer ready for it? At a similar price one can easily get a fully featured Windows notebook which will offer much more in terms of productivity. For now, the only suitable place for a Chromebook would be in classrooms, small organizations and offices.