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What can you do with a Chromebook?

I just picked up a Chromebook super cheap, so I'll be testing it out over the next few weeks.  I don't think it will become my daily driver for work, but for blogging, research, documentation, and other things I use web-based apps for, it should be more than capable. I'll let y'all know in a future blog post how things turn out.  

If you're curious, I picked up the Dell Chromebook 11 3180 from Walmart for $30.  This is a scratch and dent used device, but it doesn't look too bad.  It sports an Intel Celeron at 1.6 GHz, 4GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.  The device is most likely approaching end of support life, and that is probably why it is so cheap.  It's arriving today, so we'll see how scratched and dented this device is.  Wish me luck!

Chromebooks have come a long way since their debut, evolving from simple web-based laptops into versatile machines capable of handling a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone looking to get the most out of your device, here are ten cool things you can do with a Chromebook.

Run Android Apps

One of the biggest advantages of modern Chromebooks is their ability to run Android apps. This feature opens up a world of possibilities, from using your favorite mobile apps to playing Android games. Simply visit the Google Play Store on your Chromebook, download the apps you want, and enjoy!

Use Linux Apps

For more advanced users, Chromebooks now support Linux apps. This means you can install and run powerful desktop software like GIMP for image editing, LibreOffice for document processing, or even development tools like Visual Studio Code. Enabling Linux (Beta) in the settings menu allows you to transform your Chromebook into a versatile development environment.

Play Cloud-Based Games

Chromebooks are great for gaming, especially with cloud-based gaming services like Google Stadia, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. These platforms let you stream high-quality games directly to your Chromebook without needing powerful hardware. All you need is a stable internet connection.

Turn Your Chromebook into a Digital Whiteboard

With apps like Jamboard or Google Keep, your Chromebook can double as a digital whiteboard. This is especially useful for brainstorming sessions, online teaching, or collaborative projects. Use a stylus for more precise input, or simply use your fingers on a touchscreen Chromebook.

Set Up a Coding Environment

Chromebooks are excellent for coding, especially if you enable Linux apps. Install a code editor like Visual Studio Code or Sublime Text, and start writing your code. With support for Git, you can manage your repositories and collaborate with others. Platforms like Codecademy, Coursera, and freeCodeCamp are also great for learning to code directly on your Chromebook.

Run Windows Applications

If you need to run Windows applications, services like Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise or the CrossOver app can help. These tools allow you to run Windows software on your Chromebook, bridging the gap between different operating systems and expanding the functionality of your device.

Create and Edit Media

Chromebooks offer a variety of tools for creating and editing media. For photo editing, try Pixlr or Adobe Photoshop Express. For video editing, options like WeVideo or KineMaster are available. These tools, while not as powerful as some desktop counterparts, are more than sufficient for most everyday media projects.

Use Virtual Desktops

To enhance productivity, you can use virtual desktops on your Chromebook. This feature, called “Virtual Desks,” allows you to create multiple desktops for different tasks. For instance, you can have one desktop for work, another for personal projects, and another for entertainment. Switch between them easily to keep your tasks organized.

Control Your Smart Home

Chromebooks can act as the hub for your smart home. With apps like Google Home, you can control smart devices, set routines, and manage your home automation. Use your Chromebook to adjust the thermostat, control lights, or even monitor security cameras, all from one central device.

Use Offline Apps

Even though Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily online, they support a range of offline apps. Google Drive apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides can be used offline, allowing you to work without an internet connection. Additionally, many Android apps and games have offline capabilities, ensuring you remain productive and entertained wherever you are.


Chromebooks are incredibly versatile devices that cater to a variety of needs. From running Android and Linux apps to gaming and controlling your smart home, the possibilities are vast. By exploring these cool features, you can unlock the full potential of your Chromebook and enhance your digital experience. So, dive in and see what your Chromebook can do!

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Posted: 2024-05-20
By: dwirch
Viewed: 86 times





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