Chromebooks have been out there for a while now and while they’re great for getting basic work done, they’ve been kinda underpowered for the most part. Google is trying to improve this situation with the new Chromebook Plus laptops. They improve on two key areas including Performance and Storage, while also bringing new useful software features to ChromeOS.
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Chromebook Plus – Everything new with Google’s latest ChromeOS Laptops
There are a handful of changes in the Chromebook Plus laptops which set them apart from regular Chromebooks. These new devices need to have a set of minimum requirements to be qualified as the new Plus series devices.
The new minimum hardware requirements include,
- Intel Core i3 12th Gen or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series CPUs
- 8GB RAM and 128GB storage
- 1080P Webcam with Temporal Noise Reduction
- Full HD IPS Display
Of course, the partners manufacturing these devices can always offer better specifications, but anything below this, won’t be qualified as a Chromebook Plus device.
The hardware improvements bring better (2x) CPU performance, double the memory (RAM) and storage, a high-res display, and better video calls with a Full HD webcam. Some of the older Chromebooks already had a lot of these features, but they were significantly more expensive while the new Plus models start at just $399.
In the past, hardware has never been a strong suit for Chromebooks, with these new improvements, that changes a lot. Even at the minimum configuration, these devices now offer very similar performance to budget Windows laptops. This results in a much better price-to-performance ratio, providing a better value to the users.
New Software Features
Several software benefits are also available on Plus-series Chromebooks as Google is incorporating AI tweaks into ChromeOS. Combining software with the 1080P webcam, the company now offers premium video calling features.
During video calls, users can now blur their backgrounds, improve video lighting, enable live caption, and cancel out background noise from the audio. Because these features are built into the OS, they’ll work regardless of the video calling app.
There is also better app support as well including LumaFusion for video and Adobe Express Premium for photos. Users can also use Adobe Photoshop (web) and its new AI models thanks to the more powerful hardware.
Google Photos will now have the “Magic Eraser” feature on the Plus devices and the company claims that it’ll add more features in 2024 including, generative AI wallpaper personalization, generative backgrounds in video calls, and more.
Google seems to be taking the “Plus” branding pretty seriously this time and hopefully, that’ll improve the overall appeal and functionality of Chromebooks.
Chromebook Plus – Pricing and Availability
Multiple OEMs are making new Plus-series Chromebooks including Acer, Lenovo, ASUS, and HP. While there isn’t any news on a Pixel-branded Chromebook Plus, Google announced a bunch of these laptops from other manufacturers with 15.6-inch and 14-inch displays, and they all seem to offer configurable options for CPU, RAM, and Storage.
Here are all the models that were announced,
- Acer Chromebook Plus 515
- Acer Chromebook Plus 514
- Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus
- Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook Plus
- ASUS Chromebook Plus CM34 Flip
- ASUS Chromebook Plus CX34
- HP Chromebook Plus 15.6-inch
- HP Chromebook Plus x360 14-inch
The baseline Chromebook Plus models come with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, and prices start at $399. The prices will however increase as you choose higher configurations. But at least this time, the prices seem to be reasonable compared to those ultra-premium options of the past that had great build quality but didn’t offer any extra functionality. Availability starts from October 8 in the US and from October 9th in Canada and Europe.