Is a Chromebook a good business laptop?

ASUS Chromebook C434
ASUS Chromebook C434 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Best answer: Yes! Security-minded Chromebooks are great for many kinds of business and business users, especially as more and more enterprise software shifts towards web clients and mobile apps like those available on Google Play.

Best for business: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 (From $570)

What can you do on a Chromebook?

These days, more than you'd think!

The big controversy with Chromebooks in the early days was that they couldn't install legacy applications that Windows and macOS machines run — like Microsoft Office or QuickBooks — but these days, you can install Android apps on Chromebooks easily through the Google Play store, and Linux app support is rolling out to more and more Chromebooks these days.

The Chrome browser has grown a lot as well in recent years, with more and more robust Chrome extensions and more stable Chrome themes becoming available. Between Google Play apps and the Google Drive suite's offline syncing, there's still plenty of ways to get your work done even when you're trapped on a Wi-Fi-less flight. And if you don't want the Google Play Store on the company laptops your employees use, it takes just one click to block it for all company-managed Chromebooks.

Collaboration on Chromebooks and Google Drive is the best in the industry.

There are still some advanced features the Drive suite doesn't have, but for 99% of use cases, Google's productivity tools are as good or better than Microsoft's, especially for collaboration. Google was the first company to really do collaboration well with productivity applications, and that still shows: having multiple users type in the same Google Doc still works much better than doing the same with competitors' products.

Easy maintenance

In a previous life

Part of the reason Chromebooks have soared in both Enterprise and Education use is because of how ridiculously easy they are to maintain. In the rare instance when major problems arise — such as a corruption of the core system or broken hardware — getting a user up and running again is as easy as having them sign into a new Chromebook. All bookmarks and login information syncs right over, and they're back to being productive. Meanwhile, fixing their old machine usually just requires a factory reset, and after 30 minutes the bad machine is working perfectly again.

Chromebooks are built for enterprise: easy to use and easier to manage.

One of the upsides of Chromebooks not supporting the same legacy programs as Windows and macOS is they also can't get malware from a bad download. A good IT administrator will have the machine locked down to prevent this, but there's no stronger way to keep attacks from happening than for the laptop to just not support that kind of software. That's not to say that the Chrome Web Store and other parts of the web are perfectly safe, but not supporting a giant attack vector makes Chromebooks much more secure than other laptops.

Google takes Chrome OS's security very, very seriously, and to this day, Google still offers a $100,000 bounty for anyone who finds, replicates, and reports a method by which they can compromise a Chromebook's core system from Guest mode, as well as bounties for every level of security exploit a programmer or bug-hunter can find.

A fit for every business

Lenovo Chromebook C330 ($280 from Amazon)

This zippy little Chromebook can last over 10 hours, won't weigh down your carry-on as you run across two terminals, and has 64GB of space for downloading in-flight movies, perfect for the traveling businesswoman on a budget.

HP Chromebook X2 ($495 from Amazon)

The 2K screen in the X2 is great for creatives and number-crunchers, while the detachable format allows you to ditch the keyboard for a lighter carry during presentations and in-bed movie marathons.

ASUS Chromebox 3 (From $450 from Amazon)

Chrome OS comes in other forms than laptops, and for a static workstation in an office or small business, the compact, powerful, and user-upgradable ASUS Chromebox 3 is a powerful option for a low price.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.