I didn’t know my Chromebook could do that!

I was skeptical when I first purchased a Chromebook in place of my dying Macbook because I didn’t trust it would be an adequate replacement. But after years of use, I can’t imagine dropping thousands of bucks on a Mac or Windows laptop when a Chromebook serves the same function. In my three years as a happy Chromebook owner here are some fun things I discovered that might surprise you:

You can work off-line

A popular myth about Chromebooks is they don’t work unless you have a wi-fi connection. That’s just not true any longer. You can download Google’s Gmail Offline App and sync your messages, edit office files, view and save PDF files and listen to music and movies. A lot of Android users prefer this interface, actually, because it’s simple to navigate and if you pin it to your taskbar it seems to offer a smartphone-style user experience. If you plan to work offline, it’s advantageous to have the latest version of Google Drive installed on your computer as well.

They’ve outsold Windows laptops and Macs

In August 2015 it was announced by market research firm NPD Group that Chromebooks outsold Windows notebooks for the first time ever. And in 2013 it was reported that Chromebooks outsold MacBooks to commercial buyers in the US. Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to dismiss the successful sales of Chromebooks, calling them “test machines,” at an Hour of Code event in New York City on Wednesday. But the data doesn’t lie: Chromebooks are favored over iPads in classrooms across the country and the price point makes it a more attractive option to consumers.

You can edit videos and pictures

We love making videos and if you do, too, we recommend the following apps to achieve that on your Chromebook: Filmore is an app designed for beginner video editors; Magisto allows you to create vidoes if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on them; WeVideo has a great interface and is designed to do all sorts of things like accessing their database full of audio, graphics and themes you can download making it one of the popular free apps; Pixlr Editor allows you to add layers and effects to your images and Video Cutter has three different modes to cut your video!

It comes with Goodies

If you head on over to the Chromecast Offers site, you can get the following: two free months of Sling TV with Chromecast; $6 in play store credit, a 90-day trial to Google Play Music and three free movies for Chromebook.

You can Skype if Google Hangout is not your thing

While you can’t run Skype directly from your Chromebook, Google created a tool to allow you to Skype anyway. The App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) allows you to run your Android apps on Chrome OS. You can get started here.

Once you launch it, a screen will allow you to import a Skype file or any other .apk file for that matter. Launch it and it should be ready to use. It does take a little more effort to get it on your Chromebook but it still works and once you download everything Skype will appear in your Chrome launcher so you don’t have to go through the entire download process to use the application.

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