You shouldn't spend more than $300 on a computer

Your laptop is a second-rate device.

As most of our computing has shifted to the phone, people don’t upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. And because of that, there’s almost no good reason to spend a thousand bucks or more on a PC, especially when there are excellent, affordable options like Chromebooks.

Chromebooks run ChromeOS, a modified version of the Chrome web browser. That may sound limiting, but think of all the stuff you usually do on a computer: Email, Facebook, word processing, etc. All of that is possible in the web browser. Soon, Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps in separate windows, which will finally let you truly work offline and do things outside the browser, just like you can on a regular PC or Mac.

Even better, most of the best Chromebooks cost about $300 or less. (Google’s own Chromebook Pixel costs a whopping $1,300, but I wouldn’t recommend it.) No wonder why they outsold Macs for the first time in the US. We’ve reached the point where PC makers can give you the tools to do everything you want for next to nothing.

It makes sense to spend $650 or more on a smartphone. You use it several times a day. You’re always glued to it. An expensive smartphone is more than worth it if you price it out over its two-year lifespan. You’re getting way more value out of it than the laptop you only use sparingly thoughout the week. Spend all your money on a smartphone and use what you have left to buy a Chromebook.

So, what’s the point of a MacBook or high-end Windows laptop?

If you’re a snoot like me, you buy a MacBook because you just like having the best of the best, not because you really need it. I’ve been using Macs exclusively for the last 13 years, and I’m locked in. I enjoy the design, power, operating system, and build quality of a MacBook over every Chromebook out there. And, obviously, if you need to do heavy work like video editing or you want to play hardcore games, you’ll need a powerful PC or Mac to get that done.

Everyone else? There’s no reason not to spend more than about $300 on a Chromebook.

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