Are you tempted by an offer for a very cheap Chromebook, whether used or new? If the offer sounds too good to be true, then it might be due to a particular reason, which, as you might have suspected, is not a great reason. It is enough to make you pause before accepting the offer!
The holiday season is a time you need to be very careful about Chromebook deals because the owners or sellers might want to use the opportunity to dump their device or stock on unsuspecting buyers!
What do you have to look for in a Chromebook before buying and why? This article shows you exactly what it is. It also tells you how to check for this important feature!
What to look out for when buying a used or new Chromebook
Chromebooks are usually cheaper than their counterpart Windows devices. They are also easy to set up and use, so they have been increasing in popularity, especially in the education sector.
However, Google can only ensure support for the Chrome OS on the hardware that they support. For the supported hardware, there is a cut-off date that Google stops providing support. After that date, the device will no longer receive updates.
This date is known as the Auto Update Expiration (AUE). As this date approaches, retailers with the Chromebook in stock will attempt to sell it off, and a popular tactic is reducing the price.
This date applies too if you are buying the Chromebook from a friend or family. In the same way, if you are passing an old Chromebook to somebody, the AUE date counts.
Fortunately, you can check for the AUE date before buying. But before we show you how to check for a Chromebook’s AUE, what happens when a Chromebook is past the AUE date?
What happens when a Chromebook is past its AUE date?
What happens is that the Chromebook stops receiving updates from Google. It means the software will remain at the last update it received before the AUE date. The device will miss out on security updates, bug fixes, and new features.
The most serious loss is associated with the browser in the Chrome OS. Due to not receiving updates, the browser will soon lose some of its features, like extensions that will stop working.
Your Chromebook’s OS is tied deeply to the Chrome browser, which means any problem with the OS affects the browser too.
So, while the Chromebook will not stop working altogether, its usefulness will reduce.
Google has said it is working to decouple the OS from the browser, but that has not been completed yet. The company also says it will increase the time Chromebooks will enjoy support, but many existing devices are already affected.
The AUE date varies from one device to another, as it is not determined by the year the device was made or sold. Hence, you can buy two different Chromebooks at the same time, and they will have different AUE dates.
So how do you find a Chromebook’s AUE date before buying?
How to get a Chromebook’s AUE date
Google keeps track of every Chromebook model in the market. This makes it easy to find the AUE date, which is listed with the model name. You can find the list here. All you have to do is open the tab of the maker of your Chromebook, and you will find your particular model listed there with the AUE date.
For example, the Acer AC700 has an AUE date of August 2016, which makes it a terrible buy right now, whether old or new.
Make sure you check the AUE date as described here to know how close the model is to losing support from Google.
How to check your Chromebook’s AUE date
You can check the AUE date from within your Chromebook. To do this, navigate to the Settings. You can get there by clicking on time in the bottom right part of your screen and clicking on the Settings icon. Click on ‘About Chrome OS’ and finally, on ‘Additional details.’ The computer will then show you the AUE date.
You can get there faster by clicking on the Search button and searching for ‘About Chrome OS.’