What is Google Octane?

How can Google Octane help you find the right Laptop?

Chromebook and ultraportable computers are becoming more reliable and more versatile than ever before. The sleek and stylish exteriors are nearly the standard these days, but it can sometimes be deceiving. Even after reviewing a computer’s specifications, the speed of actual web browsing can be off.

One of the ways you can avoid purchasing an under performing laptop is by running/checking speed tests to see if the web browsing speed is where you want it. With Google Octane, the result is a fast, simple, and clear metric that you can use to compare with other laptops, especially Chromebooks.

What is Google Octane?

This specialized benchmark test targets one of the most taxing and common areas used by the web browser: Javascript, or js for short – js controls lots of different tasks and functions found on web pages: tool bars, menus, animations, ads, games, and more.

It has risen in usage by web designers over the years, too, thanks to the popularity of HTML5 as a standard for videos and applications.

Google Octane is your cutting edge Javascript benchmark.  Other competing benchmark programs only test a limited scope and are not updated as often as Google.

Here’s a look at the technical tests that Octane covers:

  • Box2DWeb: A test that focuses on the power to draw 2D graphics that are often used by web animations and games that use realistic physics calculations.
  • Mandreel: A 3D version of Javascript that is used to power various games and 3-dimensional interactivity on various websites (for example, interactive data models and compilations).
  • PDF.js: This is a test that will show how effective your browser is at displaying PDF documents without the assistance of additional plug-ins.
  • GB Emulator: This test is named after the popular game console to demonstrate the ability to run complex 3D graphics within a browser, which in-turn can measure how well your browser can run apps on websites such as Facebook or with Google’s app store.
  • CodeLoad: Another test that helps determine how fast your browser can load web-based apps on websites like Facebook, where additional widgets are called upon for additional tasks.

That is just a portion of what Octane tests – in total there are 13 factors which are scored and tallied for a final average that you can use to compare with various models of laptops and Chromebooks.

For more information, read the official Google Octane benchmark list.

How Accurate is Google Octane?

While it is the most comprehensive and modern Javascript benchmark out there, there is no exact science for determining how well your browser will perform on any given machine. There will always be unforeseen variables and factors that can be missed by a benchmark score, but Octane is constantly being updated and adopted by the industry as the standard for developers and web designers to use as their guide for a smooth and user-friendly browsing experience.

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Big List of Chromebooks

What is a Chromebook?

Before going any further, it’s important to understand that a Chromebook doesn’t operate in the same way as a standard PC or Mac. They run on Google’s very own operating system, ChromeOS. They are primarily designed to be lightweight and connected to the internet for much of their normal use. They have very little internal storage, although you can easily upgrade storage capabilities with USB and flash memory.

There are so many different brands of chromebooks – so how do you know which one to buy?  This will help you compare all the major features of the different laptops and then let you read a review we have done on each one.

We look at:

  • Brand: the manufacturer of the Chromebook
  • Model: each has different models – this will help you see the difference
  • Google Octane Score: this is a test of “real world” speed
  • Processor: the “engine” of your chomeOS device
  • Resolution: this is the number of pixels that fit on the screen
  • Memory/Storage: this can effect price and speed big time
  • Release Date: kind of like the birthday of model
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Chromebooks vs Laptops

A traditional PC laptop will run on a Microsoft Windows operating system. Newer Macs run on OS X. Chromebooks have entirely different operating system altogether, rendering them incapable of running Windows and OS X software, for the most part. Chromebooks are mainly designed to run a very lightweight operating system based on Google’s Chrome browser. All of the software you use will either be web-based or a Chrome app.

Although Chromebooks run ChromeOS, it is possible on most models to run a Linux operating system alongside ChromeOS. This opens up the capability of running Linux desktop applications as well as a possibility to emulate Windows software through the WINE emulator. While it may be possible, it would require a fair bit of knowledge regarding the Linux operating system to be attempted.

Chromebook Capabilities

Chromebooks are designed to live in “the cloud”, with “the cloud” being the internet and all of the many applications that are available online. Think about how much time you spend in your browser. What if you had a computer that was inexpensive, lightweight and ONLY focused on web applications and NOT supporting a bloated operating system? That’s a Chromebook in a nutshell.

Anything you can do on the web you can do with a Chromebook. With applications such as WebGL and HTML5, the web is largely becoming its own type of operating system. Almost any application you can imagine is now available online. Anything from video editing, photo editing, and management, games, applications for education and more can be found online. The Chrome Web Store makes it easy to find software to use on your Chromebook quickly and easily, much like you might find on your smartphone.

Integrated Media Player and File Browser

Although most of your ChromeOS experience will be spent in the browser, there is also an integrated media player and file manager included. The media player handles all common audio and video files while the file manager makes it easy to manage your media and documents stored locally. Between the browser, media player and file browser, ChromeOS has about 95% of my daily computing tasks covered.

Chromebook Compatible Printers

The main compatibility issue with switching to ChromeOS is finding printers that are compatible with Chromebooks. In order to use a printer with your Chromebook, it must be cloud ready. Being cloud ready means that you can connect to a printer directly through the web and don’t need a PC to set them up. Cloud Ready printers connect to your Google Cloud Print account and can be accessed immediately.

Click here to see if your printer is Cloud Ready or find a Cloud Ready printer

Chromebook Operating System

ChromeOS is built and Linux and designed to be extremely lightweight and agile. It’s primarily built to run on very limited hardware making Chromebooks much less expensive than a traditional laptop yet perform nearly as well. ChromeOS runs the Chrome browser and has very little functionality outside of that. Literally everything you do will be run from within your browser of from a Chrome App.

ChromeOS vs Windows

ChromeOS is much different than Windows. It is much more lightweight, but in turn, much less feature rich. You don’t install programs on ChromeOS like you do Windows, for the most part. Instead, you use the web to carry out your tasks.

Chromebook Benefits

#1 Benefit – Value: Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive yet provide much of the same functionality of a traditional laptop. They use less expensive hardware with a stripped down operating system that can provide great performance.

#2 Benefit – Learning Curve: Learning how to use a Chromebook is similar to learning how to use a smartphone. If you can use a smartphone, there’s not much to learn. You install apps through an app store and everything else is more or less taken care of for you.

#3 Benefit – Portability: Most Chromebooks are incredibly thin and compact. They are easy to transport which makes them perfect for students and mobile professionals.

#4 Benefit – Battery Life: Chromebooks all use very power efficient hardware. Some of them use processors similar to those found in smartphones to save power. This gives them great battery life. Most Chromebooks clock 8-13 hours of use on a single charge.

#5 Benefit – Speed and Simplicity: Chromebooks boot up in under 10 seconds and automatically update. There’s really no maintenance involved at all. Like a smartphone, they simply do what they’re supposed to without all of the headaches associated with a traditional computer like viruses and bluescreens. A Chromebook antivirus isn’t even necessary.

How Much is a Chromebook?

Chromebooks range in price from around $150 on the low end to $500+. Check out our top picks to check out prices.

What to Look For

Picking a Chromebook is fairly straight forward. Many of the models offer very similar specs. Below I’ll give you some guidelines for evaluating a Chromebook review.

RAM

2 GB and 4 GB of RAM are most common. 2 GB of RAM is fine for light use, although I’d suggest getting a model with 4 GB of RAM if possible. This will help keep your system speedy.

Internal Storage

In the past, there were a few Chromebooks that offered mechanical hard drives. New Chromebooks now mainly offer 16 GB and 32 GB of internal storage. I wouldn’t worry about internal storage as much considering that you can import media easily though a flash card slot or USB expansion port. Paying for 32 GB of storage isn’t worth it unless you HATE dealing with SD cards or USB memory sticks.

Expansion/IO

USB: Most Chromebooks have 2 USB ports. Most models have a single USB 2.0 on one side and a single USB 3.0 on the other side. I could only see USB 3.0 being really important if you had USB 3.0 data storage and you wanted to transfer large amounts of data to your Chromebook, otherwise it doesn’t really matter much.

HDMI: Do you want to connect your Chromebook to your TV or a monitor using HDMI? Better get a model that has an HDMI port. Be careful, though, some models have full-size HDMI ports and some have micro-HDMI ports. The only difference is the type of cable used to connect to the port.

Flash Card Slot: Most models come with a flash card slot. Find out what type of memory it takes in order to determine the largest possible card size to use.

Display

Many of the older Chromebooks suffered from a common symptom, lousy LCD display. The bottom line, if you want a really nice Chromebook display then get a model with a full HD IPS display.

Input Devices

There is a standard style and layout for all Chromebook keyboards. The only difference is in how well made the keyboard is. The full-size keyboards are designed to be space efficient and easy to type on, even on the smallest Chromebooks.

The touchpads vary from model to model, although most offer multi-touch gestures and other time-saving features. Unless you’re going to splurge on a Pixel, the touchpad is likely to be the least of your concerns.

Best 19 Chromebook Apps For the Home Office

Now sure if the Chromebook is a good laptop for you?  What you can do on your Chromebook is only limited by your imagination. There are apps for all purposes now as a Chrome Operating System app or a web based app

Below are some Chrome OS app categories listed, that will help you in a better way:

Chromebook Apps for Handling Documents:

google-docs-iconThis category of chromebook app includes apps that can be used to deal work on Word documents, spreadsheets and Power Point.

Google Docs:

Google Docs is a web-based document management application for creating and editing private and public, word processing and spreadsheet documents. Store them on Google drive. You can access, create and edit them wherever you go.

Google Sheets:

Google Spreadsheets is a web-based spreadsheet.  You can create, edit, update and modify spreadsheets and share the data online. It offers typical spreadsheet features like add, delete and sort rows and columns. It allows users to collaborate on the same spreadsheet at the same time from where ever.

Google Slides:

Google Slides is Google presentation app.  It is free to use and you only need a Google account to use it. Google Slides is not quite as good as Keynote or Microsoft PowerPoint – but it is pretty good.  Its built for collaboration, simple UI, edit and present document offline, access presentation from other devices and easy sharing and web-publishing.

Chromebook Apps for Multimedia:

How to create and manage media file like audio, video & images on the Chromebook.

twisted-waveTwisted Wave:

Twisted Wave is a browser-based audio editor.  All you need is a web browser to access it and you can record or edit any audio file, as well as apply an audio effect.

wevideoWeVideo:

WeVideo makes video editing easy and simple for you.  It includes text, effects, music, transitions and more.

google-drawing

Google Drawing:

Sometimes documents need to pop.  Google Drawing helps make that easier. Use this application to add flow charts, layout charts, diagrams and direct publish to the web.

animotoAnimoto:

Animoto is a cloud-based video creation application that produces video from photos, video clips, and the user also adds music into video slideshows according to skills.

sketchpadSketchpad:

Sketchpad is a drawing application.  It helps build images by painting, adding notes and manipulate graphics.

Chromebook Apps for the Home Office:

dictationDictation:

Dictation allow you to use Google chrome as a voice recognition application.  You can speak to type long documents, notes and emails without touching any additional keyboard easily.

dictanoteDictanote:

Speech to text app which is now called DictaNote. It now has new features and allows users to insert images and hyperlinks too.

realtime-boardRealtimeBoard:

RealtimeBoard is a visual project management tools. You can add multi-media files via a variety of markup tools. Make your own group-work more interactive by collecting feedback and discussing in real time.

kindleKindle Cloud Reader:

The Kindle Cloud Reader is a web app that allows users to read Amazon Kindle books on any compatible web browser. It helps to customize your reading experience by choosing the font size, text color, background color, the number of reading columns.

google-play-booksGoogle Play Books:

Google Play Books is a cross-platform ebook application offered by Google. You can purchase and download ebooks from Google Play.  With over 5 million ebooks, you’ll have plenty of things to read.

3D-solar-System-Web3D solar System Web:

This 3D solar system simulation application, gives you the appropriate location of the planets in the solar system at different time, and also gives information about each one of them.

planetariumPlanetarium:

This Chromebook application gives you the ability to use an interactive sky map for exploring the stars and planets. Planetarium shows you over 1ooo stars.

Chromebook Apps for Ideas:

logo-tinkercadTinkarCad:

Tinkercad is a simple application related to online 3D design and 3D printing. Whether you’re a designer, hobbyist, teacher, or kid – you can use TinkerCad to make toys, prototypes, home decor etc.

lucidchartLucidchart:

Lucidchart is web-based diagramming software which helps you to collaborate and work together in real time. You can make flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, UML designs, mind maps, software prototypes, and many others.

icon-cacooCacoo:

Cacoo is a user -friendly online drawing tool. A diagram created with Cacoo can be edited by multiple people at the same time. This Application can be used free of charge.

desmos-iconDesmos Graphing Calculator:

Desmos is an advanced graphing calculator implemented as a browser application and a mobile application. Its is great for math.  Its helps to Plot functions, create tables, add sliders, animate your graphs, and more.

 

Best Chromebooks of 2016 – Top 8 Picks Reviewed

Chromebooks offer an exciting new choice in laptop technology. They boot in 10 seconds and most run for 10+ hours on a single charge. They run on ChromeOS and update automatically so security is never an issue. Best of all, most Chromebook models only cost between $149 and $249.

Best Chromebooks for 2016 – Top 8 Categories:

Lowest Price Chromebook:

Hisense Chromebook C11

$159.29
Hisense Chromebook C11
6.7

Performance

6/10

Display

8/10

Battery Life

7/10

Google Octane Rating

5/10

Pros

  • Price
  • Lightweight
  • 11.6-Inch Screen

Cons

  • Can be sluggish

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 7,100

Read Customer Reviews (16)

Hisense-Chromebook-C11-155The Hisense Chromebook C11 is a lightweight, portable laptop that is extremely affordable. It’s easily the better of the two Chromebooks in this price range, with the other being the Haier Chromebook 11. Unlike the Haier model, this one lacks the battery failure that plagues Haier Chromebooks. It’s not going to blow you away with speed, but it’s also not going to break the bank.

read-review

Best Value – Under $200

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 7,600

The Acer Chromebook CB3 (model CB3-111-C670) has the look and feel of a small MacBook at just a fraction of the cost. It’s lightweight, compact and offers decent performance for the money. It’s definitely a step up from the Haier and Hisense models. The extra $20 gives you a huge upgrade in build quality and reliability. This model also supports Linux very nicely, making it a great laptop with a traditional desktop as well.

Read Customer Reviews (1,705)

read-review

Best Value – Over $200

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 11,600

Acer C720The Acer C720 has been around the block a few times. It originally debuted in 2013 and has been selling like hot cakes ever since. This is mostly due to the fact that it sports the Intel Celeron 2955U CPU with Haswell micro-architecture. This CPU alone is like getting a 50% boost in performance over most Chromebooks on the market. Just compare the Octane benchmarks to see for yourself.

Read Customer Reviews (3,722)

read-review

Biggest Screen

Acer Chromebook 15

$279.00
Acer Chromebook 15
8.1

Performance

8/10

Display

10/10

Battery Life

7/10

Google Octane Rating

9/10

Pros

  • Great screen
  • Very Fast
  • Good speakers

Cons

  • It is big
  • Battery goes quick

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 13,500

Acer Chromebook 15The Acer Chromebook 15 is the ONLY Chromebook on the market with a 15.6″ screen, and it’s a beauty. The full HD 1920×1080 resolution with IPS technology LCD panel is second only to the Toshiba Chromebook 2. The latest generation of Intel Celeron processor with Broadwell micro-architecture provides some of the best performance you can find in any Chromebook. If you’re looking for a traditional laptop or desktop replacement, the Chromebook 15 from Acer is a winner.

Read Customer Reviews (346)

read-review

Best Performance

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 25,300

Acer-Chromebook-15-slide2The Acer Chromebook 15 with Core i5 processor represents the very best performance any reasonable amount of money can buy. The 15.6″ IPS display with matte finish is stellar, the build quality is outstanding, and the overall value of this machine compared to low-end models is quite good. If you want the very best Chromebook (other than a Google Chromebook Pixel) this Acer has you covered.

Read Customer Reviews (37)

read-review

Best Full HD Screen

Toshiba Chromebook 2 HD

$299.99
Toshiba Chromebook 2 HD
8.3

Performance

8/10

Display

9/10

Battery Life

8/10

Google Octane Rating

9/10

Pros

  • Great screen - HD
  • Light weight
  • Backlit Keyboard

Cons

  • Toshiba specific charger

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 17,900

Toshiba-Chromebook-2The original Toshiba Chromebook 2 has always been a favorite among reviewers and Chromebook enthusiasts. The new 2015 model is even better than the original. The new Celeron 3215U processor is a much appreciated upgrade, boosting the Octane benchmark well beyond the competition in this price range. The amazing build quality along with a beautiful Full HD 1920×1080 IPS display rounds out a really impressive package.

Read Customer Reviews (400)

read-review

Best Battery Life

Asus C201

$189.99
Asus C201
7.5

Performance

7/10

Display

8/10

Battery Life

9/10

Google Octane Rating

6/10

Pros

  • Light and Thin
  • Big Battery
  • Feels very good

Cons

  • Light on smooth video

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 7,100

ASUS C201PA-DS01

They have these on sale on Amazon right with 4 GB of RAM. This is probably one of the best deals I’ve seen so far in 2016. With 4 GB RAM, a 13 hour battery life and a quality ASUS (model ASUS C201PA-DS01) build, you aren’t going to find a better deal right now.

Read Customer Reviews (671)

read-review

Most Expensive

Google Octane Benchmark (?): 25,000

chrome-pixelThe Google Chromebook Pixel is the ONLY Chromebook manufactured and sold by Google directly. Every other Chromebook on the market is made by a third party. The Chromebook Pixel is somewhat of a showpiece that was created to showcase Google’s ChromeOS. It features high end hardware with a more than modest price tag to match. It truly is the finest Chromebook ever created and the 2015 edition is even better than the original.

Read Customer Reviews (5)

read-review

Google Octane Benchmark

Google Octane is a universal benchmark tool that simulates a variety of complex Javascript applications in order to determine how well a device performs. The faster a device completes the routine, the higher it will score. A higher score represents the ability to complete Javascript tasks faster. It has nothing to do with the 3D performance of a device or other computational scenarios.

The bottom line: the higher the Google Octane Benchmark score, the faster your device is going to perform with modern web applications. More than likely, if your computer can complete Javascript tasks quickly, it will also be able to handle other tasks more easily.

Top 8 Chromebooks Ranked by Octane Score

Acer Chromebook 15 w/ Core i5 CPU: 25,300
Google Chromebook Pixel: 25,000
Toshiba Chromebook 2 – 2015 Edition: 17,900
Acer Chromebook 15: 13,500
Acer C720: 11,600
Acer Chromebook 11: 7,600
Asus C201: 7,100
Hisense Chromebook C11: 7,100

 

Chromebook Buyers Guide

What is a Chromebook?

Before going any further, it’s important to understand that a Chromebook doesn’t operate in the same way as a standard PC or Mac. They run on Google’s very own operating system, ChromeOS. They are primarily designed to be lightweight and connected to the internet for much of their normal use. They have very little internal storage, although you can easily upgrade storage capabilities with USB and flash memory.

Chromebooks vs Laptops

A traditional PC laptop will run on a Microsoft Windows operating system. Newer Macs run on OS X. Chromebooks have entirely different operating system altogether, rendering them incapable of running Windows and OS X software, for the most part. Chromebooks are mainly designed to run a very lightweight operating system based on Google’s Chrome browser. All of the software you use will either be web-based or a Chrome app.

Although Chromebooks run ChromeOS, it is possible on most models to run a Linux operating system alongside ChromeOS. This opens up the capability of running Linux desktop applications as well as a possibility to emulate Windows software through the WINE emulator. While it may be possible, it would require a fair bit of knowledge regarding the Linux operating system to be attempted.

Chromebook Capabilities

Chromebooks are designed to live in “the cloud”, with “the cloud” being the internet and all of the many applications that are available online. Think about how much time you spend in your browser. What if you had a computer that was inexpensive, lightweight and ONLY focused on web applications and NOT supporting a bloated operating system? That’s a Chromebook in a nutshell.

Anything you can do on the web you can do with a Chromebook. With applications such as WebGL and HTML5, the web is largely becoming its own type of operating system. Almost any application you can imagine is now available online. Anything from video editing, photo editing, and management, games, applications for education and more can be found online. The Chrome Web Store makes it easy to find software to use on your Chromebook quickly and easily, much like you might find on your smartphone.

Integrated Media Player and File Browser

Although most of your ChromeOS experience will be spent in the browser, there is also an integrated media player and file manager included. The media player handles all common audio and video files while the file manager makes it easy to manage your media and documents stored locally. Between the browser, media player and file browser, ChromeOS has about 95% of my daily computing tasks covered.

Chromebook Compatible Printers

The main compatibility issue with switching to ChromeOS is finding printers that are compatible with Chromebooks. In order to use a printer with your Chromebook, it must be cloud ready. Being cloud ready means that you can connect to a printer directly through the web and don’t need a PC to set them up. Cloud Ready printers connect to your Google Cloud Print account and can be accessed immediately.

Click here to see if your printer is Cloud Ready or find a Cloud Ready printer

Chromebook Operating System

ChromeOS is built and Linux and designed to be extremely lightweight and agile. It’s primarily built to run on very limited hardware making Chromebooks much less expensive than a traditional laptop yet perform nearly as well. ChromeOS runs the Chrome browser and has very little functionality outside of that. Literally everything you do will be run from within your browser of from a Chrome App.

ChromeOS vs Windows

ChromeOS is much different than Windows. It is much more lightweight, but in turn, much less feature rich. You don’t install programs on ChromeOS like you do Windows, for the most part. Instead, you use the web to carry out your tasks.

Chromebook Benefits

#1 Benefit – Value: Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive yet provide much of the same functionality of a traditional laptop. They use less expensive hardware with a stripped down operating system that can provide great performance.

#2 Benefit – Learning Curve: Learning how to use a Chromebook is similar to learning how to use a smartphone. If you can use a smartphone, there’s not much to learn. You install apps through an app store and everything else is more or less taken care of for you.

#3 Benefit – Portability: Most Chromebooks are incredibly thin and compact. They are easy to transport which makes them perfect for students and mobile professionals.

#4 Benefit – Battery Life: Chromebooks all use very power efficient hardware. Some of them use processors similar to those found in smartphones to save power. This gives them great battery life. Most Chromebooks clock 8-13 hours of use on a single charge.

#5 Benefit – Speed and Simplicity: Chromebooks boot up in under 10 seconds and automatically update. There’s really no maintenance involved at all. Like a smartphone, they simply do what they’re supposed to without all of the headaches associated with a traditional computer like viruses and bluescreens. A Chromebook antivirus isn’t even necessary.

How Much is a Chromebook?

Chromebooks range in price from around $150 on the low end to $500+. Check out our top picks to check out prices.

What to Look For

Picking a Chromebook is fairly straight forward. Many of the models offer very similar specs. Below I’ll give you some guidelines for evaluating a Chromebook review.

RAM

2 GB and 4 GB of RAM are most common. 2 GB of RAM is fine for light use, although I’d suggest getting a model with 4 GB of RAM if possible. This will help keep your system speedy.

Internal Storage

In the past, there were a few Chromebooks that offered mechanical hard drives. New Chromebooks now mainly offer 16 GB and 32 GB of internal storage. I wouldn’t worry about internal storage as much considering that you can import media easily though a flash card slot or USB expansion port. Paying for 32 GB of storage isn’t worth it unless you HATE dealing with SD cards or USB memory sticks.

Expansion/IO

USB: Most Chromebooks have 2 USB ports. Most models have a single USB 2.0 on one side and a single USB 3.0 on the other side. I could only see USB 3.0 being really important if you had USB 3.0 data storage and you wanted to transfer large amounts of data to your Chromebook, otherwise it doesn’t really matter much.

HDMI: Do you want to connect your Chromebook to your TV or a monitor using HDMI? Better get a model that has an HDMI port. Be careful, though, some models have full-size HDMI ports and some have micro-HDMI ports. The only difference is the type of cable used to connect to the port.

Flash Card Slot: Most models come with a flash card slot. Find out what type of memory it takes in order to determine the largest possible card size to use.

Display

Many of the older Chromebooks suffered from a common symptom, lousy LCD display. The bottom line, if you want a really nice Chromebook display then get a model with a full HD IPS display.

Input Devices

There is a standard style and layout for all Chromebook keyboards. The only difference is in how well made the keyboard is. The full-size keyboards are designed to be space efficient and easy to type on, even on the smallest Chromebooks.

The touchpads vary from model to model, although most offer multi-touch gestures and other time-saving features. Unless you’re going to splurge on a Pixel, the touchpad is likely to be the least of your concerns.