Anyone thinking of buying a new notebook or tablet in time for Xmas will soon have a couple of cheap and extremely cheerful options to choose from. First, Google has just updated its Chromebook — a Samsung-made notebook that runs the Google Chrome OS. The Chromebook has an 11.6” screen, weighs just over a kilo and is reckoned to have up to 6.5 hours’ battery life.

Anyone thinking of buying a new notebook or tablet in time for Xmas will soon have a couple of cheap and extremely cheerful options to choose from.

First, Google has just updated its Chromebook — a Samsung-made notebook that runs the Google Chrome OS.

The Chromebook has an 11.6” screen, weighs just over a kilo and is reckoned to have up to 6.5 hours’ battery life.

The key difference between this and a normal notebook is that the Chromebook has just 16GB on onboard solid-state storage (with no moving parts, unlike a hard drive) and can’t install software.

Instead, everything the Chromebook does it does online using a web browser and web apps like Google Docs.

Although this does involve a greater reliance on internet access than usual (though the Chromebook can still be used ‘offline’), it also has a key advantage — backups.

Everything the Chromebook does is tightly integrated with Google’s various services and saved online, with free 100GB storage.

So, even if a Chromebook is lost, its date is not and can be accessed from any other computer, or quickly restored to a replacement Chromebook.

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Better still, the Chromebook costs just £229 and while it isn’t the most powerful portable available, it’s more than adequate for most productivity tasks (word processing, spreadsheets, email) and watching online video.

Meanwhile, Apple is hosting another event tomorrow where it’s expected to unveil the long-rumoured iPad Mini — a scaled down version of the current iPad.

Nothing concrete is known about the iPad Mini (even the name is a guess at this stage) beyond a few grainy photos claimed to show certain components. At the moment, the best guess is that it will have a screen that’s almost 8” across and cost less than £200.

We’ll obviously know more come Wednesday morning, so if you’re thinking of a tablet shortly, it would be wise to hold on for a few more days.

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