Using Anki on a Chromebook, general laptop advice? - SOLVED (thanks!), bought a Macbook Air

Hey everyone! I’m kind of a lurker here, so I suppose this is also an introduction. I’m breaking my silence to ask for some advice in the hope that better people have gone before me and know some stuff.

So I’ve been looking into getting myself a laptop for my upcoming year abroad in Japan, where I’m going to study. I have a pretty structured study method I’ve been using, primarily involving WK and Anki. Only problem is that I use a number of Anki plugins in creating flashcards (furigana, TTS, etc.) and have generally found it slow and untenable even without the use of add-ons to make stuff on AnkiDroid and such.

At this point I’ve been debating between a standard laptop and a Chromebook, but I’m not sure how the Chrome store version of Anki fares when it comes to anything. Does it have anything over standard AnkiDroid, like plugin support, or is it basically the same as what I use on my phone and tablet? I’ve considered a Chromebook because I like the idea of longer battery life and a lighter system, since all I really want is a glorified tablet with some extra features (not planning to do anything super heavy, just use it as a uni tool), but I’m not sure if this is essentially pointless since my application needs might not get met without a Windows laptop. Not running Windows 10 is another plus feature since I absolutely loathe Windows on my home PC, but I’m not Linux-savvy, so would prefer something that “just works” and doesn’t involve a huge ton of tinkering as a solution (though I have built any number of PCs and can get things done if the need arises … just short on time since I leave in September).

Anyway, a quick search of the forum here didn’t yield info, and my searches elsewhere haven’t either, so was just wondering if anyone out there has used Anki on a Chromebook and can report how things have gone. I would also be open to any general laptop/tablet/whatever advice since I haven’t owned a laptop in years now and am pretty out of the loop as far as what hardware is worth the money, etc.

Sorry for the long post and the many questions, but any help is super appreciated. Thanks everyone!


I only use the most basic of basic Anki functions, so I’m afraid I can’t help much.

Just wanted to bump this up so more knowledgeable people may be able to help. ^^

Good luck!

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When in doubt why wouldnt you just get win 10 laptop? It has it’s faults but you can run everything on it. If budget isint an issue then might I suggest surface Pro. It is a tablet with detachable keyboard and full win 10 operating system.

As a Chromebook user, I wanted to check this. However, the Chrome Web Store only seems to contain some unofficial Anki tool, written in Chinese, so I’m unable to actually check what it does. It also requests permissions to read anything in any web page I happen to visit, so I’m doubly wary of installing it.

So… As far as I see it, with a Chromebook, you’d be limited to using AnkiWeb or AnkiDroid. At least, those are the only clients listed in that would work on a Chromebook. As far as I know (though I might be wrong) neither of those support add-ons.

Looks like I was a bit confused with the Chrome Web Store UI there… Anyhow, it seems there are several Anki-related extensions and the AnkiDroid is available as an app. Still, I don’t think you’ll get Anki extensions anyhow.

AnkiDroid is quite basic, and very frustrating (imo). However, I only have a Chromebook, so I can’t make any comparisons with regular Anki.

I use a Chromebook and love it, wouldn’t want to use anything else.
I thought because of that I couldn’t use Anki, but then along came
To be honest I don’t use kitson that much as I’m just so busy, but from what I’ve seen, it is great!
More on it here: - Web & Apps SRS Study Platform


Just adding my two cents as a long time Anki user. In my opinion is a much better option for Chromebook users.

The more I use the site, the more I think my time with Anki is on its last legs.


so I was gifted a macbook air and decided to turn it into a Chromebook

Keep in mind, I never used a Chromebook before and didn’t realize it was essentially a Chrome browser… which means for basically all functions you have to be connected on the internet… and I forgot to mention I do travel to China sometimes, so basically I’d be gimping myself by using google products

so I just slapped Windows 10 on it and that’s the end of that (great travel laptop)

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies, everyone.

I think I’ll probably be forced to go with a Windows laptop, as much as I hate Windows. (JarPas, I’ve had an ongoing hate-hate relationship with it on the new desktop that I built, and it’s given me nothing but headaches, hence my wanting to get away from it on the laptop end.) looks pretty awesome, actually, but I’m really invested in the Anki platform, and I do most of my SRS on my tablet. In fact, the main reason I want the laptop is for general word processing (my tablet is a Fire HD, so not very powerful … using Google Docs and such isn’t the best experience even with a bluetooth keyboard) and for making Anki cards out of stuff while I’m in Japan. A Chromebook would be close to ideal because it’s light, has good battery life, and doesn’t need to do almost anything other than be a web browser, make Anki cards, and do Google stuff … but because I do most of my studying on my tablet, I suppose I’m less inclined to want to do anything browser-based. Though I guess they do make 2-in-1 Chromebooks, don’t they? Maybe that would be good enough. I’m going to make a account and fiddle with the importing options, but it’s a hard sell to get me to abandon Anki at this point. If Ankiweb supported plugins and such, I’d just get by with that, but without any viable means of quickly entering cards, as I see it I’m sort of without options other than a full Windows laptop.

I should note that money is definitely an issue. I’m poor, and the only way I’m making it to Japan is because I broke my back getting 6 scholarships. The less I have to spend, the better.

For a short period of time, I also had a Chromebook when I was broke. It was tedious. My phone had more functionality. I was constantly running into situations where I needed Windows or Mac. I think Chromebooks could be great for school classrooms, but they’re awful for day to day life, even when you don’t think you need all the functionality of a real laptop. I highly recommend finding yourself a budget Windows laptop or a used MacBook, doesn’t have to be something fancy.

Have you thought about getting a budget or mid range windows laptop and putting a variant of linux on there? It sounds like it would definitely suit your needs and is a lot less needy specs wise.

Since you can run android apps on Chrome OS, can’t you use Termux ( to run linux binaries? Theoretically, you could set up an X environment, log into it with VNC (Make sure to have it only bind to lo! ^_^), and use anki from there. Do so at your own peril, though…

Or buy a cheap SBC just to run anki on it…

You know, I hadn’t really considered either of those options. I’m not super Linux-savvy, but this would be the perfect opportunity to get there, I guess, yeah? I’ll have to consider that.

Looking at laptops, I realize it’s been long enough that I don’t even know what’s considered good. 4GB of RAM, a small SSD, card reader, couple USB ports … probably all I really need if I’m just going to be using some Google stuff, messing with some photos and file storage, and Anki. What’s the basic standard processor for a laptop these days?

Bit more on Chromebooks… I got hooked when I was using a Chromebook Pixel as a work laptop for a while. It had a fast processor, plenty of memory, excellent display, etc. It also did cost something like $1500 - not a budget laptop by any means. Now I have a personal Chromebook - a high-end one from Acer. Good screen, fairly fast, transforms to a tablet. I haven’t ever actually used a low-end Chromebook, so take my ideas with a grain of salt :slight_smile:

Also, I do need several tools that are just not available for Chromebooks. If you have Internet connection available and a Internet-accessible machine somewhere, you can run the other software on that machine and use remote desktop on the Chromebook. Mostly, I need software development tools, and use them over SSH connection to a RaspberryPi that I have at home. Or I can use Chromoting to get full Linux desktop environment (or Windows or MacOS, were the home machine running those)

I quite like this model of operation. My laptop could get destroyed any day, and all I’d lose is the laptop itself. No need for “Oh crap, how I get my data off of that laptop now?”

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Thanks, kiirala! I appreciate the feedback, and did read your post prior to this response.

Actually, I ended up doing something I never thought I would do: I bought a low-end Macbook Air. It was discounted recently, then I got a $150 off coupon from Best Buy, so the whole thing came out to be just over $800 after taxes. It was more than I was wanting to spend, but I talked to numerous friends including a couple people in IT, and ended up convinced that it was the best of all worlds. Even though I’m not a big Apple user (I actually sort of hate Apple) and am rather down on iOS devices as opposed to Android these days, OSX really does appear to be superior to Windows 10 in about every way I can think of after using it for a few days now. The system itself is light, fanless, speedy, has plenty of RAM, reasonable local storage, and I can still heavily make use of any cloud-based stuff I want to without being hamstrung by it. I paid for it, but ultimately I think it’s worth it. This thing has been a joy to use thus far, and feels clean and unbloated, and I’ve heard that the general reliability of these is legendary, which is not common to my prior laptop experiences. So high hopes.

Oh, as a sidenote for fellow Japanese learners, the built-in OSX dictionary is also great, and the J-J dictionary actually has the pitch-accent stuff for words, which I remember now from a post on Tofugu by Dogen some years ago. The trackpad also has really great gesture support and the OS has good multi-desktop support, so it makes it really easy to bounce between browsers, tabs, and screens when doing a bunch of language-learning junk.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out and offered advice, I think you guys helped me make an informed decision.

EDIT - One last question for anyone using OSX! My muscle memory is permanently burned into the Windows method of switching between language inputs for the IME keyboard. I can live with making a convenient custom key swap here, but I always still make the usual alt+shift motion with my hands to switch (cmd+shift in this case), and unfortunately that can’t be bound as a shortcut despite there being custom shortcuts. I saw that there was an option for “use windows-like shortcuts” in the Japanese input option, but it doesn’t seem to fix that … my custom cmd+space is what always gets used. Turning that off doesn’t help. Is there any way to actually get it to cmd+shift so I can not have to worry about two different sets of muscle memory?

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