Last week, I bought a Samsung Chromebook. My wife and I had reached a point where we needed another device besides the Macbook, which was accelerated by selling off her old HP laptop. Between her new website needs, namely video editing, and learning Excel, for Statistics, it became clear she needed to use the Macbook on a regular basis.
We quickly tossed the idea of getting a new Macbook, simply because the price tag was higher than we wanted to spend right now. A $1000 minimum wasn’t in the cards. Because I’m such an Apple fanboy, I was leaning towards the iPad. But then my Dad bought a Chromebook. Sure, I had heard about them, but hadn’t really considered the possibility. I needed to do more than surf the web, and having a device that limited was what I wanted. Right?
I played around with the system for a night, and came away intrigued. Like many of you, Google knows a lot about me, and the breadth of apps they offer covers a lot of ground in my digital life. GMail, Calendar, Maps, Docs, Wallet, YouTube, Plus, and recently Google Play have all gotten to know me pretty well. Intrigue grew.
But the offline capabilities were the tipping point. After 30 minutes of research, I realized the Chromebook wasn’t useless offline. In fact, you could still use many of the Drive features in offline mode, and they simply sync-up when you connect again. That was good enough for me.
Because I had to ask myself, What did I really need to do?
Well, to be honest, I would be taking the Chromebook when I travel around for Rockmont or personal reasons, and for relatively short periods of time. Large storage drives, file management, and software were not a big deal when I really thought about it. Even listening to music in offline-mode is doable, but I normally just listen on my iPhone any way.
So what did I really need?
- Connect to the internet
- Write blog posts and publish them
- Access email (personal and business)
- Write drafts of new articles, training materials, etc
- Access our camper database
I could do all of those things on a Chromebook. In fact, since a lot of typing was involved, the physical keyboard made more sense than the touch screen of the iPad. Certainly, the iPad is MUCH more robust in design, creativity, music, photo/video, and the millions of apps available to customize it to your particular bent.
But, when I’m honest, I don’t necessarily need all that for what the device needs to do for me. As if the internet isn’t distracting enough, the apps would only exacerbate the problem. I need to write, research, and access information. Here are a few other things I liked about the Chromebook.
- Thin, light design (less than 1″ thick and 2.5 lbs)
- Under 10 sec boot time
- 8 hour max battery life (about 6 hours on 70% brightness)
- Offline apps (would have been a deal-breaker)
- 16 gb SSD (enough for basic download storage and favorite songs)
- 100 gb Google Drive space free for 2 years ($5/month after)
- $250 price tage (base iPad model is $400, $500 w/ retina display)
I’m so conditioned to Apple products that I’m still not 100% sold, but daily I’m becoming more comfortable with the Chromebook. I obviously enjoy typing more on a physical keyboard more than a touch-screen. For as touch crazy as we’ve become in the past 5 years, I wouldn’t say I’m that much better of a touch-screen typist, especially if auto-correct was taken away.
Since we travel a good bit, both for work, personal, and missional reasons, I’m glad to have a portable laptop that gets the job done while not costing a lot. If I’m in Haiti or road-tripping through the West; then losing, breaking, or having a $250 device stolen is a lot better than a $1,000 Macbook.
Once more about the cost, even though $250 (difference between CB and iPad) is not a big chunk of money, but it’s worth accounting for. $250 can buy me a plane ticket somewhere new, or weekend getaway at the beach. It’s a matter of priorities to say I’d rather travel with that money than buy the latest and the greatest.
I still have about 3 weeks left before my 30 day return window closes, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. Staying committed to simplicity and saving money usually works out in the long run. I would certainly agree with John Saddington when he says that the Chromebook is limited for the full-time, serious blogger. But if you’re starting out, or need something that does the basics really well for an affordable cost, this is a great option.
Does anyone else have a Chromebook? If so, what are your thoughts? If you were thinking about buying one, does this help your decision? Share in the comments.
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