Why I bought a Chromebook
I bought a Chromebook this week. In fact I am typing this on it. However, this isn’t my only computer. I have computers with most major operating systems: Windows, OSX and Linux. In the course of a day I also use most form factors: smartphones, tablets, laptops and a desktop.
So why would I buy a Chromebook?
Part of the reason goes back to that laundry list of computers I use in the course of a day. By moving most of my writing projects to Google Docs, I have access to them and can work on them no matter where I am or what computing device I have with me. If a large part of my writing workflow is in the cloud, do I really need a powerful computer to access it?
Another reason I bought a Chromebook is portability. For the longest time I carted around an iPad. However to make it a real content creation machine I had to add a keyboard. I found a great keyboard case, it looked great, worked great and even had a good typing feel. But, when you add a keyboard you’re adding to the size and weight of the device.
You’re also adding cost. When you add the keyboard case my iPad clocked in around the $800 dollar range. I paid $199 for this Chromebook. A few years ago I got a MacBook Pro. It’s a great machine, one of the best laptops I’ve ever owned. I was so fond of it I even started carting it back and forth to work.
Then one day as I was getting some things out of the car, my laptop bag slipped off my shoulder and my laptop went crashing to the concrete. The bag absorbed much of the impact but even so it could not absorb the impact of it landing on the corner of the device. The metal shell of the MacBook was bent. I had to take a metal file to the case just to get the lid to open. There still is a visible ding but at least it works.
After hearing the sickening clunk of a month old $1,500 dollar MacBook hit the payment, after seeing the damage to my new baby, I just can’t bring myself to drag it out into the cold, hard, cruel world anymore. There, there baby. Daddy will protect you.
I don’t worry about that with this Chromebook. While I would be disappointed if something happened to it, there is a big difference between a $200 dollar disappointment and a $1,500 dollar disappointment.
I have played with various versions of Linux for years. Even though Linux powers most of the web’s infrastructure, it occasionally leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to the user experience. There is something to be said for commercial operating systems like Windows and OSX. There’s a bit more polish. Things usually just work.
There are times I love to tinker with Linux and explore how things work, even if that means breaking a few things in the process. ChromeOS is Linux based. However, since it’s a commercial OS there’s a bit more polish. As a writing tool, I want something that just works. I don’t want to futz with dependencies, I don’t want to find out that the latest package upgrade changed the tool that I was used to.
I just need it to work.
ChromeOS is simple. There are only minimal number of settings to configure. From what I have experienced so far, it just works and I really like that.
Another thing I really like about it is the size. When the MacBook Air came out everyone raved about how convenient the 11” Air was. Big enough to be productive but small enough to be easy to cart around. My Acer C720 Chromebook is just about the same size as an 11” MacBook Air. In fact, it’s just a bit thicker but weighs about the same.
I have a question to ask you. Of all the time you spend on your computer, how much of that time do you spend in a web browser? Yeah, there are times that I need to use a stand alone app but I also have a real computer for that. If I spend 90 to 95% of my time in a web browser maybe a lightweight, easy to use Chromebook is the perfect second computer. I bet for a lot of people a Chromebook is all the computer they need. After all, what most people do: email, the web, social media can all be done very, very well through a browser.
Just how much computer do you really need? #chromeos #chromebook #ns