I bought a Chromebook about a month ago. My Macbook, which I purchased about six years ago, was showing major signs of slowing down. So hearing good things about various models, I ramped up my search so I wouldn’t have a major crash issue on my hands.
And after going through several reviews over a couple of weeks I settled on one. Here’s what I’ve learned since then…
There were a bunch of worthwhile candidates that I could have gone with. Ultimately, I settled on the Samsung Chromebook 2, 11.6 inch version.
Here are a few reasons I opted for this one:
Scope of work
I’m not a developer nor do I work in IT. I work in marketing, helping others with content marketing and copywriting, so much of what I discuss here is going to be from that perspective.
If you need to know about the nuts and bolts of this machine, sorry, but I’m not the one to hear from. There are tons of other resources out there that can help you better than I could in that area.
Anyway, most of what I do involves either writing, or conducting research to help others with various marketing projects. I also put together the occasional SlideShare or other types of presentations too.
That said, most of what I use is just the Chrome browser and Google Drive, which is one of the main factors that make this machine a great fit.
Also, Dropbox is available and you can edit Word documents if need be. To do this, select the document from Dropbox, convert it to a Google Doc, and edit.
A slight drawback is that it won’t save automatically back to Dropbox, but you can then upload it back to Dropbox from there.
To do that, when you’re done with your edits, download as a Word doc, which will put it in your downloads file on your Chromebook. From there, go to Dropbox and simply upload. It takes an extra step, but to be honest, that’s not a huge deal to me.
You can also try Microsoft Office Online, but I haven’t used it yet so I can’t vouch for it.
Typical work week
I have a feeling that my typical week is, well, fairly typical to most. I go to an office for most of the week, have meetings, both on-site and off, and work from home on occasion.
When in the office, the Chromebook is all I use. It’s useful enough for most day to day work, but portable enough to get from meeting to meeting, without much effort.
When I work from home, things are a little different. I have a desktop that I typically use to do most of the work that either requires a larger screen to do effectively, or run apps that require more power. But I still use the Chromebook throughout the house, either checking email while making dinner or reading articles from the couch.
Turning it on is a snap. Just open it.
It runs off of the Chrome OS, and the first thing you’ll do is enter your Gmail password. Once that’s done, you’re ready to go.
Having a wifi connection is essential. This is one area that opponents of the Chromebook will talk about non-stop. But think about it: how much work do you really do offline these days? And how many places will you be working where you won’t have a wifi connection?
The lightweight feature is a huge plus for me. After having a Macbook, which I really did like, the Chromebook seems much more portable and easy to get in and out of.
One last pro is the cost. This version runs about $250, which is a great deal if what it does fits with your needs.
There are really two that I see, and only one that impacts me. That one would be screen size. What you’ll gain in portability you’ll give up in screen size. The 11.6 inch screen is large enough for day to day work, although I wouldn’t mind it being just slightly larger. Also, the resolution isn’t the worst, but it’s certainly not like something you’ll find on other larger, more high priced machines.
The other drawback is if you do any type of work in Photoshop, or any other Adobe Creative Cloud application, a Chromebook probably isn’t for you. While Photoshop is being rolled out to select individuals, it’s not available to everyone just yet.
I don’t have much of an issue with this however, as I’m not a graphic designer or photographer with a need to use this on a daily basis.
After a month I’d say I’m very happy with my purchase. Remember though, there are a number of different models, each with its own set of pros and cons. If some of these aspects sound good to you, I would say it’s definitely worth taking a closer look to see if one could fit with your needs.
And I’ll say one more time: A Chromebook isn’t for everyone, but it is working, and working well, for me.