My First Week with a Chromebook

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My laptop of choice is the MacBook Pro. I have been using MacBooks for close to ten years now. These are fantastic machines.

Then, what’s with the Chromebook?

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.41.59 PMThe main reason I wanted to try out a Chromebook is because I wanted to get something cheap, something that my kids can play and work on, and something I can toss in my motorcycle bag that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting banged up.

When Chromebooks first came out several years ago, I bought one and returned it the next day because it was such a poorly made machine. I have heard that Chromebooks have gotten better so I decided to take one for a spin.

I ordered a Toshiba CB35 13.3 inch Chromebook from Amazon for a little over $200 and been using it for about a week. Here are my impressions from my first week with a Chromebook.

Confession. I still mainly use my MacBook. In fact, this blog entry is being typed on my MacBook. I’ve been only working with the Chromebook at home.

Pros:

  • Cheap – It was only $224 from Amazon. If it gets stolen or banged up, I won’t feel too bad about it.
  • It weighs only 3 pounds. And I don’t have to carry around the battery charger.
  • The battery life is crazy. Toshiba says I should be able to get over 9 hours of battery life. I haven’t tested it out to see if it would last that long, but between myself and the kids, we’ve used it for over 5 hours and it still had about half its charge left.
  • It’s super easy to set up. If you have a gmail or google account, basically, all you have to do is turn it on and input your email address and password and you’re ready to go.
  • It starts up like an iPad. As soon as you open the laptop and type in your password, it’s good to go. There is no start up delay. It just works.
  • Chrome takes care of updating, virus protection, and you don’t have to install Office to work because it’s set up to work with Googledocs platform

Cons:

  • It’s cheap. The screen is laughable compared to the MacBook Pro. The keyboard is okay but it too feels cheap.
  • Everything has to be on Googledocs or on the Google platform. I find Office to be a better platform to work with than Google.
  • I can access my work cloud (Soonr) but working on it is clunky.
  • It has to be connected to the internet. I haven’t been in a place where I haven’t had access to wifi so I don’t know what it’s like to work off line. I can create a wifi hotspot with my phone so I don’t think this is a make or break issue.

I bought the Chromebook as a secondary laptop and something that my kids can work on. For that use, I think the Chromebook is perfect. Would I replace my MacBook Pro with a Chromebook? No way.

You can get a Chromebook with a better screen, more internal memory, faster processor…you know, a Chromebook that works like a MacBook. But by the time you pay for a Chromebook to do what a MacBook Pro does, you’re paying MacBook Pro prices. And for that price, why would anyone get a Chromebook?

But for $200 and as a secondary machine, and something that the kids can play and work with, it’s absolutely perfect. In fact, it’s so perfect as a secondary laptop that I ended up buying one for the kids and one for me!

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