Mac or Chromebook as my only computer

Google Chromebooks: 2.5 – Mac Laptops: 2

This is the number of laptops that live in our house.*

Yes, we have a lot of technology in our house, but before you stare too hard with your judgey eyes, you should know that our Powerbook is 8+ years old and the Macbook Air that I currently use was bought in 2008. So we have toys, but they are old and getting crotchety. In the last six months, my Air has been wheezing and sputtering requiring the replacement of two logic boards, two top covers, the battery and the fan. Soon, my trusty Air is soon going to say, “I warned you!,” give me the final finger, drop the mic and walk of the stage — forever.

I have to decide what to do.

Am going to plunk down the duckets and get another Macbook Air – And no, going to a PC is not an option, so stop it, just stop it. – or should I switch from drinking the Apple juice with the Cupertino Cult to sipping Chromebook cocktails with the Android Underground?

So, about those Chromebooks.

We were one of the lucky ones to get a free Chromebook CR-48** when Google was testing them a few years back and we liked it so much that last year we bought one to use as the family computer (Acer C720) and another one for our high-schooler to have as her laptop (Samsung 1).

So yeah, we like them.

I have used a Chromebook as my only computer a couple of  times over the past year when my Air was in the shop for a few days and I have been about 87.98% happy with the 100% Chromebook arrangement. When I was on it 24/7 there were a few Mac things that I missed, but since I knew I was going to get my Air back, I never really examined or used alternatives.

Samsung 2 Google ChromebookBut the stars may be aligning as my current laptop goes on the blink and the Samsung 2 is set to be released in early May.

Pro’s for using a Chromebook as my only computer

  • We are Google people: Our entire family has Android phones including three Nexus phones and a Nexus tablet. We are also pretty brought into Google everything: drive, voice, mail, calendar, etc.
  • Productivity: Much like Apple does with its devices, we can seamlessly connect all of our google devices: phone, tablet and computer. Photos, contacts, calendars, browser settings are all synced between machines. With the ease of having multi-users on each Chromebook, our family of five appreciates how easy it is for us each to keep our google lives separate and still share computers.
  • I can use most of my goto apps on a Chromebook: Evernote, NetflixSpotify, Dropbox, etc.
  • Speed: If you have not yet tried out a Chromebook, because it’s cloud based and software is not installed on the computer, it is very, very, very  fast both in its start-up and performance.
  • Connectivity: While our current Chromebooks are wifi only, there are now mobile network options. Though since I can tether my phone, this too is a moot point.
  • Chromebook as my only computerDesign: The three we have all feel and look good enough. It is hard to argue with the Air style, but I’m kinda over the Apple cool. Shocking I know. And some of the new designs are cool-ish.
  • Cost: $400 or less for a Chromebook as opposed to the $1,000 or more range for a new Air. Yeah.

Con’s for using a Chromebook as my only computer

There are really only four questions that I have concerning the switch about which I could use some feedback from those who have made the switch.

  • PRESENTATIONS: As a heavy Keynote user, I have not played much with Google Slides, but am thinking that this won’t be that difficult of a transitions and could be one of the more bigger obstacles.
  • HEAVY WORD PROCESSING: I have found that I don’t use MS Word all that much these days, so for basic editing, I don’t think I will miss it. But, when it comes to heavy editing for book publication, this is where I need my editor friends to chime in (Looking at you LG) to see if the same things can/have been done with Google docs or some other online service.
  • PHOTO EDITING: Over the past year, I have really gotten into my photography and use Apple’s Aperture as my photo editing software. I know that some use Flickr, but again, I have not really played with online photo editing, so any suggestions would be welcome as I am sure I can find a good alternative.
  • SKYPE: At this point there is no workaround to install Skype on a Chromebook, but there are plenty of workarounds and I have been using Hangouts more and more anyway. Plus, I assume it will happen someday, so no Skype is far from a deal-breaker.

Hmmm . . .  I guess I have talked myself into becoming 100% Chromebook.

Would still welcome your thoughts, especially those of you who have taken the plunge already. I posted the question on  Facebook where folks offered some helpful and cautionary counsel, but if you have more insights, please feel free to leave them here:

  • What applications have you found helpful?
  • What are you still trying to figure out?
  • What have I not thought about?

And a few more useful posts to consider

Thanks all and happy computing!

* I don’t even count my wife’s work PC laptop that is 10 years old and weighs as much as a cinderblock.

** Our poor little first Chromebook has been a trooper, but since the screen only remains attached if you lean it up against something, it only counts and 1/2 of a computer.

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