The ChromeBook Chronicles

For all the tech geek that I am, I haven’t upgraded my computers in a long time. Budget constraints have me stretching things. As far as my desktop iMac, it’s somewhat older but still humming along just fine. My laptop, however, is another story. It’s a second generation MacBook Air and while it served me well these past several years, it’s very long in the tooth.

When I got it, I primarily used the iMac, so I wasn’t concerned about screen size or speed. Something very light and portable is what I wanted, so the 11″ Air was perfect. Now, however, I primarily use the laptop and 11″ is feeling very small for a main machine, not to mention how slow the Air is. It is time for a new laptop and while I would love to get a new MacBook Pro, the budget again says not so fast.

The other factor that has come into play is the growth and maturity of Google’s Chromebook machines. When they first stated several years ago, I never thought the Chromebook would amount to anything. A laptop that only ran a browser and nothing else? Early Chromebooks were clunky and slow too. But Google has kept at it, relentlessly improving ChromeOS and the Chromebook hardware. Samsung, HP, Asus and Acer have all jumped in to make their own Chromebooks.

I bought a second generation Chromebook from Samsung last year as a test to see if the machine was viable in any way. Chromebooks are traditionally very inexpensive, so it was a safe way to try one out. Turns out the Samsung Chromebook did meet 90% of my needs but there were a few issues. As a general rule in life, you usually get what you pay for. Chromebooks, being so inexpensive, are not going to get the fastest computers on the planet. In fact, the Samsung Chromebook was about as slow as my MacBook Air. Also, the build quality was poor. At one point, the machine dropped to the floor while plugged in thus bending and breaking internally the power connection. The machine now won’t charge. It’s effectively dead. Good thing it was a cheap test.

The Chromebook test taught me a few important things. The Chromebook platform itself was a viable alternative to a MacBook. I also learned the standard 11″ screen on Chromebooks is too small which is the same problem I had with the 11″ MacBook Air. Finally, I had to find a Chromebook that was faster than the Air. I understand, for the price, it’s impossible to get a Chromebook that will match a typical PC or Mac laptop, but it has to at least outdo a old MacBook Air.

The decision has been made, my next laptop will be a Chromebook. The question is which one? Welcome to a new series here on The Connected Age I am calling “The Chromebook Chronicles”. I will cover the process as I evaluate and eventually choose a Chromebook as well as my experience using it. I will give you my best tips and tricks and cover Chromebook news as well. It won’t be the sole focus of the blog, I will still cover digital marketing and tech news as I always have.