Yes, I’m a high-tech guy with access to all kinds of high-tech gadgets. So why did I buy a $199 Chromebook instead of some shiny ultrabook … and why do I keep using it?
My needs for a personal laptop are pretty specific. Get me a keyboard, keep it light, put me online, help me write. Everything else if a bonus, but it’s not a requirement. My work laptop is powerful enough for video editing and code development. My home desktop machine is a video editing monster with a meager 7.5TB of storage … and that will grow once I upgrade my RAID. I am not short on computing horsepower.
Last year I got rid of my iPad 2 and went back to a netbook as my secondary computer. Of course, this was my wife’s retired HP Mini 1000 from a small pile of electronics in the basement … so it wasn’t exactly current technology. I love the form factor, but the limited storage space and anemic battery life didn’t make it the portable writing gizmo I needed. I’ve also been shamelessly sucked into the Google ecosystem, and integration with Google Drive on my slowish netbook wasn’t effortless or transparent.
Some of this is admittedly my preference for the netbook format. I was an early adopter of the original Asus EeePC and used several of these tiny PCs as my primary portable business computer. My business needs now require a more powerful laptop, but my personal life doesn’t. Yes, I could buy one bad-ass laptop for both video editing and personal travel … but that combination wouldn’t properly fill both needs.
My Chromebook of choice is the Acer C7. Yes, the cheap one. But it’s a $199 computer with a decent screen, comfortable keyboard and respectable four hour battery life. The standard 320GB hard drive makes it boot a bit slower than the Samsung version, but I also have space to take multiple Google Drive accounts offline.
Yes, I have more than one Google Drive account. My digital life has a personality disorder.
I have spent a lot of time using the Microsoft Surface Pro, a very capable computer that makes me appreciate Windows 8 (that’s a topic for another blog post). The Chromebook for me is a more focused experience. Yes, it’s a less capable computer than the Surface Pro or its contemporaries, but that’s part of the charm. I actually focus more on writing when I have the Chromebook in front of me.
Yes, I also get distracted by Facebook & Google+ … but that happens on my phone, Surface Pro and desktop computer. The internet is a silly place.
My video projects and photo catalog live on my desktop computer, the supposedly anachronistic beast in my office. However, I can stay connected to parts of that beast with a cheap laptop that lets me focus on my work and doesn’t gather icky touchscreen fingerprints.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this blog post and get back to blocking game invites on Facecook … um, work. I meant work.