I did it. I have made the move to the cloud and I am not looking back. Back in September of 2012, I was getting frustrated with my Windows laptop because it was 2 years old and it was already starting to take longer to boot up, start programs, just run sluggishly. I cleared out the old programs, defragged it, ran malware and anti-virus programs on it, etc, but nothing really helped. That’s just what happens with Windows PCs. That’s when I first stumbled upon Chromebooks.
The idea appealed to me. A decent priced computer that was “worry free”. Plus I already used, Google Chrome, Google+, and Google TV. My hesitation was that I run a community theatre and we used Dropbox and Office for everything.
I decided that I was going to try to go cold turkey for 2 weeks. I was only going to use what I could access through Chrome. I set up a Drive account and moved all of my personal files there. I then started to become acquainted Google Docs. After just a day I was kicking myself for not using these products earlier. I no longer have to worry about saving documents because they auto saved to the cloud. I can revert to previous drafts of a document hours and even days and months before. Everything syncs up nicely to my Galaxy S3 so that I can access it from anywhere. My associates could instantly access projects I was working on and even co-edit them. Soon after I transferred the entire Theatre over to using Drive and Docs and it has made things so much easier and streamlined.
Now I was definitely interested in a Chromebook, and when +Samsung USA announced their Samsung Chromebook series 3 for only $250 dollars, it was a no brainer.
1. Price – Samsung seemed to put their resources into all the right areas to give us an optimal PC for the price. The overall build quality is nice. It’s plastic, but it doesn’t feel flimsy. It is super thin (0.69 inches), and very lightweight (2.4 pounds). I also get between 6 to 7 hours of battery time, and Google threw in 100 gigs of cloud storage free for 2 years. I have read reviews where people are dismissing Chromebooks because they only run on an Arm processor, but let me assure you, this is no netbook. The problem with netbooks is that you have an underpowered processor trying to run a massive program like Windows. Try to run a firewall, an antivirus program, and whatever PC based software you want and the whole thing just grinds to a halt (my partner had one and we decided that it was best used a door stop). Google’s Chrome OS is much leaner and meaner. My Chromebook zips along without much hesitation. The only time I ever have encountered any sluggishness so far is when I have had a couple of Youtube windows open trying to run videos. At $250, the price is definitely right.
2. Keyboard and trackpad – The Keyboard and trackpad on the Samsung Chromebook are the best that I have used on a laptop. The keys on the keyboard are well spaced and have a nice click feel to them. The trackpad is large and very responsive. The gesture based controls, like sliding 2 fingers down to scroll the page, took about a day to get used to. Now I have trouble using anything else.
3. Start Up Time – My favorite part of the Chromebook is that it takes 10 seconds to boot up when off and about a second to come back up if it’s asleep. I had gotten to the point with my Windows laptop, which took around 1 min and 45 secs to boot, that I was using my cellphone to Google things or do my email because I didn’t want to wait. Now I just grab my Chromebook, flip it open, and it’s ready to rock.
1. Gaming – The only disadvantage I have encountered with the operating system is that I cannot play my Settlers of Catan game online through the Chrome OS because it requires Java. When I originally got my Chromebook in November, there was an extension called Rndr that allowed you to run the Java plugins. The company has since been bought out and the extension is no longer available.
Chrome OS does have a remote desktop feature that works very smoothly, so my workaround is that I just log into my desktop and then access my game there. It is not much of an issue. You can also access Office or any other desktop program you want from there.
2. Requires an Internet Connection – The other complaint that I have seen often is that the Chromebook is basically a worthless hunk of plastic when not connected to the internet. This is only partially true. Google has added a lot of offline functionality for Docs, Drive, and Gmail. Honestly, I am rarely, if ever, using my computer in a non wifi area. I also have wifi tether on my Galaxy S3, which I have used twice since I got my Chromebook in November.
I will admit that I am not a heavy gamer and that I primarily use my computer to create documents for my business, manage our website, surf the web, check my email, and play on Google Plus. That said, the Chromebook has become my primary computer because it is fast, light, and actually enjoyable to use. It does everything I need it to do. Couple that with Google’s rapid release schedule of Chrome OS updates and the computer that I already love gets better and better every couple of weeks.
So are you ready to make the switch to the omnipresent cloud? Are you considering buying a Chromebook, or are you going to stick with Windows 8? Have you played with or do you own a Chromebook and what do you think?
Author – Matt McAuley
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