I’ll be honest. I love my Macbook Pro. I switched to the Mac OS seven years ago and it’s been great, but I wasn’t a disgruntled Windows user either. I find that I’m not alone. Of the 40 people on staff at my church, at least 30 are sporting Macs. When I attend the average conference or gathering and everyone pulls out their computer, at least 70% are also Macs. It seems that it’s the ministry computer of choice. I understand why people like using a Mac, but I don’t completely understand why the church has unilaterally made the Mac the computer of choice.
Yes, I understand the reason why some staff needs to have a Mac. If you’re going to do serious video, image or document editing, you’re going to want a high powered machine with software designed for the Mac. However, I’d argue that this only accounts for 10-30% of the church staff. I also understand that there might even be a larger number of staff who may need access to specific software on occasional basis, but that alone doesn’t mean they need a more expensive computer just so they have access in the rare occasions they need it. This is why I’m intrigued by the Chromebook and here are some reasons why I think more churches should consider the chromebook as their default hardware:
It’s hard to find a computer for less that $500. However, Chromebook options abound under the $500 range. I’m writing this post on a $319 Chromebook that I love and if I were to buy another Chromebook today, I’d pick up this new Toshiba with a full HD screen for $269. With the Chromebook model, I can provide computers for 4-5 staff for the price of 1 Macbook Pro. For most of my staff, they’ll never need anything more than what the Chromebook offers, so why pay the premium of the Mac when they don’t really need it, right? With this kind of savings, you can provide a high powered Mac at the church with all the software and bells and whistles to be used by anyone who needs it and provide Chromebooks for what the staff will do 90% of the time.
We now live in a web connected world where justabout everythign we do is browser-based. Few of us launch Outlook or some other email client to check out email. We consume or media (pandora, spotify, netflix, amazon prime, hulu) via a web app or browser. Many of us are using browser based productivity tools like evernote, google docs, dropbox, wunderlist/anydo. Lastly, we’re using tools like twitter, facebook, constant contact, mail chimp and text based communication platforms that are all browser-based. Even if you’re overly attached to the microsoft office ecosystem, you can get your word/excel fix through Office 360 for free or for a modest monthly fee.
Here’s what I love the most about using a Chromebook. If I accidently left my Chromebook at the coffee shop and someone decides to make it their own, it’s not the end of the world. Maybe my Chromebook was accidently dropped from the 20 story building. No worries. I can pick up an extra Chromebook from the office, log in with my credentials and I’m up and running immediately. Even if I need to run to BestBuy and pick up a new computer, I’m back at work in minutes and my computer looks and feels exactly like the last one. I can even log into someone else’s Chromebook and everything that is on my chromebook is now available to me, including the 27 tabs that were open on the browser on my computer. Because it’s a computer where almost everything is done in the cloud, there’s very little on the actual machine to be lost. This also means the church IT administrator can set up a new employee’s computer in minutes. It also means that I can have extras available for a volunteer who might be helping me with a project.
Yes, there’s a tradeoff. There’s something you get with a Macbook that you certainly don’t get with at Chromebook. The the question you have to ask yourself, is it worth the extra $700-$800 per user? I’d rather use that money in other ways. For the same price as a Macbook pro, I could provide my staff with a Chromebook, and iPad and possibly even an allowance for phone equipment every couple of years, which might be better received by my staff than just a shiney Macbook Pro.
In the coming month, I’ll highlight more pros and cons of using a Chromebook along with apps I use most.
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