Today marks one month for the Chromebook Challenge. I thought I’d post a final update here and over the next week or two, I’ll continue to add posts about the experience. I’ve been careful not to overload on the Chromebook Challenge posts because I know that many who frequent this site are not as interested in technology as I am.

First, let me be 100% honest. The final two weeks of my Chromebook Challenge, I found myself using my Macbook Pro for a little while every day. I’d say that I still used my Chromebook 70% of the day, but there would be a few hours where I would pull out my other machine. In summary, I used my Chromebook exclusively for two weeks and then mostly for the final two weeks.

Why did I use my Macbook Pro during the Chromebook Challenge? That’s a good question. I ran into a few issues where I couldn’t do what I needed to do on my Chromebook. I’d pull out my Macbook Pro to do those items and I’d often find myself using the Macbook an hour or two later because I already had it out. It was a matter of convenience.

It was actually quite small. Last week I needed to convert a Prezi file to a video. The only way to really do that is to screen capture. I have a great chrome plugin that does screen capture that I use for training videos for tech volunteers, but I needed something specialized that required software that wouldn’t run on my chromebook. For this reason, I used my Macbook. I also had to download a couple of videos that were pretty large, trim them and upload them to vimeo. It was much easier to use my Macbook for that project as well. Lastly, I needed to export the entries in a wufoo form. For some odd reason, google docs would not open the export file. Neither would One Drive. Because I needed the export in order to send an email, I used my Macbook. Outside of these two to three issues, my Chromebook did everything I needed it to do.

The final word:

I love my Macbook Pro. Next year, I hope to upgrade to a Macbook Air (My wife has one and I LOVE it). Apple creates a well-built machine made from high quality parts with an operating system that is beautiful and fully capable. I’d be an idiot not to LOVE using a Mac and there’s nothing wrong with preferring it. Although I don’t use them every day, I do have specialized software that doesn’t work on a Chromebook and it’s convenient to have a machine that has everything I need. I’d be a liar to say that a Chromebook is a better machine than my Mac.

However, this challenge has shown me that I can do 95% of what I do on a $300 computer and it’s a great experience. The equipment isn’t as solid and refined, but it is VERY good and continues to improve. I think that if we had 1-2 fully loaded iMacs available for anyone to use for specialized software and 1-2 fully loaded Macbooks available to be checked out, the rest of my team and I could be well equipped with Chromebooks. I would say that the IT department would need to create a really great environment where it’s easy to print, screen share and store files to make it an easy transition.

So, I’m going back to my Macbook full time, but when I travel, I’m likely leaving my Macbook at home in favor for a smaller/lighter chromebook. My kids will likely learn to operate a computer on a chromebook. Stay tuned for more posts about the plugins and web services I use to make my chromebook challenge work.