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.
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This is great feedback. We have found that in a Google apps environment, and using the management console, the Chromebooks can work very well for sales teams and road warriors.
There are a lot of resources that Google invests into the Google apps platform and it grows every day.
I currently use a mix of Dell and Lenovo systems, but can’t wait to get my hands on a Lenovo chromebook [http://amzn.to/1QAvvcE]. It is built tougher (and comes at a higher price point, although still very affordable).
The sites that we manage that have Chromebooks have commented that the Samsung can take a beating much better than the Acer models from two years ago. We have a couple of schools that use Chromebooks for their students.
Apple does do a great job in building very capable machines and their footprint continues to grow. However, it is significantly more expensive and with the cloud…that is not always the best way to go.
As a side note, if you are in Accounting or use Excel for complex formulas, the Chromebook/Google Apps platform will not be the best option.
Cheers and thanks for the excellent posts Kenny!