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Looking For A Laptop: Leaning Toward Chromebook

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Image of Google/Samsung Chromebook

masakiishitani / Flickr

The reviews on Google’s Chromebook are making me think it may be the right thing for me.

A bunch of initial reviews (from like a year ago, and that I can’t find links to) had me feeling unenthusiastic, but some reviews today have flipped that entirely.

I’m shopping for a laptop as a primary/secondary device — I can use my wife’s MacBook if I really need to; I just want my own non-desktop device for the day-to-day stuff I do the most (99.9 percent of which is done online). Here are my main concerns when deciding on something:

  • Cost (if this were anywhere else on the list, I’d just buy my own MacBook).
  • Security (I don’t want a bunch of antivirus software to drive up the price).
  • Comfort (does it “feel right”?”).
  • Durability (am I going to have to replace it in a year?).

Here’s Sarah Perez on Chromebook:

While nothing is 100% secure, the Chromebook arguably more secure than Windows, which would have cost just as much, if not more, depending on specs.

Maybe the Chromebook’s real appeal is the comfort factor. I don’t have to learn to type on a touchscreen, and I use the same browser I know from my Mac. All my stuff is there. That works for me, at least for now. However, while I can’t recommend that anyone but the most casual of computing users replace a current notebook computer with a Chromebook just yet, as a secondary option for lighter use, it’s not a bad choice.

Sold.

Here’s David Pogue on one of the big drawbacks, which doesn’t bother me at all:

The first assumption is that you’re online everywhere you go. That’s rather critical, because when it’s not online, a Chromebook can’t do much of anything. You can’t peruse your e-mail, read documents or books or listen to music. With very few exceptions, when the Chromebook isn’t online, it’s a 3.3-pound paperweight. (Google says that an upgrade this summer will at least permit you to read your e-mail, calendar and Google Docs when you’re offline, and that over time, more apps will be written to be offline-usable.)

Also sold.

But I do have lingering concerns:

  • The price. Chromebook isn’t Mac-expensive, but it’s still pushing $500, which seems crazy to me. What’s funny is that I’d rather have a web-only netbook than a cheaper one that runs Windows. (I just don’t want to have to deal with searching for a purchasing antivirus software.)
  • The value.Is this thing gonna break in a year? If it makes more sense to wait another six months or a year to save up and buy a Mac, I’d rather do that, and I just don’t know what level of quality the Chromebook offers. Does anyone? It’s probably going to take a while before we know just how durable this thing is.

I’ll definitely sit on this for a while (my dog has a vet checkup coming up) and knowing me, I’ll probably ho and hum about it for even longer, and then ask for a Mac for Christmas or something. But even so, I am considering a Chromebook. It makes sense to me as a heavy internet user, and the cost is even bearable if it means I don’t have to deal with an OS I’m not going to use.

I’ll keep reading reviews in the meantime.

How about you: Even if you’re not in the market for a netbook or laptop, could you see yourself, in a land where you have all the money in the world, regularly using a Chromebook?

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