I’ve known it was coming for a while, years even. Then, about 3 weeks ago, it finally happened… My laptop died. The trusty Dell that was the first (and only) laptop I ever owned clicked its last click. It survived all of college, grad school, and beyond — a barrage of papers, music, internets, pictures, and presentations. A laptop that lasts more than just a few years is pretty solid; one that lasts for 8 years (while working well right up to the end) deserves an award.
With Em’s laptop hanging on by a thread as well, we were under a crunch to update. After a basic online search, we were off to Best Buy to see in person and get a feel (literally) of our options.
We came down to two options: a Lenovo touchscreen laptop (using Windows 8), and an Acer Chromebook (using google’s ios). The price for each was pretty good. Overall, we had read pretty iffy reviews about Windows 8. What first seemed like a cool feature, the touchscreen, we finally decided would be a negative. We (and by we I mean Em) can get a little grabby with the computer; if it was possible for her to navigate or “click” via touch, then I wouldn’t stand a chance — even when I had the computer. The Chromebook was a bit of a mystery; there was no hard drive or storage to speak of on the computer (everything is stored to GoogleDrive, Google’s version of the cloud) and there is no Microsoft Office (everything runs on Google’s versions — Google docs, “sheets,” etc.), and it runs kind of like a tablet or cell phone (instead of downloading software or programs, you download various apps — most are free). When we asked the sales guy what he thought about the Chromebook, he explained some of that stuff that we already knew and ended with, “Honestly, I don’t even know why anyone buys these things.” To which we said, “We’ll take it!”
(Just the 0:35 – 0:40 second bit)
So we walked out with the Chromebook, deciding that we could always return it within the return policy limit if it couldn’t do what we wanted it to do. Here we are, a few weeks later, and it looks like we’re sticking with it! So far, we’ve tried just about everything we think we’ll be doing and it all seems to work well.
Some things we are liking so far:
- I’m becoming acclimated to google docs (similar to Office)
- I’m also happy with “Sheets” (google’s version of Excel) and have made a few pretty sweet spreadsheets! #nerdtalk
- We downloaded a photo editor app, and it has worked out really well – Em has designed several things using it
- We have downloaded and formatted photos and pdf’s
- We can now access our stuff from any computer (we just sign in to our google drive account)
- Internet browsing and speed is good
- The battery life is good
- The computer is super light and super compact
A few things that we are still working on:
- Getting acclimated to google docs (picking it up well for the most part, but still learning)
- You need wifi to have full access to everything on the computer
- Finding the right app sometimes takes a bit of investigating (we tried a few photo editor apps before we found one we liked)
- The speakers are cheap (but that’s fine if you plug in headphones or speakers)
- There is no CD drive (which was actually true of most of the laptops we looked at, oddly enough)
- I’m still getting used to the small keyboard!
All in all, we are really happy with the purchase, and even happier with the deal that we got. Thus far, I’d recommend the Chromebook. Once you get comfortable putting things on the cloud, using google docs, and downloading apps instead of software, it’s great!