I was in need of a new laptop a few months ago so I wanted to check out a Chromebook option before I pulled the trigger. I had read enough about them to just be a danger to my own purchasing decision. But I felt like I had a decent grasp on what to expect. I knew it was not a “normal” laptop with a Windows, Mac, or even a Linux operating system. I knew it would have some advantages and disadvantages. So off I went to check one out in person at a local electronics store.
Luckily I found a deal on an open box Chromebook. The price was about $165 with tax. Not bad for a machine that I could do some real work on and entertain myself when I had some downtime at work. I talked to a nice salesperson for a few minutes and used a display model as much as I could with the limitations of the store’s internet access. I was pretty sure I would like the computer so I went ahead and made the buy. If I wasn’t happy, I could return it in a couple of days. No big deal.
I mainly wanted the Chromebook for writing. I do most of that on my desktop computer but I do have some free time on the go to type out a few posts here and there. I also wanted to be able to do some reading on my laptop. A tablet would be a simpler option for this task, I know. But a tablet is not any good for typing, so that was not an option. And no, I didn’t care to buy a keyboard to go with a tablet. My Chromebook came with a keyboard attached. Much simpler. The keyboard layout is good on the little Chromebook I bought. It could be bigger for easier use and I could have had that with a bigger machine. That would have came with a larger display, but a heftier price tag as well.
I use Write Monkey on my Windows machine at home for simple writing. That is a disadvantage of my new laptop. That little piece of software is not available in the Google App Store. I found some similar apps that worked OK, but they were not exactly what I wanted. Also, it would have been nice to be able to sync my Chromebook with my home PC as needed. I now just use Google Docs to do any writing on the Chromebook. That way I can switch from my desktop to the laptop on anything I write since it is saved automatically every few seconds. When I am home, I just copy from Google Docs and paste it in Write Monkey. Not a perfect system, but it works so I’m content with the set up.
As for connectivity, I have had no issues with the wi-fi. There is no way to connect with an ethernet so wi-fi is the only internet option. No one wants to be chained to a cord for internet access anyway, so this is cool with me.
One of the best features of my little Chromebook is the fast on and off. I don’t have to wait 60 seconds for the thing to log on like I would with a normal laptop using a real operating system. The machine only needs to load the Chrome Browser and then I am ready to roll. I can close the Chromebook up when I need to and flip it open to get going again instantly. Powering it up takes no time compared to every other computer I have ever touched.
The laptop I chose is light and compact. I would compare the weight to carrying a thick spiral notebook, without the thickness. I stick it in my backpack and it takes up little space there and I can hardly tell it is in there when it comes to added weight.
I would say the biggest negative to my Chromebook has been the hard drive, which is super small. I did get like 100 GB free on my Google Drive with my purchase though. That is plenty of room, but it is a bit different saving files at first. I lost a couple of articles I was working on with one of the minimalist word processors I mentioned before. That was no fun! Finding the files you save to Google Drive can be frustrating at first as well. The search feature does not work the best, from my experience. I have no problem finding “recent” files, as there is a tab for that on Google Drive. But older stuff can get lost in the shuffle. I have to admit this could be an organizing problem on my part as well.
The Google App Store has tons of apps available to help with most computing tasks. Most are free but I have had to install and delete more than a few since I was unfamiliar with them beforehand. Testing the apps out was the only way I could know for sure if they were a good fit for me. Reviews are OK, but other folks’ opinions are their experience and sometimes do not reflect what my thoughts will be.
Would I buy the same Samsung Chromebook again? No question. I like it better than full fledged more powerful machines. It fits my limited computing needs away from my home. Would I use it to run a business or for full time college studies? Probably not, but I believe I could do so if need be. It has the potential for any use and the simplicity for ease of use.