Well, a month has passed and now my Chromebook is in the hands of my oldest boy. It’s an amazing device after all: cheap, easy to use, with plenty of choices in terms of services and applications but… at the moment, it simply doesn’t suit my business needs.
I have a Mac Book Air 11”. It’s the best notebook I’ve ever used but, at the same time, I was wondering if there wasn’t something better to use on short trips and when attending conferences.
I tried to work on a tablet but it has limits when it comes to producing content. The separate keyboard and the touchscreen UI don’t help. At the same time the MacBook is too much for 80/90% of the time and end up leaving it in my bag for long periods of time.
Carrying multiple devices is a suboptimal solution too because of the cables, power supplies, airport security checks, and so on…
Working on multiple devices when you are traveling has another annoying consequence, especially when you have an intermittent internet connection: you can’t sync the devices and if you start working on one you can’t finish the work on the other.
The pros and the cons
First of all it’s very affordable (I have an Acer C720 which costs around €230). The battery lasts many hours of “heavy” use and, if you are ok about saving your data on GDrive, you’ll obtain 100GB of cloud storage (which is enough for what I need when traveling). You can use it offline for long periods of time, even Gmail and GDocs work without problems.
Another thing that I discovered while using the Chromebook is Google Docs. It’s an amazing piece of software, especially when you write stuff and want to edit it with other people. I know that similar features are available in Office365 but GDocs is free and well integrated with the rest of Google’s services. The only (big) problem with GDocs is the poor quality of the document layout, unacceptable for most business documents.
The store is full of Apps but there aren’t many business Apps, most of the content of the store is for kids and students (the primary market for the ChromeOS based devices). Things will change soon though, thanks to the new ability of ChromeOS to run Android Apps (it’s in beta now). In any case, applications like Microsoft Office won’t be available anytime soon, making it (almost) impossibile to receive and share documents with most of your peers.
The ultimate device
I would like a detachable MacBook Air… or an “iPad Pro”. Something like the Microsoft Surface 3 but with a usable operating system and apps. If it wasn’t for all the bloatware, I would like to try a 10” (or even a 12?) Samsung tablet (the multiple window UI would solve 50% of my problems)… But, after the horrible experience with other Samsung products, they won’t have me again.
The perfect device doesn’t exist. I’m still looking for something light, with a long battery life, a detachable keyboard (and trackpad), capable of running all my favorite apps and services. We are getting closer year after year… It will probably be for the next generation of devices.
In the mean time my kids are enjoying their new toy, it’s a great device but it’s not ready for business use. 🙂