Chromebook diaries: the verdict

With the Chromebook experiment over, Nic Healey reflects on his five days of using Chrome OS.

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The Chromebook experiment of 2013 is now officially over, and I must say, it's not before time.

So what's the verdict? Well, I've had two days to think back over the experience and try to come up with a pithy and succinct way of summing it all up, and the word I keep coming back to is "adequate".

I may be damning it with faint praise, but apart from the frustrations on Thursday, everything "basically worked". It "wasn't bad". It was "fairly nice". The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would probably describe it as "mostly harmless".

I could do pretty much everything I needed to do in my day-to-day working life; I just couldn't do it quite as well. There were few hurdles I couldn't surmount, but the workarounds often felt a little jury-rigged and unsatisfactory.

Apart from the still unexplained random rebooting incidents, the Acer C720 itself was a nice piece of hardware. For an AU$399 computer, it felt solidly made, and as I noted before, I really enjoyed writing on it.

Arguably, I'm not necessarily the target audience for the Chromebook — although Google is certainly touting the devices as being great for business. It's just that I'm not convinced the advantages of Chrome OS are significant enough to outweigh the compromises I had to make.

We currently have a Dell Inspiron 11 in the office. It has a Haswell Celeron processor — the same as the Chromebook. It's a bit bigger and heavier, but it also has a touchscreen, Windows 8, a 500GB drive and an Ethernet port. More importantly, it's only AU$100 more. I can say that, based on my experiences, it would be AU$100 extremely well spent.

I would never call my time with the Chromebook bad. And with a few more days under my belt, maybe all the rough edges could have been knocked off the experience. But after a full day of working on my Windows desktop once more, it's definitely a good feeling to be back home.

At the very least, I've finally got Spotify back.

Missed the original diary entries? You can catch up below:

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Chromebook diaries: one week with Chrome OS