Chromebook diaries: the verdict

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

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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