Chromebook Review by a Dad Moonlighting as a Sci-Fi Novelist

I am a busy person. I don’t mean ER doctor busy. Being a father of three and the bread winner, my life is dominated by two major categories. A pie graph of my average day would show two huge sections and an impossibly thin slice. On the left is ‘work’ and the right is ‘family’. That chip in the graph is ‘other’. I’d rather not detail my ‘other’ time in a Verge post. The point is that it’s mine and it’s precious.

I want devices that cut to the chase. I want to get straight to writing without being interrupted with Java updates and virus scans. I want to mainline as many Digg/Verge posts as is humanly possible in the half hour I have before the kids wake up (and read over my shoulder. Goddamnit!). I need to get my Facebook fix in as short a time as is possible. This is why I made the switch to Chromebook, and this is why I don’t regret it.

About a month ago, I was in search of a portable device that had a great keyboard and trackpad (a touchscreen was icing on the cake). The great news was that I found it on my first trip to Best Buy. The Macbook Air was perfect. It had an excellent keyboard and an insane trackpad. There was one minor, tiny-winnie problem. I couldn’t drop the required $1K.

Actually, I did have a $1K hanging around my bank account; otherwise, I would not have tortured myself by wandering over to the pristine Apple table. The real issue was that my kids needed food, clothes, and a roof over their heads.


So, I spent the money on the rugrats. What can I say? My love for my children is stronger than my desire to become a Mac owner (don’t roll your eyes!). Thankfully, I did have a quarter of my bonus leftover. What to do? Where to turn? The agony!

My choices were, to put it simply, limited. There was the Nexus 7 and the Samsung Chromebook.

It’s frustrating that Chromebooks are not readily available at Best Buy to touch and fondle. I read The Verge review by Chris Ziegler as well as a handful of other (lesser known) sites. They were all positive. I felt strange purchasing an electronic device without molesting it like a shar pei at a Westminster Dog Show. I took the plunge and bought a Chromebook straight from Mountain View. I guess I trust Google to not disappoint (shudder)?

To my delight, the Chromebook was exactly as advertised. It boots up in seconds and wakes instantly. It has no moving parts, so it is whisper quiet and generates practically no heat. It is the perfect device for composing posts while sitting cross legged on the floor with your two-year old as she plays Calico Critters. The Samsung Chromebook is made entirely out of plastic, but it feels good to hold (as a bonus it even looks like a Macbook Air). The keyboard and trackpad are not the best, but they are comfortable to use. If you’re a Google power user (as I am), the Chromebook syncs effortlessly with everything (and you get a free 2-year upgrade to 100 Gb of Drive space).

The Chromebook is not for everybody. It’s not for gamers or photographers or video editors or audiophiles. It’s for Google power users. It’s for Facebook addicts. It’s for elderly people that compose emails in the subject line. It’s for busy fathers that moonlight as sci-fi novelists. Please read the reviews before you purchase one. There are many glaring limitations, but, at $250, it’s not a crazy investment. Also, it’s $250, so I’m not completely terrified when my five-year-old accidentally uses it as a coaster.

P.S. I am an obsessive Spotify user. I was truly bummed when I learned that there were no Spotify apps in the web store. I did find a workaround. This applies to premium account holders that also have Facebook accounts.