I just bought Chromebook - Microsoft and Apple should be worried
Ok now I'll start this with the proviso that this is a secondary laptop, actually it's really become a primary one with my windows laptop needed for a few specific programmes and printing. Also it obviously helps if you're somewhat invested in google's ecosystem. Lastly I'm a writer, I prefer evernote etc over things like Word, and essentially I don't need office.***
Now with that out of the way let me say that I've never been more blown away by a tech purchase. I've always used windows, if you've read my recent threads you'll know I've been planning to get a mac air or pro, but really I just can't see the need now.
This thing cost peanuts in tech terms (£199). Yes it's plastic, but it's quite nice plastic, and everything is about expectation isn't it. It has a tiny footprint not far of ultrabooks/macs, it's looks stunning for the price, way above my expectations. Most importantly it has no superfluous shit all over it like blinking leds to tell me its doing something, like stupid volume key arrangements or brightness controls, like all the horrible design features we all know and love from Win laptops that aren't macbook competitors.
So why should the big guns be afraid? Well I'm less certain about Apple because of the niche they've carved. But this thing is a total revelation after my couple year old samsung windows laptop that was more than double the price. Press the power button...oh what's that? No anti-virus running on start-up, no other crap either seemingly, because it boots from stone cold to on the internet in about 5 seconds flat.
And while we're at it the keyboard and trackpad are waaaaay superior to my double the price Win laptop. Everything about this thing sings simplicity. Even the bloody keyboard is a revelation. No useless (to me) million+ function keys. Instead beautifully simply useful stuff like a refresh button, a search button, a current programmes helicopter view button.
I can't really describe what it's like, but it feels like the barrier between me and the internet has just disappeared. All the stuff I use is just pinned on the task bar just like windows but somehow just more simply because it just opens in a browser window. And i just turn the chromebook off and forget about it, I don't need to shut anything down, think about anything, and it's the same when I start up again.
I'm not even gonna bother arguing with the 'just a web browser' people anymore lol. I'm happy to let them think that if that's what makes them happy. Like I said I've just never made a tech purchase that feels like so much of a revelation. I of course had done my research and new that it wasn't 'just a web browser'...but jumping in I just felt like you really need to experience this first hand to understand how good it is (and guess perhaps how bad it is for some people with different needs).
Even the screen itself is a revelation because after reading a thousand chromebook reviews I know they have piss-poor screens. I guess what I forgot is that most tech reviewers probably use great screens on a daily basis. If you're coming from a 1366x768 15in Win laptop like a lot of people, it's possibly better than what you're already running, it is for me.
Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I can't see how (without some moves from MS) these things aren't going to carve out a significant stake in the market within 5 years. If you don't use legacy programmes, you might even find that what starts out as a secondary machine soon becomes your primary. More worryingly for Microsoft you might find people like me becoming word of mouth evangelists for these things, because the current barrier to use is definitely the whole 'what is a chromebook' thing.
Oh and lastly did I mention the 9 hour battery life? On a £199 laptop. Suddenly I'm mobile again. No more trying to cram in that last bit of work before the under an hour battery on my Win laptop dies on me.
*** This was a presentation by thelibertine. Your needs, findings and uses for a chromebook may vary. :)