Why I Love Our Samsung Chromebook

I’m sitting at a coffee shop a few blocks from my house typing up this post on our company Samsung Chromebook. I have long been interested in Chrome OS (I installed the first beta of Chromium OS all the way back in 2009 and I received one of the CR-48 prototype computers in 2010). Earlier this year my partners and I were looking for a “car show computer” that could be used both by us to check email and do light work while traveling, and by potential customers to sign up for wholesale accounts or make purchases.

The Samsung Chromebook 3G was perfect. It’s cheap enough ($329.99 with 3G, $249.99 with just wifi) that it doesn’t really matter if we lose it or break it. Storing everything securely in the cloud gives us confidence that if it’s stolen or if someone has a few minutes of unguarded access to it there’s nothing malicious they can accomplish. The $10/day for unlimited 3G data is a steal when we’re traveling or at a show.

When we’re not using it for a show I’ve sort of adopted it as my secondary computer since my partners weren’t all that interested in it. Even if they didn’t let me use it, I probably would have spent the $250 myself for the wifi version. It’s the perfect insurance policy for my new ASUS Zenbook. While it was important to me to have the ability with the Zenbook to work at a near-desktop experience when traveling or working remotely, those instances where I truly need that are relatively rare. A handful of times per year maybe. More often than not I’m taking my laptop to a meeting with my partners, or to a coffee shop to answer email, or grabbing it to work on my porch in the nice weather. Those are the times I use the Chrombook now and leave my laptop docked safely in my office.

If I drop it or spill something on it or it gets stolen we’re out $329.99 and I maybe should change my Google password to be safe. That’s nothing compared to the cost of losing the Zenbook – both financially and the data on the computer. Most of my non-programming work is done in the browser, but if I need to do some quick programming or access a file on my Zenbook I can do it with Chrome Remote Desktop, which is free, secure, and works pretty well.

With the new standalone Chrome Desktop Apps and other advances, it’s possible there’s a future where my primary computing will be done on a Chromebook. And if not, if it never gets any better than it is today, this Samsung Chromebook is still one very useful device.

8 comments on Why I Love Our Samsung Chromebook

  1. Tim says:

    I’m picking one up as soon as I sell one of my Mac’s! If I like it as much as I suspect I will, I’ll be selling my other mac as well – thanks for the info Adam.

  2. Rob says:

    Looks like a great use for the chromebook – not sure I see many people being able to completely switch away from macos/windows/linux etc. just yet but I bet it’ll come.

    What happens if you don’t have wireless signal? Does it store locally and then sync like google drive?

    You say about data loss on your zenbook, but presumably you’re using dropbox or a backup service?

    $10/day seems crazy high for data. Is that a typical price? I have unlimited 4G on my phone (tethering is allowed!) for £15/month.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      What happens if you don’t have wireless signal? Does it store locally and then sync like google drive?

      Yes, that’s basically what happens. They have a list of things you can do offline here https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/3214688?hl=en If you planned it out you could make it through a flight without being connected and still get stuff done.

      You say about data loss on your zenbook, but presumably you’re using dropbox or a backup service?

      I do, I use Carbonite and Google Drive. My biggest fear is a knowledgeable thief gaining access to my local data, whereas with the Chromebook there basically is no local data. If I change my Google password to be extra safe, there’s almost no way for them to access anything. There’s also a setup time on a new Windows machine that takes maybe a day or two for me. That time loss, and the stress associated with it, is avoided with the Chromebook.

      $10/day seems crazy high for data. Is that a typical price? I have unlimited 4G on my phone (tethering is allowed!) for £15/month.

      Yea, US data plans suck compared to the rest of the world. The nice thing about the $10/day is if you only need it a few times per year you’re not on a contract or anything. They have monthly plans with reasonable data caps in the $40 – $60 range. My personal cell phone I pay $90/mo for unlimited data but I’m not allowed to tether (I get around that, but technically I’m not allowed to). I’m planning on switching to a company like Ting https://ting.com/ that’s trying to adopt a model similar to what you lucky chaps have over there in the UK :) My contract is up in a few months so for now I’m just sitting tight. Then I never plan on getting on a contract again.

  3. Jeff says:

    Hi,

    I didn’t know Chrome Remote Desktop existed and this was one of the thing stopping me from getting/using a Chromebook. I need to connect to my Windows work desktop remotely. After reading your post I installed it on my computers and gave it a try. It seems to work well.

    Any other useful apps installed on your Chromebook? Besides the usual Google apps.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Glad my post helped Jeff! I haven’t played with it a whole lot beyond just using Chrome as a browser. I would recommend testing out the offline access stuff I linked to above, particularly Gmail, just in case you ever get in a situation without a connection. Otherwise the Chrome Web Store has a surprisingly robust selection of apps that do almost anything you can think of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commenting Rules

I'm honored that you found this post interesting enough to leave a comment. Before posting, I have a few ground rules:

  • Please keep your comments as relevant to the post as possible.
  • No personal attacks or any other nastiness.
  • Your first comment is subject to my approval.

Thanks!