Switch From iPad To Chromebook – 2

Typing Tool

If you don’t have the right tool for the job, you try to make the most of what you’ve got. I tried to use my clunky bluetooth keyboard for a long time, pairing with my iPad to use it like a laptop. It wasn’t the best fit, so I searched for a better tool. And…you’ll never believe what I found!

Finding a Laptop

After my wife brought home her shiny new Chromebook, this tech-geek saw the solution: an elegant unified device, a display and hardware keyboard designed to work together, always attached and connected. The fundamental form-factor was all there; it was a typing machine!

I was techcited.

Chromebooks are very good affordable laptops for many people and most computing needs. They even match some of the best qualities of a tablet: simple, fast, all-day battery. So I was attracted, admitting the temptation in a recent blog post.

Then I began to realize that the whole time I’ve used an iPad plus bluetooth keyboard, the proper mobile writing machine I’ve longed for is a laptop.

Because the iPad is so nice to use, I tried to make the tablet do more and be more than it was designed to do and be: adding appendages or adapters, transforming its form-factor from slate to laptop. But it wasn’t the right tool for the job. It’s capable yet not optimal for long-form writing simply because it has no mechanical keyboard.

Apple to Google

I couldn’t just ditch my awesome tablet, upend my computing workflow, and run out to buy a laptop! I’ve been all-in with Apple: just an iPhone and iPad. Chromebooks are Google-centric; Windows laptops are by Microsoft. The problem with switching from iPad to Chromebook is you’re not just swapping out a device, you’re moving to a new ecosystem. And just like in the wild, that means you must adapt.

If I were to flip-flop to using a Chromebook, I’d have to test out the Google-verse, dipping my toe into the water before taking the plunge. Ever the tech-geek, I became curious enough to do it. The thought alone helped me begin to escape Apple’s Reality Distortion Field.


Going Chrome

The thing about switching to Google is how easy it is since Google’s apps and services are on the web; you don’t need to buy a special device. Google’s native computing platform is the web! So any computer you have – smartphone to desktop – lets you step into the Google-verse with a click or a tap.

After some initial yet futile resistance, I started assimilating into Google’s machine. First I Google-fied my iPhone, downloading all the Google apps I wanted to check out. I still had the empty shell of my previous Google account, so logging in was easy.

Second, I took my budget Windows laptop and downloaded the Chrome browser. Then I made all the Google web-apps into shortcuts, which open in their own windows, so they also have icons on the taskbar. This made my Windows laptop become a pseudo-Chromebook!

Enveloped by Google’s online apps, I started re-thinking my writing work-flow. I was reluctant to switch everything, but to me it just makes sense to go all-in and reap the benefits of a holistic computing paradigm. For example, this meant using Gmail instead of Apple Mail and stepping back from the Ulysses writing app to using Google Docs!

Overall, I was surprised and delighted by the capability and aesthetic of Google’s cloud computing platform. So in earnest, my hunt for a good deal on a Chromebook kicked off. Good timing too, because early August is the season for back-to-school sales.

Chromebook Replaces iPad

In short time, my primary computer has changed from tablet to laptop because I needed and wanted a better mobile web-writing machine. I found an awesome deal on an excellent Chromebook and have been typing away – loving it! This blog post is the fourth I’ve published from my new Chromebook – directly to WordPress, using the convenient WordPress Add-On within Google Docs!

For this blogger, compared to a tablet, the clamshell laptop is the right tool for the write-job: big self-supporting touch-screen at any angle, full web-browser, and a full-size mechanical keyboard – and this one’s also backlit!

The iPad lacks a physical keyboard, the most basic tool for modern writing. You can add a keyboard, but that doesn’t mean you should. I’ll let the iPad be a terrific tablet, that third category device Steve Jobs said could live between a smartphone and a laptop.

I’m smitten with this new Chromebook, so I’ll probably post more about it and the whole switch-a-roo. Whether you’re a writer or you pursue a different occupation, be sure and use the right tool for the job. Don’t be afraid to change it up if that’s what you need to do. You’ll be glad you did.

If you want to read the first part of this post click here: Switch From iPad To Chromebook – 1.

Are you a writer? Do you prefer a tablet, laptop, or pen and paper? What’s the best tool for you? Write below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Going Chrome

Until recently, the computery things in my house were kinda simple. My wife and kids used Windows machines; I use an iPad. This made my job as household I.T. guy not too hard. But now a Chromebook has been thrown into the mix. So things are a bit more interesting.

Diversified Device-wise

Being a tech-geek, a new computer gadget excites me, like a kid getting a toy and a dad getting a tool. But my wife doesn’t geek out over computers like I do. She wants them to just do what they’re supposed to do. Simple enough. I’d say that’s why smartphones and tablets are so successful. They simply work.

So while adding a Chromebook brings more complexity to my family’s tech-device matrix, it’s interesting because Chromebooks are so simple. The virtue of their simplicity makes them virtuosos in the computing industry. Like the fact that people don’t search for something, they “Google it,” Chromebooks went from niche oddity to mainstream commodity.

Chromebook Strengths

The strengths of a Chromebook still surprise me since the “laptop form factor” usually makes me think of traditional Windows laptops and their drawbacks. But those don’t apply here.

Fast Boot

For example, on a Windows laptop, you get abysmally slow hard disk drives with their boot-up process that affords you time to catch up on reading that book you’ve been meaning to finish. But like a tablet, a Chromebook boots-up very fast – just a few seconds. You might have time to read a Tweet.

Long Life

And their battery life is seriously amazing! My wife’s Chromebook lasts over 8 hours on a charge, and in sleep mode it goes for days between charges, letting her use it here and there. It’s like using a phone or tablet with all-day power supply, unlike using a Windows laptop for an hour and then looking for an outlet.

Low Cost

Besides staying on forever-and-a-day, Chromebooks are very inexpensive. Because they’re so simple, they need only basic hardware to perform well. So they usually sport the cheapest Intel processor yet don’t feel sluggish.

Chrome Shopping

My wife ended up buying hers kind of on a whim. She was staying at her parents’ house trying to use her old Android tablet to do some simple Facebook Group coordination and Google Sheets and Forms collaboration. The old Samsung Galaxy Tab couldn’t do the job.

So she calls me up while I happen to be shopping at my local Walmart and says she’s thinking of running out to get a laptop so she can get her work done. We briefly discuss and rule out a budget or even mid-range Windows laptop. The budget ones are too slow and compromised; you’ll regret not spending more. The mid-range ones cost more than we could really afford on short notice.

Next thing you know, I’m selecting the right Chromebook for her to pick up in the town she’s at. And now, a week later, she’s really liking how easy it is to use her Chromebook.

Her case is not unique. Like many people, 95% of her PC desktop usage was – you guessed it – in Google Chrome. That’s it. So a Chromebook just fits. Most people often use online stuff like social media and Google Drive and Docs.

Throw Windows Out The Window

You have more options than just traditional Windows or Mac computers these days. And these options are better because they’re simpler devices where less is more. They’re even less expensive!

For iPad, get a bluetooth keyboard for it and you’ll have a tablet that acts kinda like a laptop and does most of the same stuff.

For a Chromebook, it’s a laptop that’s kind of like a tablet with its battery life and simplicity. They even have touchscreen Chromebooks now that run Android apps out of the box. So they can do a lot of what tablets can do too.

I won’t be switching away from my iPad back to a Chromebook, but I can’t say I’m not a bit tempted. I can say that I’m happy for my wife to finally enjoy being unchained from her traditional desktop PC, using just a Chromebook.1

Have you tried a Chromebook? What did you think? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. Never-mind the Surveillance Capitalism for now.

A Chromebook Experiment

Chromebooks are interesting computers – all-Google-or-nothin’ laptops. They’re popular because they’re simple and affordable. But some people still think Chromebooks are too limited because they’re “just a browser,” nothing more. But what more do you really need?

Simplicity is a strength.

If less is more, then a Chromebook is enough computer for most people. When you think about it, a web browser is all most people use most of the time. Besides, Chromebooks do have web-apps that run in their own windows.

But what about the other limitation that Chromebooks only work while online? Well, that’s not entirely true. You can do a lot while offline. Plus, you’re almost always online anyways.

With wi-fi and cellular data everywhere, you’d be surprised how seldom you’re without an internet connection. It’s practically a utility nowadays like electricity. If the power is on or your battery is charged, you are most likely using the web.

They’re Google

A few years ago, I was all into the Google ecosystem. I had an Android smartphone and used all of Google’s services online. So for me, a Chromebook was a nice fit. That’s when I bought a super affordable Samsung Chromebook 3.

So the biggest reason I chose a Chromebook was because I used almost nothing but Google stuff. You know, Photos, Maps, Docs, Drive, etc. It made a lot of sense. A Chromebook, like a nearly pure Android phone or tablet, is pure Google running Chrome OS.

I can say firsthand, logging into a Chromebook with my Google account and all my email, docs, photos, and music just being there was super nice! Like Apple’s own mantra, it just worked. I could even watch my movies from the Google Play store (streaming or download for offline viewing).

They’re Simple

Another reason I chose a Chromebook back then: they’re just so simple. The software is not not crammed full of accessory apps, antivirus software, or third-party utility programs. They have just what you need, the stuff you want, and that’s it. Imagine that!?

And on the hardware side, a Chromebook’s simplicity means you don’t need a power hungry processor, which in turn eliminates a noisy fan. This also results in lighter weight and longer battery life. Chromebook hardware is much like a tablet! But you get a built-in keyboard (no fussing with Bluetooth) and a “case.”

They’re Affordable

Chromebooks are amazingly inexpensive. I scored mine for less than $200 after tax, brand new, from a big-box retail store. And I never felt like I “cheaped out.” I got super value in a great deal.

Because Chromebook’s are so low in price, you can afford an upgrade to a new one every year if you wanted to. Or you can spend a little higher on one for a better screen and faster processor yet still save on cash compared to traditional fancy laptops or ultrabooks.

They’re Not Private

My Chromebook set up did not last too long though. My Android phone plus Chromebook combo, nice and simple as it was, was broken apart when I switched back to owning an iPhone. That, in turn, led me to go all-in with Apple stuff. So I ended up switching to a new and nicer combo – iPhone plus iPad.

I’m now about as Google-free as I can be. I deleted all my Google data and turned off or restricted as many of Googles services and features as possible. Nope, I don’t use Google search. I use Duck-Duck-Go. And no to Goole Maps too! I use Apple Maps.

One reason I prefer Apple over Google is because of privacy. Google wants all your data to throw ads at you and feed their machine learning stuff. Apple respects your privacy and would rather not have your personal data.

That said, if the privacy stuff does not bother you, and you’re really into the Google ecosystem but have never tried a Chromebook, I would recommend it. Seriously. But I would tell you to not get the cheapest one. Shoot for closer to the middle range to get a bit more memory, CPU power, and at least a Full HD 1080p display.

Do you like Chromebooks? Are you a desktop, laptop, or tablet person? Sound off below, or shoot me a message. Thanks!