Why I Don’t Want a Chromebook

Why I Don't Want a ChromebookAs a self-diagnosed tech addict, it’s rare that there’s a gadget creating buzz around the blogosphere that I really don’t want. In this case, my lack of purchasing desire stems not from a disinterest in the product itself, but a combination of price and a lack of some key features I’m looking for in a computer that can connect to the cloud on the go.

The Chromebook is one of those computers that just about anyone and everyone can put to good use. It connects to the Web, has a powerful and lightweight OS, and is more than capable of doing about 90% of the things I need to get work done. The other 10% are things I would be doing at home on my primary desktop computer anyway.

So why am I sitting here not wanting to throw my money at the screen every time I see a commercial for one of these? Here are some of my reasons:


The Chromebook is backed by Chrome OS, a powerful and capable glorified browser. Yes, it has a great offline mode, but Chrome OS isn’t exactly the robust and full-featured OS you might expect on a computer that runs north of $300.

Granted, the latest revision of the Chrome OS features a much more capable offline mode allowing for document editing, light photo editing, etc. The problem still stands that the Chromebook’s power relies on the cloud more than anything else. This cloud comes at a price.

For the cost of a Windows laptop with a more powerful processor, I would expect to get more value from a Chromebook than is currently being offered. Yes, the keyboard is fantastic and the battery life is certainly fairly good, but it isn’t enough to warrant the asking price.

Capped 3G

In an era where the smartphone world is beginning to cross over to 4G LTE, the latest edition of the Chromebook is still tied to limited 3G connections. While I can certainly appreciate the dependability and wide-spread support for 3G in the U.S. and across the world, my biggest concern comes with having to pay for what amounts to a limited connection on a computer that depends on the Internet to operate. Wi-Fi is always an option, but what’s the point of having a laptop that requires an Internet connection if you have to be tethered to Wi-Fi to do any serious work?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why 3G was selected as the wireless option for the book. 4G LTE is still somewhat exclusive to large cities and still hasn’t been made available to many locations around the World. I get it.

That said, I’m still in the old school of unlimited wireless. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can eat through gigabytes of data while listening to Pandora, downloading and uploading documents, hanging out on Google+, and even just browsing the Web. Half of the services Google offers are bandwidth hogs, and for that reason I generally don’t do much online work on the road. I enjoy having a laptop that can do everything I do online in an offline capacity when I’m between Wi-Fi locations. Chrome OS has come a long way, but it isn’t there just yet.

Powerful, but Not Powerful Enough

This is more of a personal downside. While I appreciate the advantages many cloud-based services with things like light photo editing, I still find myself needing something extra to get the job done. On my MacBook and home PC, I rely on GIMP for my photo editing. It’s a powerful program that I appreciate quite a bit. Unfortunately, it is a bit too much for the Chromebook.

Video editing is almost impossible on the Chromebook. Yes, there are some sites out there that will offer you some basic video editing features, but that does little good with the type of work I do. If I’m going out of town on business and need to edit a video, I’m forced to choose a laptop to take with me and the Chromebook would lose out every time.

The Chromebook is a great option for people who don’t have a desire or need to own a computer that does anything more than browse the Web. My grandparents would have loved the Chromebook for its simplicity and function. The power user may marvel at the novelty of a cloud-dependent OS, but at the end of the day I don’t see the Chromebook doing much more than gathering dust after a few weeks.

Let’s be honest here people, how many of you still use your Netbook for anything more than an IRC monitor? Now a nettop box… that’s a different story.

Final Thoughts

If I were to select any of the current Chromebooks, it would have to be the Samsung Series 5 550 ($449). It’s presently the most capable of the lot, and it stands to reason that it will run the Aura update very well. Aura is nice, and if anything could change my mind about the Chromebook, it would be seeing the OS take a slightly sharper turn in that direction.

Again, I do want a Chromebook. What I don’t want is to have to pay as much (or more) than I would for a full-featured Windows laptop with better specs. I can always install the Chrome browser on that.

17 comments On Why I Don’t Want a Chromebook

  • Driftingmusicmaster

    thx ill follow u on g+

  • Exactly. Price and data caps. 

  • Exactly. Price and data caps.  My ńeighboŕ’s mŏther-iń-ląw Maḱes $8O houŕly on the laptoṗ. She has bėėn out of w0rḱ for 7 Ṁonths but ląst Ṁonth her ińcome wąs $8734 just worḱińg on thė laṖt0Ṗ for a ƒew hours. Gŏ to this web siṫe and ŕead morė.. CashLazy.&#99om

  • Matt your last paragraph says it all. I feel the same, a Chromebook is an alternative to a netbook, ultra portable or tablet.

     I tend to run Linux in my ultra portable, and my browser of choice is Chrome. That gives me much more than just having Chrome OS.

  • Bring the price down to $200

  • Great article. The Chromebook is almost on the verge of ‘gimmicky’ right now. I love the thought of it, but too many downsides at the moment to warrant that price. Hopefully it will evolve into something great, but right now, I can sit on the sidelines and read the blogs about it.

  • What is the name of the video editing app that was shown in the video in this post?

  • For just over $500 I got a 15″ Dell Vostro with with 6GB of RAM and 750 GB hard drive that’s dual booting Windows and Ubuntu. I so want to want a Chromebook.. but I know I don’t really.

  • The ChromeBook is an in-efficient model until the hardware can be priced just slightly higher than that of a printed magazine or book. Just because I “can” smash my $200-$600 piece of bleeding edge technology, or have it stolen, or have it quickly replaced with a newer product ~ without losing my data, doesn’t mean I particularly want to.

    And then the whole cloud thing becomes a question of “how valuable is the information to you?” (To either surrender it to someone else’s hard drive or to lose it in data damage/stolen device.)

  • G. Power hit it right. For me the Chromebook would be an alternative to a tablet. I salivated when the tablets took hold but after using my son’s Ipad 2 for the last couple weeks I have found them to be a toy and the Chromebook would fill that need very well.

  • I agree that it isn’t worth the $300 + for an actual Chromebook, but if you want to play with one, you could always download Chromium OS and test it on the IRC monitoring Netbook.  Search for Hexxeh in Google – he provides the latest builds of Chromium OS, and even has them packaged to run off a flash drive so you don’t need to install anything.
    I’m posting this from my Chromium OS Netbook (that also boots Windows 7 and Unbuntu) and it it runs pretty well, and definately is a quicker way to just do mail and Web.   

  • Kathryn Fortunato

    Matt, I get some of your points. It is also too pricey for what it is to me. Google would do well to figure out how to monetize the device better and then eat a little bit of the cost. I can’t speak to the device’s power, but I’ll say this much, you’re NOT buying a DR here – this device has a niche, and if you don’t fit that, then it’s never going to be for you, period. You might as well say that the reason you’ll never buy a Chevy Aveo is because you participate in Formula 1 racing!

    The only thing that has kept me from seriously considering a Chromebook is the data cap – this should truly be a $50/mo unlimited data device, IMO.

  • You can also try Joli OS. Works and looks just like Chrome OS.
    It’s nice if you can’t afford a Chromebook

    • Jolicloud sucks

      Joli cloud is a horrible choice and is nothing like chrome OS, on joli cloud you have to be on the internet otherwise you can’t do anything there is NO offline mode for jolicloud

  • I would get one today if it was 4G

  • Lukas Dettlinger

    I would use it for a second computer, like for school. It is absolutely perfect for school work.

  • This is 2 year old article and things have changed. I have it as a secondary PC and I use it 80% of the time. I use prezi, evernote and Google docs and go to pc only for solidworks.

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