I’ve been thinking about moving from a Mac to a Chromebook as my primary computing device.
I have not used desktop software for probably a decade now. The browser is how I do all of my desktop computing. Paying up for a full blown computer when all I need is a browser seems like a waste.
And there are some security things that appeal to me about a Chromebook. I like the ability to do two factor authentication on signing into the device, for example.
I am curious what advice those of you who use Chromebooks have for me.
I like to use a desktop style setup vs a laptop unless I am traveling. So the Acer Chromebase and Chromebox look interesting to me.
But I am hearing great things about the Pixelbook and am wondering if I should start there.
I am also curious how one uses a Password Manager on a Chromebook. That’s the one desktop app that I regularly use.
If you have any advice for me as I consider this move, I would appreciate hearing it.
Great idea. I switched to ChromeOS in 2011 and have never looked back. The OS has come a long way in that time and only gotten better. I’m somewhat opinionated on this topic so you’ll find more detail in this article:https://wesort.co.uk/blog/w…TL;DR- Go for a Pixelbook and hook it up to monitor as ChromeOS keyboards are non-existent or rubbish.- The major password managers have Chrome extensions. Chrome has it built in too with passwords.google.com
Many password managers come with browser add-ons, so you don’t really need a desktop app to use them. Bitwarden is open-source and very capable. Lastpass is another good password manager with browser add-ons for popular browsers.
Yeah. I will likely need to move off of mine which requires a desktop app. LastPass seems to be very well liked
Lastpass is truly great, I’ve been using it since 2009. And they are honest about risks, disclosures etc. There was a scare when they were acquired by LogMeIn, but it didn’t change a thing.https://lastpass.com/suppor…
I use lastpass as it works well on chrome browsers
Agreed. I’ve loved LastPass across my smartphone and the Chrome.extension when on my laptop.
I think for people that have used 1Password, LastPass, Bitwarden, etc. feel very clunky and slow. At least that was the case for me. Unfortunately 1Password 7 was a step backwards.
I tried a few years ago… .it was so slow and clunky I put it in the desk and never opened it again….
Entrepreneurs send you PPTs. Then what? View in Google ok?Excel lover that you are…never ran into a situation where Google Sheets couldn’t handle it?
that actually works just fine. I’ve done that quite a bit, including light to moderate editing (in google sheets).
Agreed. I’m no Excel Superuser. But I’ve got to imagine there are functions and features Google Sheets doesn’t have (yet) for very sophisticated uses.
You should try out Google Sheets; it sounds like you’d be surprised.Specifically, open a sheet of data and check out:- the Explore feature (bottom right)- macros- the IMPORTRANGE function
Yup. Been doing that reliably for a very long time now
Rumor has it that Google is working on adding dual-boot support with Windows 10 to Chromebooks. It could be an interesting Trojan horse strategy to get people to switch to Chromebooks.
and for linux too so i’ve read. that would be nice.
Yup. Been using it since day one, a few months before Google announced it at I/O 2018. Getting better all the time. All of my experiences to date with it are here: https://www.aboutchromebook…If you want to know how it all works, there’s an incredibly technical walk through (presented by Googlers) on video here: https://youtu.be/WwrXqDERFm8
Super! :)I wonder what the rumoured new Pixel tablet design will be like? Hopefully not a flip stand, and like the original Pixel C.
Correct, the code for Windows booting is called Alt-OS. Still in the works and not officially announced.
i went from Thinkpad (hate Windows, hate) to Chromebook (Toshiba) to Macbook 12″. i like the CB and MB experience, but they are different. i played and then toyed with the idea of a Pixelbook. It’s certainly sexy.Edit 16:23 GMT – it’s interesting to note that since typing “Pixelbook” above i am now being served up Pixelbook ads on YouTube.
I’m about to go from Mac to a Thinkpad. What was so terrible about Windows?
i just can’t get on with its design ‘narrative’. it’s just me. you’ll love it.
We’ll see. Thanks.
A MAJOR positive POINT you didn’t mention is that the Chrome Web Store is massive and rich these days.Eg: you use Signal a lot, and most crypto people do a lot of Telegram. Both are well-done Chrome browser apps. Ditto for many others.I still have a strong hunch there’s 1 or 2 desktop apps you count on, existing or coming up (demoing your portco beta tests, for example), that will be missing and therefore frustrate your experience, unless you’re ok using more than 1 device at a time.
I’d love to do this but periodically I have to review our fund IRR models and other stuff that I havenbt been able to do with pure online spreadsheets, especially XIRR function. Google docs actually does a good job with PPT, although almost all the decks we get are in PDF. Still travelling on long trips with old light but underpowered laptop for off line work on airplanes without internet or the distraction.
In theory (and this is a kludge) you could access a Mac remotely by screen sharing remotely with VNC and then run excel on your office (or home) machine. Since the assumption you will have access to at least one Mac somewhere else if you are traveling. You will not do screen sharing over airplane wifi obviously. In hotel for sure though (I have done that).https://chrome.google.com/w…Noting that screen sharing if enabled is also a good way to see what your kids are doing on their laptops at home.
How do you Excel??
What about Excel as part of Office 365? Then you would have full functionality and a lot more auto save type features than you get with desktop version
Chromebook Pixel is my primary device, including for development. Boot is near instant, battery life is great, and the hardware from Google and others is very nice. I use a USB-C to dual DisplayPort adapter for the home office.Similarly, I’m almost entire on web apps other than development work (which I also do on the Pixel through Linux support) and the Pixelbook runs dozens of tabs smoothly. I also use Android based MS Office for the occasional Word editing.Passwords are either in Chrome’s native password manager or LastPass, which has a nice Chrome extension.The only thing I use my old Mac for is the odd device around the house that needs custom program for a firmware upgrade.
The Pixelbook is one sexy beast and I appreciate the tablet mode when I get into lean back reading mode. It works fine sitting on a desk plugged into a big monitor, too, via the Moshi USB-C dock. And this is my savior for Chrome password management: https://blog.agilebits.com/…
Thanks. Very helpful
I made this same transition for a few years (to the original Google Pixel Book) and then switched back to Mac setup.The primary reason to switch back to Mac was the desktop version of Excel. Google Sheets is great 98% of the time, but was really frustrating on some occaisions.There are several Chrome Extension-based password managers. I used LastPass and it was great.
Second to Anthony’s comment, just tested an Asus C302, loved the weight, ability to flip, long battery life for flights. All my chrome plugins including LastPass worked as normal, no transition required.Setup of the Play and Chrome stores is clunky, especially if you have a G Suite account, that was the biggest friction.The Android version of Excel doesn’t work yet though…so just got a $1000 one year old MacBook Pro.
LastPass is just fantastic.
Besides my other comment re software (the Chrome web store), re hardware:Pixelbook is certainly the way to go for you if you went this way; there is little question in this category, other than re price. It’s been rated as the best chromebook yet, and one would expect it to have quicker OS upgrades, etc than non-Google branded.But at 2.4 pounds, when my macbook 12 is just 2 pounds, it’s a non-starter if you’re travel-heavy (like me). It’s also not far from that macbook in price, and MS Surface is as cheap and has similar (foldable, etc) features.
I bought my first chromebook a few years ago and used it as a primary device for over 2 years. I bought my chromebook, although I was already using windows desktop/laptop, because I was commencing a travel where I preferred to have a cheaper device with me because there was a high probability of loss or damage to device!However, after the end of the 30 day trip, I never moved back. I kept using the chromebook for 2 years there on. The experience was OK. I found my chromebook to be a lot more faster than my windows devices due the light-weight OS. I was 100% on Google docs and other web apps even before I commenced the switch so everything worked like a charm. However at some point, you have to make arrangements or compromise. E.g not all crypto wallets were available on the chrome, I couldn’t use iTunes and could not back up my iPhone which I like to do a lot every few weeks. While chromebook continued to stay my primary device (while it lasted), I still had to occasionally use my windows laptop/desktop.Last year, I replaced the chromebook with macbook air instead, to stop making compromises!
Hmm. I use an Android Pixel phone so maybe not as many compromises for me
I also had to use some android apps instead of the actual chrome apps because they were unavailable. Back then, Skype was not available as an app. Had to use web-skype with limited features or android Skype. Pros: With android apps, you have almost everything available. Cons: The UX is not good.
Get a chromebook with a touch screen. I think my kids have an Acer which is fantastic. More $ but well worth it.
Which Acer do they have?
I love Chromebook for most uses, traveling, kids etc. One suggestion for Acer. If you can physically try one out at a store do so. Check the power cord. I have a few of same model which work well but the power cord pops out if not perfectly aligned. Drives me nuts. Impossible to charge while working on couch, etc. Also check the keyboard layout. For some small models the keys may be shifted slightly for shift, enter, etc which may not be what you are used to.
Agreed. See the one i referenced above. It has a touchscreen and I don’t think i could go back to having a laptop without a touchscreen.
We recently switched over as a family over to Chromebooks as a test. Their current flagship has done nothing but impress me: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/…
Pixelbook is the king of chromebooks, but the rumor is they’ll announce a new one at the October event.Personally I keep using my SurfacePro for one reason – there is no PhotoMechanic-type local software for chromebooks. I sometimes need to triage a huge amount of photos locally, without uploading them all to gdrive/gphotos.
1password also has a cloud extension that you can use in the browser.my daughter was forced to buy a chromebook for school. totally impossible to use for software development. I was thoroughly unimpressed by the chromebook which cost as much as a normal laptop ($800).what you may want is a linux laptop, because it’s the windows software that is the bloat + extra cost.
I made the same switch from a Mac to a Chromebook for many of the same reasons you note. I ultimately switched back to the Mac. A few things:1.) I often need to review legal documents with track changes and they are in Word and just because you use Google docs doesn’t mean the other party does.2.) I also use Google drive a lot and like the drag and drop functionality from the desktop client on Mac. I also couldn’t get used to not having the ability to load icons on the desktop. Navigating took some time.3.) PDF’s – I often like to modify PDF’s and this was difficult on the Chromebook.If all you have is in the cloud and most of your behavior is email and opening up simple attachments then you should be ok. But the issue I had with legal documents and reviewing was a big issue for me.
Hi Fred,I went through all this about 2 years ago; writing this comment on my Chromebook Pro.- read https://chromeunboxed.com as it is full of great articles- laptop: wait for October as Google is said to unveil a Pixelbook 2; otherwise, 100% you should get a Pixelbook 1- desktop: the Acer Chromebox CXI3 (https://www.acer.com/ac/en/… is the last great one it seems (https://chromeunboxed.com/a… I would avoid Chromebase.- password management: Lastpass works PERFECTLY form me on Pixel 2XL and Chromebook + you can unlock your Chromebook with your Android Phone (https://support.google.com/… I am doing that with my Pixel 2XL everyday.- Android Apps are great on Chromebook / Chromebox, so make sure you can models that can support them- Last thing, minimum 4GB of RAM for anything you get. My next Chromebook will be 8GB.
Why not move to a Surface Pro instead?I just did and love it entirely.You almost can’t tell the difference in UI anymore, plus the stylus, touch screen and detachable screen are killer features.On top of that, you can get a docking adapter that turns it like a desktop.
Yes, Indeed. Love it too.
don’t you find it to be a bit heavy as a tablet?
I don’t think of it as a tablet, more like a pc. It’s 1.5 lbs I think which is lighter than my Macbook Air.
i saw the Surface Go today in a store. seems like a handy little thing to have in a travel bag, but underpowered and Windows 10s.
Hey William, seeing your comments on a daily basis for years makes it feel like we’re part of the same community. I’d like to bounce my startup’s vision off you – any chance you’d be willing to talk to a fellow AVCer?
Of course. Pls email me? [email protected] & thank you for reaching out.
I carry a Surface Laptop and its easily the best laptop I’ve ever used. Windows has left the rest of the OS’s behind long ago imho and Windows laptops have had touch for years. Apple hasn’t put any real development into MacOS for maybe 10 years? Google is still playing catchup and is much more focused on controlling the entire ecosystem like Apple does. Never thought I’d be a Microsoft advocate but they really are just better in the market right now.
I am always concerned with connectivity. Will a chromebook run all applications 100% of the time, even when internet access is poor? I know this is not an issue 90% of the time for 90% of people. But a road warrior or rural based individual surely would have a lot of issues, no? Also, someone who is totally reliant on 4G may find indoor coverage to be an issue. Great for voice and narrowband apps, but completely unreliable for bandwidth hogging apps.Also, if we move to a HD 2-way video world, won’t processing at the edge facilitate performance and reduce latency? I see that as the next big frontier.
I have two Surface Pros and I like them, but my primary issue has been the flap/stand. It doesn’t balance well on my lap and, for me, on planes, it can fall off/through the back of the tray table. Can’t use it as my go-to.
Do you have the keyboard too?
Yes, I do.
precisely. it’s not a good design solution. it’s a problem.
i would not move. you will be incredibly frustrated by the lack of minimum software set up. in particular password managers
I’ve tried a few times and keep coming back to mac. pixelbook is great but battery life is weak. others are underpowered compared to what you’re used to. if you’re on iphone, integration with iMessages is going to be big missing piece. the “apps” for chromebooks aren’t really the same yet and browser based slack and evernote lack too, imo.
Here is the thing and I know I am going to get slammed. If you only worry about browser. The total cost of ownership is cheaper with Apple. They just last. We had a policy you get a monthly allowance for a computer. Here are three that still totally work for a decade. Look at the abuse!!! The middle one has travelled a million miles and was involved in a very bad car accident. That is why it is bent. The one on the left has been dropped by young kids so often. Look at that power port. The dvd still works on the right. Disqus sucks at photos and I couldn’t post
The total cost of ownership is cheaper with Apple. They just last.I don’t think that is the way to sell Fred on this. At the price of the Chromebook, it doesn’t matter if it lasts. This is the same way the public has had Chinese goods foisted on them. It’s so cheap the warranty is meaningless. I think I just bought a $5 thing on Amazon (something electronic) and it came with a warranty booklet. Who is going to take the time to make a claim or get a repair? For $5 if it breaks in a year you just buy another one and it shows up the next day. Who has the time to mess with a return and even sending an email or filling out a form?Despite my gleeful comment elsewhere about using a Chromebook for a single purpose (such as a security camera monitor in the browser) there is no way you pry my Macs from my hands. I don’t want to spend any time thinking of how to do all the things I need to do that I do now on my mac to save that money. And honestly I don’t know why Fred cares either. You can buy a Macbook air for $1000 and never have to make any excuses or think at all.Now of course if you are running a company it probably makes sense to keep a few Chromebooks around as spares for employees in case their laptop tanks or maybe more importantly if they are traveling on a trip and only need to do browsing and even more importantly you don’t want them to have their work laptop stolen. That is a great idea and cost effective. Or keep one at a vacation place etc.
Sure. What strikes me is what Fred’s move says about Apple’s Buffett moat, barrier to entry, etc.Looks like Moore’s law is coming to an end, and the processor world for the user end is rushing to processors with about 10 nm line width, a dozen or few dozen cores, each core single threaded (no more hyperthreading), about 3.0 GHz clocks, with some severe efforts to hold down on electrical power needed. Then some new options in memory.But all of this is commodity stuff — apparently there are plenty of people to do the circuit designs, plenty of foundries to make the processors, plenty of sources for the motherboards, etc., several good options for operating systems and applications, etc.It looks like Apple wants to be seen as a BMW when actually they are using the same parts as some of Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Fiat, VW, etc.!!!Looks like for advantages in such electronics get into 5G communications chips and new forms of static, solid state memory.THEN the advantage is what the heck to do with the rapidly flowing oceans of data to give users valuable information, fun entertainment, good social networking experiences, creative options, etc.
Frankly, I am not trying to sell Fred on anything. What he uses doesn’t concern or affect me.I love commenting, and unlike the commenter yesterday who thinks there is one person working on something new and has no clue what they don’t know, I like to hear alternative opinions.I’ll abstract off of computers…..when it comes to tools you have:Harbor Freight: buy it to use it once and if it lasts bonusHome Depot: You can buy decent or pretty goodMatco or SnapOn: Go to a shop and see what they use 40 hrs a week.Now if your goal is to see what it is like for people buying Harbor Freight buy it.I would say there is nothing more than we use all day other than our laptop. No different than a mechanic and tools.I would use the same analogy for cooking tools: Kohls, Kitchen and Co, Commercial Restaurant store. Now you can argue Williams and Sonoma but that is more status, and maybe you put Apple into that camp.
With tools I definitely agree (actually I agree on most things that it pays to buy good thing and I’ve always felt that).With tools if you buy Stanley or Black and Decker or even Kawaski for example the batteries don’t hold a charge. Especially if you are a infrequent user. Ditto for Hoover (whatever Chinese company shovels that). All the same. I have had all of these in my office and all of them have batteries (and these are vacuums, flashlights, drills, etc). that simply can’t retain a charge. No ‘boating’ accident.  They look good. Just like a shit Bayliner boat (first thing I learned in boating was how crappy bayliner is..)As you know Sears use to charge more but it was guaranteed for life. And they had good better best was a good system.Honestly it’s amazing how some business people that run these companies are willing to sell things they know will not last. That is what we have with competition (and you know what I call that as well which I won’t repeat). Jaws reference.
Look there are people that know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Now this does not translate necessarily to price. My cleaning person uses a Shark vacuum and will explain to me in great detail (literally grab me by the arm) and show me why the Dyson is a POS. There are coolers like YETI that cost at least twice as much as the same alternative. Frankly the one thing that people don’t understand because they’ve never been to China is day shift equals your named brand and night shift equals knock-offs.Apple seems to mostly have prevented that. Although if you look at the self made Billionaire women in China a great example is one that made the screens for Apple and then branched out. Worth $10B: https://en.wikipedia.org/wi… from a dirt poor background.
Yeti makes what appear to be the real deal quality items. I have seen them in Whole Foods. I have no clue why they are taking up space in Whole Foods with high priced YETI stuff.But YETI is more like “I buy quality” happiness for your brain. It’s a cooler so not the same as an actual mechanical thing that you use and even more importantly that your livelihood depends on it. So it feels good to have that quality but it is not necessary. Unless you are camping a great deal.While I was writing this comment the handyman showed up (he used to work for a homebuilder) with a tshirt that said ‘Irwin Tools’.We are buying appliances for a shore place. My criteria goes more toward looks than quality. Why? Because I am hardly ever there. I want things that looks good more than something that performs or holds up well. Why? When I sell I want things that look nice since most buyers will buy based on looks and not quality. And the appliances will never be used enough to make the quality matter that much (over looks).If I renovate with the intent of renting then I want things that hold up well with a tenant. So if I put glass doors in a shower I could have an issue with glass doors breaking. I want things that I won’t have aggravation with. So for that makes more sense to not do glass doors but nice tile a shower curtain does not break.If I was a hotel with a full time maintenance staff it wouldn’t matter. Maintenance guy repairs the doors or keeps things working or tweaks. But small property owner different issues.
Two ways to get Disqus photo inserts to work:(1) For the photo, i.e., just the JPG, GIF, or PNG file itself, just use clipboard paste to put the public Internet URL on one line of text in the Disqus message in their HTML standard multi-line text box control. Then after a few refreshes of the Web page, Disqus code will insert the picture, scaled, where the URL was inserted.(2) To use the little Disqus icon in the lower left to upload a picture file from a file system tree name on your computer, it can help to have accepting third party cookies enabled in your Web browser. A guess is that the reason for this is that the Disqus programming stores the file on the cloud, a CDN (content distribution network), maybe Akamai and, thus, somehow needs the third party cookie, e.g., from Akamai to load the picture in your Disqus post.Special case of a general problem: The hacker culture has a heck of a struggle documenting their work.
I have a 2016 MacBook Pro which winds up being used mostly for photo and video editing. I’ve used a PixelBook as my main daily driver device for about 9 months. I have 1Password loaded as well as MSFT’s Office suite and a few other necessary Android apps. It’s a great 9-10 hour battery life device and the touch screen is awesome. Threegripes, I wish it had the TouchID reader that my MBP does. I wish it had built in LTE as I detest having to tether. Some PowerPoint and Excel work is better on Mac or Windows. Otherwise incredibly highly recommended.
Pixelbook 100%. I’ll never go back to a desktop or laptop. I use Google for everything (calendar, docs, collabs, email) so it makes sense for me.
I moved from Mac to all Chromebook. Took about a year to make the full transition, but I tell everyone the following1 – pixelbook is awesome. I got mine with all the extra specs (RAM, Memory, Pen, etc), as I expect that to be my primary travel “laptop” for the next few years. The great thing here is that with the specs I bought mine at, I know that it will be able to handle any updates Google makes to Chromebooks over the next several years. It was weird paying a price (mine was 1700) that was almost as much as a Macbook, but I realized that Macbook had too much bloat for me and Pixel was ideal for my need for speed, simplicity, and security. Unless your as designer or engineer who needs to have local software, I think PixelBooks are perfect for everyone else. I have / own nearly 8 different chrombooks from HP / ASUS / ACER, etc and Pixelbook is the best and worth the little extra.2 – For Desktop, I use a monitor and ASUS Chromebox as I like to have a large monitor. Make sure you get the highest possible graphics card and specs on the Chromebox, esp if you like to run two monitors.
I have used Chromebooks for the last 3 years, and with the addition of Android apps I have not missed much. LastPass works great on Chrome; I have setup a small Windows VM on a cloud service to run some of the apps that run only on Windows and that are sometimes required (especially for interacting with Public Authorities); I connect there using NoMachine NX, that works exceptionally well even with multimedia content and is free (the android client works on ChromeOS). The original PixelBook is wonderful, but I would wait for the next generation that is coming in the next few months. I have a full set of smaller ChromeBooks I use for travel; I have an HP ChromeBox that works well, and I converted some older PCs using CloudReady from Neverware (a company Google invested in, making a version of ChromeOS that runs on normal PC through a USB key).My experience has been so far extremely positive- updates are fast and painlessly, and it works a charms in every environment.
For laptop, Pixelbook is top shelf, but expensive. ASUS Chromebook Flip is ~$450, m3 seems to suffice but there is an m5 CPU option. Makes a great low-cost spare for the living room, or to-go.Glad to see Linux running under ChromeOS, which extends the possibilities. Still I need a full laptop workstation, so Chromebook only suffices for office and personal productivity. I prefer my MacBook 15″ w external keyboard and trackpad and dual 28″ 4K monitors.Lastpass Chrome extension shouldn’t require installing desktop app, AFAIK.
I’ve been using an Acer Chromebook (currently a C302C) for years after migrating from a Mac myself. Great experience so far, and the learning curve wasn’t steep. In regards to a password manager, Dashlane (https://g.co/kgs/noK9j5) is good. If I were to jump into Chromebook world now, I’d would go with a Pixelbook. All the best Fred, it would be great to hear what you decide on.
My Acer is great – light, great battery, the keyboard is so much better than my Mac. Problem is they claim android apps work, but they don’t – so Sonos, for example, doesn’t work on Chromecast. Using printers can be a little tricky, but does work
For several years I’ve been very happy with Samsung Chromebook variants, ASUS Chromeboxes, and LastPass.I’ve also been able to have my cake and access OS-specific/optimized applications on other machines of mine via Chrome Remote Desktop.
are you still going from Mac to Android on phone? Would there be a difference between Mac and Chromebook?
I’ve been using the password manager built into Chrome ever since they launched it — and I’d been using LastPass for ages. It’s really well done between operating systems _and_ the integration with Android apps is a wonderful benefit. The only thing keeping me from switching to a Pixelbook is the need to occasionally launch a Windows VM. (I’d considered just keeping a VM ready in AWS or Azure, but there’s just enough friction to keep me from making the switch.) Perhaps I’ll change my mind when they announce the next version in a month or two.Good luck!
Foe what it is worth my daughter loves hers. I have a coworker that uses one exclusively as well. The only issue we’ve had is with some conference call software as some require it to be installed. (One of the Skype variants I want to say.)Does 1password have a web version now? They offer sync but may offer a web interface as well?
Sounds like you’re just moving from one controlling silo (Apple) to another (Google).
And one that values privacy to one that doesn’t.
Disclosure: I work at Google and have tried both. If you use zero desktop apps, you might be OK but I use a password manager (1password), photo editing (Pixelmator) and light video editing (iMovie), so I strongly prefer the MacBook Pro 13”. Thin, light and meets my needs. Try the Pixelbook and see what you think, but I went back to Mac.
This echos my comment. I prefer my Pixelbook, but still use my Macbook for Keynote and video editing.
I’m a huge fan of my PixelBook. I’ve really only had two major concerns:1) Video editing is still a challenge. I’ve gotten by with a couple of Android Apps running on the Chromebook, but it’s not great2) Thank goodness for MetaMask. I’m able to participate in most crypto innovations built on ethereum thanks to MetaMask for Chrome, but it seems like many crypto wallets are focused on MacOS and Windows. I’m sure this will change over time.The PixelBook is a great little tool. I would suggest that you follow https://twitter.com/KevinCT… who has a blog dedicated to ChromeOS and Chromebook.
If you haven’t seen it already, keep an eye on Adobe’s Project Rush. I think it’ll be a game changer for video editing on Chrome. (I’m assuming you’re currently using WeVideo?)
I’m not thanks for the suggestions!
The crypto wallets issue has been the stumbling block for me too. Chrome is very much bottom of the ‘to do’ list for many token projects, and the main reason i went to a Macbook from a Chromebook. I’ll go back when the ecosystem has improved, but i like my Macbook. It’s a keeper.
Cardano announced a web-based wallet called Icarus that will run as a Chrome Plugin. That seems like a good approach.
yes, a good approach. not sure about that branding though. sounds sexy (as so much of the branding in the crypto scene tries to be), but that story from history didn’t end well.
Cardano has a history of selecting mythological names that don’t end well. Their main wallet is called Daedalus about a guy that built a maze. The icon for the Daedalus wallet is a Minotaur that was a half man half bull guy that was eventually killed by Theseus.
At the end of the day, all I care about is if MetaMask works on it and if there is support for my hardware wallet. The hardware wallet part is extremely important.
Disclosure: I used to work for Google and now run AboutChromebooks.comI’m all on in Chromebooks, currently using a Pixelbook. Base model is fine for my needs, which sound very similar. I am taking some CompSci classes but even from a programming standpoint, the addition of Linux running in containers (https://www.aboutchromebook… — available in Dev and Beta channels now, coming to Stable v. 69 in the coming weeks — fills that need easily and securely. I don’t do a bunch of video editing but I can do audio edits in Audacity for Linux once audio support arrives for Linux on Chrome OS.I actually use Google for my password management. It’s built in to Chrome / Chrome OS and syncs to all devices. Plus, you can always log in and look up passwords at passwords.google.com. Sure if Google is hacked, someone has my passwords, but same can be said for any cloud-based password manager or (if you run 1Password, etc… locally) if someone gains access to your device. I use Google’s 2FA to log in to my Google account and even to log in to my Pixelbook – can be done with an authenticator app, SMS or — my preferred method — a Yubikey. I’l be buying a Google Titan Security key to replace my Yubikey once they go on sale.Happy to answer any specific questions.Note that we should have at least one, if not two, Pixelbook successors announced in October; details of what I’ve found out on my site as well as other sites. I anticipate one to be a detachable device, similar to the HP Chromebook X2, which I loved but was concerned about the 4GB of RAM for running Chrome OS, Android apps AND Linux containers.
So much good info in this post. I guess I really didn’t know about passwords.google.com or the Google Titan Security key. Can’t wait to try that.
is a Titan better than a Yubi?good comment.
Info on Titan here: https://cloud.google.com/se… Long story short: Similar approach to Yubikey but Google created its own security chip and firmware.Note that Google introduced its first (very small!)Titan chip in 2017 to secure its own servers: https://cloudplatform.googl…
Disclosure: I work at Google and I know Kevin and I read his site and I have used only Chromebooks since 2012. My whole family has Chromebooks — kids too. They are fantastic and versatile inexpensive machines. You will be very happy.
Maybe it’s farther down the thread, but has the offline issue been addressed on chromebooks? There are times (say in the subway or on a plane) where I don’t have wi-fi. Being able to go local is big (particularly b/c I use dropbox for synching across multiple devices).
So the best answer I can give is: It depends. 😉 Most of the G Suite apps work offline and sync back to the cloud when you get a connection. But in the case of using an Android app that needs cloud data all the time, or checking your Twitter feed on the web; that obviously won’t work in offline mode – it wouldn’t work on any platform, so it’s not a Chrome OS limitation if that makes sense. It’s hard to answer your question with any specificity because I’d need to know what type of apps you’d want to use offline. If you want to drop some examples in here, I’m happy to check or test.
Sure…usually I’m working on docs, spreadsheets, and slides. I’ve just found that Google offline is not 100% reliable (though it could be something that I am not doing correctly).
Offline Gmail is now native, but for Docs, you’ll want to follow these steps: https://support.google.com/…
Is Chrome the only browser option you have with Chromebooks still? Say if I wanted to use Brave Browser – could I?
Chrome is the only native browser for any Chrome OS device, yes.However, you can install mobile browsers from the Google Play Store in the form of Android apps. And I’ve also installed Firefox in the Linux container; note that Linux is still a beta feature and not yet available on the Chrome OS Stable channel, nor is it available on certain older devices based on their chipset and/or the Linux kernel version used on the device.In either case, Android or Linux, the 3rd party browser runs in its own resizable window.
Hey thanks for your comment! I’ve been running crouton with a CLI only install of Ubuntu for over two years now on a 2014 Toshiba Chromebook 2, and I absolutely love it! I’m a Node/JS fullstack dev, and find it’s everything I need in a laptop, plus I see it as disposable/easily replaced.I was curious if you had any thoughts about crouton? The linux app support won’t be coming to my system, and I doubt the forthcoming containerization will either, but I’m pleased enough with crouton that those newer features aren’t on my radar yet. (I’ll upgrade at some point of course, but while traveling fulltime as I currently do, having a sub $500 laptop just can’t be beat)I love having a full linux environment sitting in my open terminal on chromebook, and there’s serious peace of mind that comes with knowing if I brick my chroot, I can just start over from Chrome OS. Plus, I keep all my config files and a setup script I wrote for crouton backed up on the cloud, so even after a powerwash, a fresh dev setup is just a few scripts away. I’m tempted to get a mac again for Final Cut, but that’s unrelated to my daily work currently. Of course, each user is unique, but unless you have a specific need for more processing power, you really can’t beat a chromebook these days!
Yup, been running Crouton on and off since 2013: https://gigaom.com/2013/02/… But I personally prefer using the Crostini containers for safety/security reasons. I also like the ability to move back and forth between systems without a reboot, plus the added convenience of files in the Linux container accessible in the native Chrome OS Files app.You’re correct that the original Toshiba Chromebook 2 won’t get Crostini; I still have the 2015 model of that device and it won’t see Crostini either. So, until you upgrade your device, Crouton is essentially it for running Linux and Chrome OS on a single device.
My last two notebook purchases were Chromebooks. The Pixelbook is outstanding and the Google apps and ISP extensions meet all my software needs. In addition to the user experience benefits, the auto updates to Chrome OS means I’m now less concerned about security. I have a large monitor connected to the Pixelbook, so I rarely use touch-screen.
The browser is how I do all of my desktop computing. Paying up for a full blown computer when all I need is a browser seems like a waste.This actually illustrates an important concept that I have. That is to always revisit what it is you do because you might identify superfluous steps or actions that can be eliminated.  Both people and companies should do this. Ask the question ‘what is it that I am trying to do?’.  The ‘use a pencil instead of a pen’ story that goes around about the space mission also comes to mind. “We need something to write” not “we need a pen that writes in space”. The Chromebook is the pencil. Or the fake story about the kid who said ‘let the air out of the tires’ to the people trying to free the truck under the bridge.This post actually prompted me to check Chromebook pricing (less than the cost of taking my wife out for dinner) and I realized that I have a windows machine in my office whose sole purpose is to run a browser to display some security cameras. Since I am doing that by the browser why do I need a Windows machine (doesn’t work well on Mac which is what I would typically use) that I am constantly getting an ‘upgrade windows’ or a ‘your mcafee has expired’ messages.I can just buy a Chromebook and have it dedicated for that task. The first time I noticed this behavior was when I had just graduated college and went to a trade show for the business I was starting. I waited in the pouring rain for the shuttle bus because that is what my Dad always did. He took the shuttle bus. And he never ate breakfast at the hotel. And he did a host of other things to save money. Well as I was getting drenched I decided that I would take a cab. And that got me thinking about how you get stuck on doing something because it’s what you have always done and you don’t consider other reasonable alternatives (or in the case of a Chromebook cheaper) to achieve the same thing. In this case the Chromebook will actually be better because I won’t be getting bothered by upgrade messages. This is also used in sales and negotiation. Identify exactly what the objection is and tailor your pitch to overcome that objection. A friend of mine was offered a great job but turned it down because his wife didn’t want the hassle of packing and moving. The company could have cured that (possibly) by structuring the offer in terms of help from someone to personally get that part done. And I am not speaking theory I have done that before to get a deal done wrapped into the cost a high level redo of a website. That was more valuable in terms of pain avoidance than money would have been. <—- Very important point.
So funny I used to stay far away at a cheap hotel. And then you think why did I come?
A heavy snowstorm caused me to switch from doing my own grocery shopping (2-3 hours of walking + shopping a weekend) to using Instacart (10 minutes online plus waiting for delivery but I can do other stuff while I wait for it). Best $150/year I’ve spent.
Similar: I was told by a Starbucks manager that they don’t close stores during renovations because they fear that people will then find another alternative and more importantly (I will add this part) a habit will be broken.
For a web based password manager, LastPass is a great password manager and integrated with a Chrome Extension.
Google and Security are Oxymorons, wake up sheeple.Your local user authentication is nothing compared to the leakage of information online.You’re better off with a Linux Laptop. I-3 or A-8 min. will make it snappy with an SSD, the rest is up to your needs.
the only possible issue i’ve not seen mentioned is crypto wallets, but there’s always….Coinbase :s
I have been a Chromebook / Android all in person for over 4 years now. I do not do video editing often, so I will use my sons or wife’s Mac laptops for that. Having a machine 2 years ago dropped from a cafe’s table, and getting a machine at a BestBuy 10 minutes later for $300, and having all my bookmarks, apps, and extensions auto restored is inspiring. I have an Acer. My next one will be one with a stylus. 2 factor auth and using the Android as a wifi in a pinch is painless
Disclosure – I work on Google Cloud so I have motivation to use ChromeOSI was a hard-core MBP user from 2007 until a few months ago. The new MBP keyboard forced me to move off. I was literally told by my boss that my typing was too loud in meetings and need to get a new laptop.I have loved the new Pixelbook since I moved. Same as you, I am always in the browser and no longer do much development on my laptop.The fact that you can download android apps for offline access, specifically Spotify and Netflix, is a great feature.The biggest thing I miss are the shortcuts that I used to navigate between apps, specifically Alt+tab and the launcher search window. I was very dependent on them and had to come up with new solutions (work in progress).Overall, a very big fan of the Pixelbook and ChromeOS. I haven’t really found anything I can’t do with it.My 2 cents.
I’ve been using an AUS C302C for the last couple of years and I love it. I use LastPass as my password manager on the Chromebook, it’s the same native Google Play Store application I use on my Pixel 2 XL phone. In addition to the native LastPass application, I also have the LastPass Chrome browser plugin so I don’t always have to launch the full application.I use my Pixel phone fingerprint reader to unlock both my phone and the Chromebook when I’m close to the Chromebook. I also use a Yubikey which I use for 2FA, but have not used it since I activated using the Pixel 2 authentication. Soon I’ll be able to run some CLIs with the addition of sandboxed linux applications.I still own a MacBook Pro, but my primary computer is a Chromebook, for security reasons I decided to have a smaller attack vector than with a full-blown laptop. In the future I’ll consider the Pixelbook, I chose the ASUS Chromebook because my previous great experience with other ASUS hardware. I would recommend looking at the ASUS C302C.
Hi Fred. I bought a Pixelbook for my wife for Christmas as she is a heavy user of the Android ecosystem. I’m passing along her comments for your consideration, although your usage sounds to be different from hers:”The biggest piece of advice I’d have is to beware that not all programs (even browser-based) work as well–or are even available–on the Chromebook. Photoshop is a perfect example; I tried to get the cloud-based subscription version of it and couldn’t; Adobe hasn’t built a version for Android. Essentially, the Chromebook is halfway between a mobile device and a laptop, and–as it doesn’t run on Windows or the Mac system–you’re a bit in a no-man’s land. Standard programs such as Excel and PPT don’t work as well on it, either (Excel templates, for instance, are really buggy)–though Google Sheets, Gmail, and Google Docs do quite well, obviously. I’ve encountered other programs that simply don’t have an Android version, or the version they do have is an app for a phone and therefore doesn’t work well on the Chromebook.The quick answer is for simple computing, Google products, and web browsing, it’s excellent. For more standard office-type programs–even browser-based–it can be a challenge. Check the programs you use most to see if they are supported for Android before making the move.”
CONTRIBUTORS:good job on the disclosures. Shows integrity. We appreciate it. Very refreshing.Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent
There is a reason why companies like IBM and Consumer Report made the switch to Mac. If you like a well build product a well built OS and a company that respects your privacy then Apple should be your choice! Don’t forget that a MacBook Pro uses your fingerprint to get unlocked and there are many way to secure your data as well. Then again if you truly only live in a browser then maybe a Chromebook is for you? For password management I prefer having a local DMG file with 256bit encryption containing my lists etc.
I bought an Acer Chromebook for 150 just a few days ago. I bought my first Chromebook when it first came out. On a Chromebook you don’t need no anti-virus. Is that wild or what?
Fred, one more thought exercise that I suggest to people considering a Chromebook: Create a list of all of the apps you use, or at least the non-web apps, i.e.: traditional desktop software, and how often you need them. It’s helpful not just for the decision — those that must use desktop apps for a non-trivial amount of time per day/week are less likely to switch, of course — but also because it generates a list of what web/Android (or eventually Linux) apps you want to see if there are replacements for.
I’ve used a chrome book for two years when I’m out of the office. I love it. I do have google remote desk top enabled on my PC in work which is always on for the extremely rare occasion that I need access to desktop software. I love how lightweight it is, the battery life is outstanding and how quickly it boots up
Personally, instead of a Chromebook, I wish my ideal PC and laptop existed (yes, PC, that makes me PunC, so sue me. Specs something like this:- ultra lightweight- ultra cool (as in temp, not hipster)- high RAM and disk space, both fast, too- excellent keyboard, not chiclets-style- a better pointing device than a mouse (I don’t like trackpads much)- plenty of connectors , or better, less need for them(redefine the problem , not just look for better solutions :)- good large enough screen that can be read easily both indoors and outdoors, even with glare / reflection from full sunlight- water / spill / dust proof- rugged, can handle even medium accidental banging against surfaces Rant / pet peeve: why the hell do USB devices (at least thumb drives) have to stick out perpendicular to the side of the laptop or PC to which they are connected?A better design would be if they fitted parallel, IMO, with the connector on the longer side of the thumb drive, so it has less chance of getting knocked and then either the drive or the port gets damaged. Like how Microsoft would change a light bulb: Define darkness as the new standard. Also see  https://blogs.msdn.microsof…I should have made a career as a designer of physical products, considering the number of such design anomalies / issues I’ve noticed in physical objects. (Don’t get me started on household switches, sockets, taps, washbasins, etc. Plenty of low-hanging fruit there.)Scandinavian furniture is one example of physical design I like – the kinds I’ve seen, anyway, light and streamlined and with no or few jutting knobs or sharp edges, on which adults or kids can cut themselves.
I have a dell which I use to run engineering desktop software, but everything else is done on the web.Don’t even do the pixelbook, get one of the ‘real’ cheapo chromebook to get the true experience. I have an Acer from 4 years ago, still going strong, and would probably buy a 14″ Acer again today.The first computer I reach for at home is my chromebook. Even though it’s only another minute or so for my Dell to boot up, it’s literally a few seconds, and 99% of what I do is in the web.Once you pay $300-400 for a computer that can do everything you need, you’ll never go back to using overpriced apple again.I also happen to have the Acer Chromebox. At home, I have it wired via HDMI to a ceiling mounted projector. I get a 120″ screen, that is the exact experience of being on my chromebook. The best thing is that the browser is synced across all chromebooks, so I can pick up where I left off regardless of which chrome browser I’m in (even the one my phone or Dell laptop).I used have a Roku, but I found the entire controller and UI really lousy versus just having a keyboard and web browser. Once you switch over, you won’t look back.
Pixelbooks are on sale at the moment, going for ~$750. I love chromebooks and have been using them for 4 years now. The OS is so much easier to use than Mac or Windows, and the productivity shortcuts and tools are pretty amazing. For 90% of users a chromebook is more than enough for their purposes.Several Pros:- They are ultra thin and lightweight. It beats most macbooks out there.- If aesthetics is important to you, watch the reaction and fascination of macbook users when they see the pixelbook side-by-side with their mac. Watch their reaction when you tell them that your Pixelbook is 70% the price of their mac yet faster, cleaner, bigger screen, with tablet mode and a built-in assistant.- The processing speed is amazing (Chrome OS is super light weight compared to Windows and MacOS)- You can basically do anything via browser or android apps these days unless you are a programmer or designer…and even then you can “jailbreak” your chromebook and install any operating system you want.- Chromebooks work offline.- The touchscreen is incredibly responsive. I love using the screen as a mini white board with Google Keep (Evernote works well too).- The assistant is fun to use, but atm more of a vanity item than a workplace tool.
>I have not used desktop software for probably a decade now. The browser is how I do all of my desktop computing. Paying up for a full blown computer when all I need is a browser seems like a waste.I feel as though 90% of people could easily get away with just using a “Browser as an Operating System.”I do design and CPU intensive video editing but if I did not do that, wow.. I would so love a browser only desktop device.
Disclosure: Dashlane co-founderHi Fred, if you are still a Dashlane user, there is a standalone extension for Chromebooks that lives in your browser and allows you to do the same things that you would do with your desktop app. Few features are still missing but the Dashlane team is closing the gap fast. At any rate this should not be a blocker for you to make the move.
I was disillusioned by my Chromebook experience. I bought a Samsung CB Pro last year and briefly owned a PixelBook (before returning it). The problem I had is unreliable integration of Android apps. One particular app I use daily is LectureNotes, but when I would try to import files into it I would see the state of my Google Drive as it was weeks ago rather than its current state – apparently Android apps aren’t fully integrated into the ChromeOS yet. I had the same problem with both the CB Pro and the PixelBook. I would not buy another.
I’ve really been considering a Pixelbook as of recently. The price is a bit higher than Chromebooks but after looking at the specs on it, I Google’s actually getting to the point of competing with Apple when it comes to laptops.
in conclusion, definitely wait for the Pixelbook 2.
and coming soon;https://www.slashgear.com/l…