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Why I ditched my MacBook Air for a Chromebook. (And how I’m surviving.)

Why I ditched my MacBook Air for a Chromebook. (And how I’m surviving.)

Say it isn’t so! A meager Chromebook replacing a MacBook Air? Preposterous! Explain or face the consequences!

It’s true. I’m typing today on a, wait, let me look at the cover, a Toshiba Chromebook and I don’t have my MacBook Air. I wish it weren’t the case. I miss my Air. The keyboard that knows each of my fingers like family. My apps all lined up and at the ready. iMessenger for texting with a real keyboard, all of my music and podcasts right there. I could go on and on. If you’re a Mac user, you know what I’m talking about. You’re just baffled at why (and how!) I switched to a no-hard-drive, no-nonsense Chromebook.

First of all, what even is a Chromebook?

Google wanted to create a simpler laptop that wasn’t Windows or Mac or even Unix (Linux, Ubuntu, etc.). In fact, that’s all I’m going to explain because I don’t care as I used to about technology. I only care that it works and does what I need. It’s a very simple laptop that can do basic functions, but also one important point to note: it usually needs an Internet connection to do much of anything.

Why I ditched my MacBook Air for a Chromebook. (And how I'm surviving.)

That’s a river. My laptop is not (yet) in it. [Borneo, Malaysia]

Sounds like a great laptop for, say, an 11-year old or a techie or a big Google fan, but why would I switch to it from my Mac? The answer is unfortunate:

Replacement cost.

We’re traveling and there’s a decent chance that my laptop:

  1. Goes overboard into the Sarawak River,
  2. Gets pulled out of my backpack by a monkey,
  3. Succumbs to the 96% humidity and drowns,
  4. Melts in the 30+ decgree (Celsius) heat,
  5. Is grabbed by a moped-riding thief on the crowded street,
  6. Is lost in transition.

Yes, my Mac can do more. But my Mac cost around $1,200 whereas this Chromebook cost so little I can’t remember how much it was (maybe around $200). It has a screen, it’s light, a keyboard, even Bluetooth. Does it have all of the functionality of the Mac? Of course not. It’s also just plain not a Mac so I can’t do Apple-related tasks. But if it does go overboard in our cut-out canoe, it will be less of a loss than my beloved Mac.

Is it worth buying a Chromebook just for travel?

It depends on what you’re using it for. If it’s mostly browser-related work, it’s actually been fantastic. Chrome (the browser) has so many extensions that I can do most things that my Mac could do–just in a different way or with a few more steps). But again, there’s that $1,000 difference that’s worth it to me while traveling.

2 Comments

  1. John

    I wish I brought a chromebook on my south american trip instead of my macbook air. Nothing bad happened to my mac, but whenever I left it in a hotel to go out exploring, a part of me was worried about my silly laptop instead of me being present in the moment.

    Reply
    • Bradley

      That’s a big part of it: just the “what if?” worry of something so expensive. However, now a few weeks into our trip, my most valuable item is the chip in my camera–how do I back that up!?

      Reply

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