When my Macbook crapped out on me a few weeks ago, and the repairs were looking likely to cost several hundred dollars, I began to get more and more desperate for a usable but inexpensive alternative for my computing needs. After extensive research into a variety of options, I ultimately settled on the Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-111. And you know what? It’s pretty cool so far.
At only $199, this Chromebook is not only affordable, but allows me to take care of all the basic functions I was using my Macbook for. Off and on all evening I’ve been grabbing it to read articles online, check my Facebook and email, and even watch Youtube videos. I’m also typing this short blog post on it. In fact, after multiple hours of use tonight, I still have 6 hours of battery life left. At this rate, I may not have to charge it up for another day or two. That feels pretty good after dealing with the short battery life on my Macbook for the past couple years.
Because this laptop uses Google’s own operating system, Chrome OS, it helps to be familiar with the Chrome web browser, GMail, Google Docs, and other such Google applications. Because I was already using many of them regularly, transitioning from my Mac to the Chromebook has been pretty easy. Save for a few minor adjustments, such as using different trackpad gestures and getting used to a new keyboard, the whole thing has been just about seamless. Even setting up the machine straight out of the box was simple! It booted up quickly, took me through a brief menu, asked for my Google username and password, and I was set. I am by no means a computer guru, and I’m telling you there was nothing to it.
So, what are its downsides? For me, not many. But I’ve read reviews where people have complained about the matte screen and the design being largely plastic. I researched this Chromebook before I bought it, and knew about these “limitations” going in. I could not care less. It’s a lightweight, eminently usable little laptop and, best of all, at this price tag I feel like I’m going to get my money’s worth and much more.
I still plan to get my Macbook fixed eventually. But while a couple weeks ago I felt desperate for something to tide me over, I’m now thinking the Macbook can sit on the shelf and collect dust a little while longer. The Chromebook and I are getting along just fine.