Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Replacing my MacBook Pro with a Chromebook

Am I crazy?

It's getting to be about time to replace my 6+ year old MacBook Pro, especially since I appear to have dropped it (or dropped something on it) during my trip home from Arizona in December. I cracked part of the screen, and bent the DVD/CD slot so no disk can be loaded. Besides that, it's been heating up really bad lately, it doesn't like flash at all (I have to disable it in the browser anytime I'm not using it), and I've had two unsuccessful attempts at installing RAM over the past year ... worked for a month or two, then started causing Kernel errors.

Anyhow, it's time for something new.

My original thought was to get a Mac Mini. That way I could just transfer all of my programs and files over, hook it up to my monitor, and carry on without too much being different. I'm running TimeMachine backups to 1TB portable drive, so it really would be almost seamless. The major drawback would be price. Even though it's by far the least expensive Mac option, by the time I put what I want on it, it would still cost over $700.

Then I got to thinking ...

Like most people, 99% of what I do on the computer involves the Internet. The exception being photo editing (I'll get to that in a minute). I wonder if I could get by with one of the new Samsung Chromebooks? At only $250, I could replace not only my machine, but also my wife's windows laptop (which is only a year or so newer than the Macbook), for significantly less than the Mac Mini would cost me.

Besides earning some brownie points with my wife, the second biggest advantage to getting Chromebooks is that I could quit paying for stupid anti-virus software subscriptions every year ... since everything is on the browser and in the cloud, the Chromebooks are very secure, and don't need antivirus software. Both of us already have gmail accounts, and I use the Chrome browser almost exclusively, so that part would be an easy transition.

As for potential drawbacks ...

At 11.5", the screen would be a little smaller than Ana is used to, but I think she'd get over it. I have a second monitor, and I can get an HDI to DVI cable to connect it to the Chromebook for less than $10 on Amazon. My only really major concern is photo editing. I shoot RAW images with my Canon dSLR, and process/edit them in Photoshop CS.

I think I can survive though. There are some pretty good options for online photoshop alternatives (I've actually used Aviary and Pixlr). Not sure if shooting RAW and trying to edit purely online would work. But worst case scenario, I'll just have to start shooting RAW+JPEG, and keep the MacBook Pro for (hopefully rare) cases where I really need the RAW image.

Now the only question is, when to pull the trigger and make the order.

And again, do you think I'm crazy?



  1. Hi Todd,
    I will try to help you out on this by commenting, but I'll tell you upfront I'm not very good when it comes to purchasing computers, etc. I'm good at using one but that's about it.
    I just bought a new DELL desktop with about everything I could get on it, but I let the salesman tell me what I NEEDED for what I use it for, LOL. I did buy a larger screen than the one I had and am happy with it. I got a 20" screen on this one. The one I had was a Gateway and it was on it's last leg so to speak. But it was a good one....lasted almost 10 years. I doubt this one will last that long since it seems they are making technology to last only long enough to get you through to the next 2 or 3 years to get a new one.
    I'm still in the learning stage with this DELL since I got Windows 8. The Gateway I had was Windows XP and very easy to use.
    Good luck with what you decide to get. I'm sure you will make the right decisionn since you are a pro with computers, etc.
    Forever friend,

  2. Hi Cille,

    Congratulations on your new computer. After 10 years, you definitely deserve it ... that's an amazing amount of time for it to last btw .. lol, almost like hearing about a 15 or 16 year old dog.

    I would offer to help you out if you have any questions, but unfortunately, I know nothing about Windows 8. :-)