Mac vs. Windows? Meh. It’s different strokes for different folks but OS X (and, soon, macOS Sierra) has enough different going for it to make the platform plausible more useful and less tricking to use than Windows. What about Linux?
Tried. Them. All.
Well, mostly. There are so many Linux distros out there with few differences between them that it’s no longer an adventure to find an try a new one. openSUSE and Ubuntu stand up as the most pleasant on the desktop, but there are others, and that’s much the problem with Linux. Not much is standard except the kernel.
Another one that stands out is Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Yes, Chrome OS is based on Linux, as is Android, but aimed more at connecting to Google in the cloud than it is a traditional Mac or Windows notebook.
Kirk McElhearn seems to like an inexpensive Lenovo N22 Chromebook, which is exactly the same model we have two or three of floating around the IT department here. Why get a Chromebook vs. a Mac or Windows PC notebook?
In my work, I use a lot of apps: text editors, layout apps, image editing programs, and more. But 90 percent of people don’t use these types of apps; they use simple productivity apps, a web browser, and spend more time on email, Facebook, and Twitter than I do in, say, iTunes.
That may be true for a chunk of the great unwashed masses but misses the whole point of why we humans choose what we choose to use.
Any $10,000 car with a motor and four wheels can get you from point A to point B, so why bother to spend $30,000 on a fully loaded Accord or Camry?
ChromeOS is based on Google’s Chrome web browser, and you can install extensions to the browser, as well as apps, but you can also do all your tasks on the web. With a bonus of 100GB storage on Google Drive for two years, this Chromebook lets you handle documents (Google Docs, Sheets, etc.), send and receive email (Gmail), store and manage photos (Google Photos), and much more. (And you can install plenty of other apps from the Chrome Store.)
Have you tried Google Docs, Sheets, et al? Have you tried to manage Google Photos? Or, tried to play music on such a device? It’s not fun. It’s limited. Just as a $10,000 entry level Kia would be vs. a well endowed Accord or Camry.
I was prepared to be underwhelmed, but I wasn’t. I found this device to be responsive and easy to use, with a decent keyboard and trackpad. It has a 1.6GHz processor (with burst mode up to 2.48GHz), and, while it only sports 2GB of RAM, it’s sufficient for the tasks it carries out. Its video—Intel HD Graphics 400—is sufficient for the device, and it has 32GB onboard storage, which you can increase by adding an SD card. It has fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi and two USB ports. If only it had a better display; it’s non-retina, and I’m spoiled by the quality of Apple’s displays.
Expectations are an important ingredient in moving backwards in time. The good old days were not always that good (2016 presidential politics aside; at least it’s more entertaining this year).
Here’s the killer:
If you put things in perspective, this cheap computer, while not having the design or display of an Apple product, is capable of doing all the tasks that the majority of people need.
No. It’s. Not.
A Chromebook of any measure is not capable of doing all the tasks that the majority of people need because there’s no standard for what people need vs. what they want or what they’re willing to tolerate to obtain a low price. McElhearn states he could recommend a Chromebook vs. a Mac notebook (he still calls them laptops; how quaint) to people who don’t need anything more than email, web browsing, and Facebook. That’s all well and good until you want to do anything else. Getting from Point A to Point B is a good example of different strokes for different folks which might explain why Motor Trend and Car and Driver don’t bother to compare the performance of a Lexus GF S or BMW 7 Series with a Kia Forte5 or a Jiangnan TT.
They are not comparable.
Worse, McElhearn writes for Macworld. Which should be about the Mac. Why would I be interested in an article about electric hover boards in Motor Trend or Car and Driver? Remember, with Chromebooks, Chrome OS, and Android OS (mostly copied from Apple’s iPhone), Google has created an inexpensive playground of the lowest common denominator in an effort to segregate personal privacy, personal information from the person in an effort to boost profits.
It other words, you do get what you pay for, but sometimes less.