After my last Windows laptop broke down, I decided to take the leap and give Chromebooks a shot. In the perfect environment, the Chromebook seem like a good idea at the time. At least that’s what I thought.
A few weeks of using the Chromebook as my laptop replacement, it appears that Chromebook is still not for me.
No way to access Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Although my Samsung Chromebook came with a 2-year free 100 GB Google Drive storage, I still store old data in my DLink DNS-320 Network Attached Storage (NAS) that’s connected to my router. Till this day, Chrome OS still has no way of accessing a shared drive through a router. Looking at the number of feedbacks requesting for this feature in the Google support forum, it’s obvious that there’s demand for this feature but Google doesn’t seem to be interested to making this happen anytime soon.
This is a big flaw for me and I didn’t expect my Chromebook to have this problem. The only way around this was to use my Nexus 7 tablet to transfer files to and fro from my NAS to my Chromebook (via. USB). I did this for a few months and it was very frustrating.
There is a lack of Chrome apps and those available are just not good enough
In my previous post, I listed a few apps that could replace the applications that I was using on my Windows laptop. While apps like Pixlr Editor does the job, it takes longer for me to edit a photo on Pixlr Editor compared to using Adobe Photoshop in the past because all the processing load is done on an online server before feeding the enhanced image back on my screen.
I was previously sold on the idea of using Google Docs to replace Microsoft Office but in reality, unless your employer makes the bold move of moving everyone to Google Docs, you will still have to create slide decks using Microsoft PowerPoint simply because of the templates and style guides used in your organisation.
Developers also don’t seem very keen to work on Chrome Apps given the fact that it’s more profitable to develop apps for Android and iOS because of the user base.
You really do need the Internet
Although Google is trying very hard to allow apps to function offline, I still require Internet access to accomplish most of my tasks simply because of the lack of capabilities in offline-friendly apps.
There was once I was working remotely in a cafe and their Wi-Fi router broke and there was no Internet access. I stared at my Chromebook for a while and realised that there wasn’t any app in it that was worth opening and dabbling with until the router was fixed. I just closed my Chromebook and read a book instead.
Would I get a Chromebook in future?
I have since sold my Chromebook to someone on the Internet and purchased an Apple Macbook Air. The Macbook Air has similar dimensions to the Chromebook and was much more functional (at 4 times the price, it better!).
If you ask me if I would buy a Chromebook again, I would give it a ‘maybe’ because I still feel that Google is going the right direction of a portable computing device that operates according to whoever is logged in. There’s still a lot of potential in Chrome OS but Google and developers are not maximizing its capabilities because everyone is focused on Android.
Google will have to come with a proposition to either merge Chrome OS with Android or make them complementary one day in order to make Chrome OS viable.
Till then, I’m sticking with my Macbook Air.
Christopher How is a digital marketing specialist helping organisations complement their business strategies with digital marketing techniques since 2006. Currently working in Philips Lighting as Senior Digital Marketing Manager (ASEAN Pacific), Christopher manages the end to end digital marketing from generating leads to converting them into contacts for the sales team. He is also involved in proposing and implementing digital marketing solutions that improve marketing efforts and processes for businesses.