There’s an opinion piece over at ZDnet arguing that there’s no good reason to buy a Chromebook. Unsure why I read it in the first place, and really puzzled why I read three pages of entirely predictable comments. But rather than post angrily there I thought I’d post thoughtfully here about why a Chromebook works for me.

Most of what I do online is web browsing, and most of my core tools live in the cloud anyway. I’m an instruction librarian, so it’s not unusual for me to work on two or three borrowed computers a day in classrooms and at the reference desk, in addition to my phone and home and work PCs. For several years I carried a flash drive around with me; now I mostly use websites like Dropbox and Simplenote and Google Drive to pass information back and forth. This means I can do my work from anyplace with an internet connection, which suits me just fine about 80% of the time.

Laptop ergonomics don’t suit me all that well, so I don’t use them unless I need to. Mostly this amounts to when I travel for conferences or meetings. Very occasionally I’ll have an academic writing project or take a class which requires a laptop. It doesn’t make sense for me to spend a thousand dollars on a device I’ll use as little as possible. It does make sense to have an essentially disposable $250 device with decent battery life and a full keyboard which I can set up the way I want. It’s a minimum viable laptop for me, and that suits me just fine. I have other computers I can do my high-end work on. I wouldn’t particularly *want* one device for all my computing. But that’s me. Your mileage may vary.


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Boston area academic librarian and instructional designer. News junkie. Fan of marine mammals, October.