I’ve had a bug in my ear lately that I wanted something… different… than the iPad for general home usage and Internet surfing etc.  I sort of wanted a laptop, but just didn’t want to pay the money for one.   I was looking at some budget ultra-books but even those come in around $800+.  There’s the Surface tablets, but the Pros are also $1200+ and the RT just seems like an iPad basically.

I was thinking about the Chromebook, since its a very very small investment, and I’m kind of in love with Chrome.  Sure, there’s the issue of not being able to install software on it, but I doubt I’d be putting Visual Studio on anything unless I made the investment of near $1000 anyway.

Good thing I had $85 in Best Buy Reward Zone gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket!  In the spur of the moment, I decided to just jump in the car and head to the store to grab a new Chromebook!  Best Buy only had 2 models, an Asus and Samsung.  The Samsung was 50 bucks more, and seemed a tiny bit slimmer, but I couldn’t really figure out the benefit of spending the extra 50 bucks.  (The Samsung had smaller hdd space, but it was solid state.)  So I grabbed the Asus for $199 and headed for the door!

What I didn’t realize, until after I booted up the device, was that a Chromebook comes with 2 years of Google Drive 100gb for free!  If you do the math, that’s about $120 bucks in savings.  Coincidentally enough, I was literally going to sign up for that any day now.  If you are considering investing in the monthly cost of additional Google Drive space, you can get yourself a highly discounted Chromebook for an extra 80 bucks!  Or, if you’re like me and had Reward Zone cash burning a hole, you can get a “free” Chromebook and just pay the difference in Tax!!

After realizing that my Chromebook was next to free – my opinion of it shot up greatly.  Initially I was a little underwhelmed and realized (as obvious as this is) that it truly is just Google Chrome in a laptop shell.  You can install “apps” from the Web Store – but most of the time these really are just glorified bookmarks or “flash” games.

Once you can accept that the Chromebook is just that, Chrome, and that its not a laptop you will be a happier user.  Personally, I am a HUGE fan of pretty much everything Google has to offer.  Their cloud services are second to none and having all of that stuff very tightly implemented and integrated into the Chromebook makes it all the more enjoyable.

As a device that is meant simply for surfing the internet, the Google Chromebook is a no-brainer.  You can even get a bit more fancy and start doing some actual coding using a number of cloud/web based coding environments. (Codenvy IDE, etc)  And if you are a bit adventurous – you can do some serious hardware upgrades to the device pretty easily (SSD hard drive, pumped up RAM, etc) as well as install a slightly modified (Chrombookified) version of Ubuntu (Linux) and have an actual complete OS at your fingertips.