I get the question quite often. It comes in multiple forms; some inquisitive, some derogatory, some genuine, some not. “Why do you use a Chromebook?” It’s a fair question, I suppose, and one that has a variety of answers that reflect the multi-faceted experience of using any given operating system. Many times, the choice of operating system we select comes down to price, prior experience, or simply convenience. What you use growing up, what you have access to right now, and what you can or cannot afford all attribute to the OS you are reading this on right now.
While this isn’t an article aimed at answering all the reasons I use a Chromebook (hopefully those things are evident in the content I produce here at Chrome Unboxed on a daily basis), I will say that an early love and appreciation for web-based, cloud-powered software was a big factor. But you can utilize those types of tools on a Windows or Mac OS device, too, so that isn’t the only reason I made the switch when I did.
For me, the path was odd to say the least. When I made the move to utilizing Chromebooks full time, I was in a place in my life where I could afford whatever I needed for work. I bought a few Macbooks and many Windows laptops, but deep-down I was a product of lifelong Windows reliance from early elementary through college and into my professional life. As I said earlier, sometimes our reliance on what has always worked prior drives our decision more than what is the best tool for the way we like to compute. I wasn’t really looking for another alternative until Chrome OS showed up and piqued my interest as a way to do the things I do, but differently.
A big factor for me was the idea of something new, light, fresh, and free from all the legacy junk that made me hate my Windows laptops. I wanted to be free of odd settings, long setup processes, and clunky UI that comes from years and years of adding new features while staying beholden to all the old features you simply can’t let go of. At the time I switched, Android and iOS were taking the world by storm and their simpler, more-focused approach to getting stuff done was so attractive that Chrome OS and its simple, straightforward, web-focused way of doing things made me genuinely take interest in a laptop again.
And I was reminded of all this just yesterday. We now have a Surface Go in the office for keeping up with all the new, fun things the Chromium-based Edge browser is doing. We want to be able to keep track of those developments as this new version of Edge is powered by the same engine that powers Chrome and the time invested in making it better will also serve to make Chrome better by extension.
When the used Surface Go arrived, I got it out of the box, plugged it in, and set about to get the device fully wiped and restored. The previous owner likely removed their files but didn’t fully wipe the OS partition, so I wanted to be sure we were starting from scratch. For fun, I set the timer and we went about our business until the Surface had cleared its storage, installed a fresh version of Windows 10, and was actually ready for me to sign in. This took 55 minutes. Then, going through the setup process and actually getting up and running took another 25. Nearly an hour and a half later, I was ready to use the device.
Let’s contrast that with a Power Wash on a Chromebook. Regardless of whether you go through the settings menu or go with the keyboard shortcut from the lock screen, the entire process takes about 52 seconds. I just timed it. Then, logging in and getting set up with everything ready to actually use took another 2 minutes and 14 seconds. All told, I went from an old setup to a fresh, logged-in session in only three and a half minutes. That means I could factory reset 22 Chromebooks back-to-back in the time it took to do this same process on one Windows machine.
Is this the only reason I love Chromebooks? Of course not. But it is indicative of what makes these machines such a breath of fresh air to users who’ve been in the Windows or Mac OS worlds for so many years. There is a lightness and speed to a Chromebook that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else, but there’s also a growing ability to do all the things you need as well. I’ve been transitioned completely to Chrome OS for years now, and every time I spend any significant time on any other OS, I’m subtly reminded of why I love Chrome OS, why I’m passionate about using it, and why I love what we do here at Chrome Unboxed.