“Sure, Chromebooks are glorious for schools and other elementary stuff, yet we can’t indeed use ’em for work — can you?”
For context, Chromebooks have indeed played a poignant purpose in my personal life for years. While we use a Windows desktop complement in my bureau during a workday, we rest on a Chromebook for flattering many anything else that isn’t good matched to a phone — after-hours typing, weekend bill-paying, light work divided from my desk, and so on. I’ve taken Chromebooks with me to hoop work while we travel, too, yet it’s been a while — and boy, oh boy, has a lot changed.
One of those things is a now-widespread accessibility of Android apps on Chrome OS. The stream Chromebook we privately possess and many recently trafficked with is a original Chromebook Pixel, and it’s (a) not a automobile device and (b) usually aged adequate that it wasn’t among a inclination upgraded with Google Play Store support progressing this year.
So on a new business outing to Boston, we motionless to take a some-more contemporary Chromebook as my solitary large-screen computing device. No other laptops, no normal tablets, nada — usually a one Chromebook for all we indispensable to do, from a impulse we left my residence to a night of my return.
The Chromebook work experiment: 2017 edition
In sequence to delineate my impressions with a device that could take full advantage of Chrome OS’s stream features, we borrowed an Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA — a $500ish product I’d report as a unequivocally good upper-midrange system. Like a lot of Chromebooks these days, it’s a automobile touchscreen laptop with a 360-hinge that lets we use it in a accumulation of modes, trimming from laptop to entirely flattened slate.
And we know what? For a whole week we was away, including dual prolonged days of multiflight travel, we didn’t once skip my customary desktop setup. In many ways, in fact, we indeed felt like we was better off than we would have been with a normal Windows laptop for my business outing purposes.
Now, many of that is due to a inlet of my job: Most of my work these days is finished in cloud-centric apps like Google Drive, Google Keep, and Gmail. we use a cloud-based calm government complement for edition stories. we use possibly Slack or email for roughly all of my work-based communication. So like many people — and usually like I’ve celebrated myself in a past — a transition from a normal desktop handling complement to Chrome OS doesn’t need many suspicion or composition for me.
In my past Chromebook work experiences, though, there’s always been one whinging asterisk: we spasmodic get papers behind from editors with questions or suggestions finished with Microsoft’s Track Changes system. And while Google Docs has a possess allied “Suggestions” complement that works good adequate in and of itself, blending a dual formats isn’t accurately seamless — generally when a other chairman is awaiting a request behind in a same format they sent.
This time, that wasn’t an issue: Thanks to Android app support on a Chromebook Flip, we could use an app like OfficeSuite Pro to open Word papers in their local format, yet any conversions, and perspective and respond to changes and comments right within Microsoft’s Track Changes system. (I could have also used Microsoft Word itself in a same demeanour — as a Android version, distinct a web-based version, is entirely featured — yet we don’t have or quite wish to squeeze an ongoing subscription for my singular needs.)
The other Chromebook work premonition I’ve always faced revolves around picture editing, and this one unfortunately is still a bit of a bummer. Android has oodles of glorious apps for polishing adult photos, yet there’s usually no good choice for Photoshop-caliber multilayer graphical work. Web apps like Pixlr can get a pursuit finished in a splash yet have remained meaningfully reduction optimal than a full Photoshop knowledge when it comes to my workflow.
So that valid to be a one picturesque obstacle in day-to-day work on a Chromebook for me. we can positively get by with a accessible image-editing options, yet we do skip carrying a full desktop-caliber module in that domain. (Maybe one day…)
Chromebook work conclusions
That gets us behind to a strange question: Can we use a Chromebook for work? Ultimately, as my knowledge illustrates, a answer depends on what kind of work we need to do. If we have specific desktop utilities we need for your pursuit — things yet suitable web- or Android-based equivalents — afterwards no, we won’t be means to effectively use a Chromebook for your work.
(Technically speaking, we could always use a apparatus like Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop to entrance normal desktop module around another mechanism — and that’s a good choice to have in a splash — but realistically, it isn’t something you’re gonna wish to do for extended durations of time on a unchanging basis.)
Increasingly, though, those sorts of needs are some-more a difference than a rule. Most people don’t need a full energy of Photoshop for their jobs. More and some-more business module is accessible in a web or Android version. A Chromebook positively isn’t going to work for everyone, yet it is going to be a viable choice for an awful lot of professionals — now some-more so than ever.
Without a doubt, partial of that is interjection to a participation of Android apps, that positively do redefine a Chromebook’s possibilities and limitations. The Microsoft Office conditions from my possess journey is a ideal instance (and contend what we will, yet copiousness of people have even some-more dire needs for entrance to a full Office module on their work computers). Android apps likewise residence long-standing Chrome OS omissions like a miss of a video-call-capable Skype customer for a web.
But Android apps won’t residence some-more niche needs — like a miss of a entirely featured desktop-caliber picture modifying program, as I’m mostly reminded, or a miss of other platform-specific specialty software. Android apps go a prolonged approach toward stuffing in a gaps for people who were already close to being means to use a Chromebook for work, yet they aren’t a enchanting repair that’s unexpected going to make a height whole for everyone.
For those of us in a former difficulty — or those for whom Chrome OS was already sufficient before — a further of Android apps accomplishes one other thing value mentioning: It opens adult a doorway to some engaging possibilities by permitting we to run formerly mobile-exclusive module on your unchanging laptop. As I’ve pronounced before, the Chromebook is effectively a new Android tablet — and when that same device is also your work computer, we get an appealing arrange of all-in-one knowledge that isn’t probable anywhere else.
During my business trip, for instance, we flipped a Chromebook Flip into a inscription mode and watched cinema and other videos on a atmospheric shade during my flights. we didn’t need to receptacle a apart inscription for such purposes, nor did we have to compensate anything additional to “rent” such calm — given a Netflix and YouTube Android apps, distinct their web-based equivalents, concede we to pin videos to a device for offline viewing. That’s a flattering constrained perk for a laptop.
There are many other such examples, yet we get a idea: There’s something to be pronounced for carrying a device that handles all we need from a impulse we leave a residence to a finish of a day — either you’re going into work, roving for business, or whatever. With a new participation of mobile apps along with all of Chrome OS’s core advantages, a Chromebook can turn a singly versatile work-and-everything-else device for a certain form of user.
For me, with a asterisk of striking modifying options still not being quite where I’d like them to be, that’s positively proven to be a case. we left my residence carrying usually a singular lightweight automobile device in my bag, and that one laptop rubbed all we indispensable — work-specific and differently — and in a approach no normal mechanism or automobile could have.
So, yes: Chromebooks can really be used for work — and many more. The usually doubt we need to answer is whether or not Chrome OS itself is right for you.