This Chromebook Business Needs To Get Better

Spent the better part of the day trying to “get shit done” on my brand spanking new Samsung Chromebook Plus. I came to this from the Asus Chromebook Flip AND a Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 in the hopes that this was the device that would allow me to ditch those two and replace them with one.

Despite the rumors, Chromebook is not there yet, my friends.

It would be easy to write about the deficiencies of the tech I’m trying to utilize here, but instead, I’m going to approach this criticism from the perspective of the device I suspect IS indeed the answer to my prayers – the Microsoft Surface Book. Also, the device I want to avoid like the plague – ANY display-centric Wacom device. Did I say “like the plague”? I meant the iPad Pro with Pencil. Fine, my criteria are further detailed below.

  1. Drawing – I bought the Chromebook Plus and Note 12.2 for the stylus, yo. I feel like no one is saying this: the software is just not there. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is not “Photoshop for Android” or “Painter for Android”. Nor is Painter for Android for that matter). At the end of the day, if you want to avoid IOS and use a pressure-sensitive stylus, Windows (with all its perils) IS the way to go. Book delivers here.
  2. Google Drive Access – Like it or not (but I do), Google Drive is the de facto Cloud storage. For me, for my collaborators, for life. ANY Windows device will be better than a Chrome device in this regard, assuming you can create a profile connected to your Google account.
  3. Software – Yes, I want high-end art-making capabilities, but let’s face it: even the most basic image editing apps on mobile or otherwise PALE in comparison to what you can get on the desktop. Photoshop might be overkill for most situations, but it’s also EXACTLY the right tool for most of them. Desktop wins here too.
  4. File management – Try as ChromeOS might, it’s a long way from bridging the gap in terms of accessing files in the same way as a desktop OS. Chromebook users need only install an Android app and attempt to open a file from the Chrome file system. Whomp WHOMP! It SUCKS. I know the app creators are MOSTLY to blame here, but why deliver on an empty promise? I love open and I love devs, but, guess what, the ship sailed without all ticket holders on board! Lose-lose-lose…

Don’t get me wrong – I fully understand the perils of owning yet another Windows machine. I fucking SHUDDER at the idea of adding another Windows device to my growing pile of sad, not-fully-supported and quick-to-grow-obsolete machines. It literally is a pile.

That said, if I could add a device that is EXACTLY what I need for the span of two years, that’s kind of tempting.

  • The Surface Book comes in i5 and i7 flavors (at a price). That’s pretty future-proof for 2-in-1 devices.
  • 8 GB RAM standard with the option of more. Again, pretty darned of future-proof.
  • I wish it was USB Type-C compatible. It’s not and that feels old and cranky.
  • Add Google Drive and what are you really missing?
  • Yeah, you need an Adobe account for full creative license. Not everyone’s bag, but work pays for mine, so YAY. That said, $10 a month for Photoshop is powerful. Or Autodesk. Or other paid software.

I want to say, “Buy the best Chromebook today and you’ll be a happy camper in the next year”, but I just can’t. Buy and pray is a shitty strategy.

What will I be buying? I’m actually waiting to see how pricing compares on the Samsung Book Windows devices that were announced last month. I think they hold a lot of promise and check ALL the boxes in my list.