Yes, we got Bella a new computer and it’s not a Mac. No, I have not apostatized or lost my mind. I am still a dyed-in-the-wool lifelong Apple fanatic and shareholder who always chooses the Apple product. So why a Chromebook?
A couple of simple reasons. First, we’ve been thinking of getting her a computer of some kind for her own. She’s 12 years old now and starting to do work that requires regular access to a computer for writing and other needs. For one thing, her writing ability outstrips her typing ability, meaning her ability to compose something in her mind is far greater than her ability to type it out, so we need voice-to-text typing.
We had her using one of the old iPads we’ve been acquiring secondhand, but the dictation function on the older models is rudimentary. So we’d been thinking we might have to get a newer iPad or figuring out a way to get a used MacBook.
Then Amazon Vine (see the footnote on this post for an explanation) presented the opportunity for an Acer Chromebook for the price of an honest review and the income tax on the fair market value. Plus it would be interesting to see what these Chromebooks are about.
Another reason to go with it was because the local public school district uses them. While we are still homeschooling, we have started to connect with them regarding potential learning disabilities and a Chromebook may allow them to assign some exercises for her easily.
My first impression so far is that I’m not going to give up my Macs any time soon. While Google’s Chrome is a decent basic system, everything is a little bit harder to use. I am happy they have the FamilyLink app on iOS to allow parental control and monitoring, it’s not easy to setup or use. Because Bella is not yet 13, her account is very locked down and I’m left trying to figure out how to do things like let her use particular apps from the Google Play store.
Nevertheless, for under $300 it’s quite impressive for the limited areas of writing, number-crunching, and web surfing.