I bought a Samsung Chromebook for $180 at the beginning of December to see if it would be a good tool for inbound marketers. My assessment: YES!! Particularly if you’re already a Google Apps user.
What is a Chromebook?
Let’s cover a few basics. This laptop device runs the Chrome OS (operating system) — it does NOT run Windows. It runs Google’s Chrome OS (I know I just said this, but this is so revolutionary I find people need to hear it a couple of times.) It also does not have a big hard drive or any hard drive at all. It has a solid-state drive (SSD) with about 9GB of free space.
OK, you’re right, it doesn’t run Windows and it doesn’t run Photoshop. And let me also tell you it won’t meet all your needs. But this is an outstanding laptop when you’re on the go!
A few more specs:
- The screen is 11.6″ diagonal. It’s bright, easy on the eyes and high resolution (1366 x 768).
- The battery lasts 6 hours or more for me.
- The weight is just under 2.5lbs and less than 0.8 inches thick
- Boots in less than 10 seconds
- Automatic updates and security are built in
- Remote desktop connection is built in
- There’s a dual core processor for faster web browsing
This laptop is for the internet-based marketer who is on the go and doesn’t want to deal with security, viruses, Windows, or extra weight. In short, it’s for marketers like you and me!
Important news break! I’m enjoying a HubSpot webinar on my Chromebook!
While I write this, I’m on a HubSpot GoToMeeting webinar. This works great — simply install the Chrome Remote Desktop on your desktop computer, and leave that computer running while out of the office. Then you can connect to your office computer from your Chromebook while you’re out running around. Despite the somewhat dated comments I’ve read on the web about Chromebooks and GTM, it really works great! (Although I wouldn’r even consider hosting a GTM from my Chromebook!)
We were already Google-friendly
Our agency was already using Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Chat, Google+, and Google Drive (with Docs and Spreadsheets), so there were no issues with moving to a Chromebook since all of our working materials were already available online.
We have frequent Google Chats with each other and even conduct our regular agency meetings on Google Hangouts using video. It’s easy to setup and easy for everyone to join. We can even call up our business coach and add him in by phone!
The Chromebook has a built-in web camera and microphone that are perfectly adequate for Hangouts.
All web-based software runs fast on Chromebooks
Chromebooks are built to optimize the web experience, and I find that all our usual web applications run plenty fast on my Chromebook. I’m usually logged in to HubSpot, Gmail, Calendar, and Podio, with another 2-3 tabs open for whatever else I’m working on. Everything runs fast, with no display errors or problems.
Great for travel
My Chromebook fits in my standard black portfolio that I always carry with me, so no extra case is needed. However, when the power cord, headset and wireless mouse are figured in (all musts for coffee shop afficionados), a case designed to carry a small laptop would come in handy.
And Gmail, GDocs, etc can all run in offline mode and sync up to their full-powered online selves next time you hit a wifi connection. So you can continue to be productive on airplanes. . . or you can sit back and enjoy a movie (remember that 9GB of SSD space). My Chromebook also has USB ports, so I can easily pre-load movies I want to watch before I leave home.
What doesn’t work on Chromebooks
There is only one lapse in my Chromebook experience. . . anything that requires a download to run doesn’t natively work on Chromebook at this time. So Go-to-Meeting, Webex, etc can only be run using Remote Desktop; and some tools that require Java to run on your computer won’t work. Anything that runs solely in a web browser works just fine.
Chromebooks are a great tool for inbound marketers
Hey, (almost) everything we do is “in the cloud” already, so why lug around that heavy laptop that takes forever to boot? A Chromebook really can meet all of an inbound marketer’s away-from-the-office needs in a very lightweight package with a full-size keyboard. We might just need to get one of these for each of our team members! (Shhhhhhhh — don’t tell them!)
And speaking of team members, we can manage Chromebook access to our Google and Google-connected accounts directly from Google Apps if a Chromebook gets lost or stolen. Now that’s really cool!
Want some more tips and hacks for inbound marketers? Check out these tips, tricks and hacks gathered from 20 marketing agencies. There are a lot of great ideas here!