Almost mid-way through 2017 if you are still ONLY looking at Windows or Apple computers when you are shopping for a new computing device or upgrade, you are limiting your choices and increasing the complexity.
Take this short quiz (click yes or no) and then keep reading:
If you chose the ‘perfect…’ answer more than twice from the quiz questions, I believe you will be thrilled with what you will learn in this article. Also, keep in mind that if you aren’t the perfect person for this article, someone in your circle of friends or family IS!
What is computing?
I define computing as: using an electronic tool to perform tasks like communication, research, work or as an entertainment option. None of these options need a traditional computer.
Today, a vast majority of computer users spend more than 75% of their time in a browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc). Our Internet connection almost surpasses electricity as our most needed computing accessory. Yes, computers do not need an Internet connection, but an Internet connection does need electricity.
I fall into that category and probably spend closer to 95% of my computing screen time in a browser!
Greater availability of high speed Internet continues to drive innovation and productivity with mobile devices and Internet functionality in general. In turn, this gives us greater choices than ever before!
My business revolves around helping technology users get the most out of their devices and get out of trouble if they need it. I can look anyone in the eye and truthfully say that folks who take my advice and learn to use an iPad or Chromebook are happier and more productive computer users than their Windows/Apple counterparts…and need my services less!
Why? I’ll give you 6 reasons:
- Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) – devices last longer and have almost zero problems.
- Portability – unless you spend $1000+ on a high end laptop, nothing is more portable or has better battery life.
- Increased productivity (easier to accomplish tasks = less time in front of the screen).
- Higher satisfaction (because of the decreased problems and increased safety).
- Safety? Yes! iPads and Chromebooks are far and away safer than their Windows counterparts and even Apple computers.
- Most of us simply do not need the power, expense and maintenance involved in running a traditional computer. (Remember the quiz?)
After I describe the iPad and Chromebook in a little more detail, I will provide you with a handy chart to help guide you towards the right device.
An iPad is a computer. With its availability of thousands of apps (small programs to extend functionality) and an Internet connection, only folks who did not receive a single ‘perfect’ answer in the quiz would find the iPad unworthy. For the rest of us, the iPad can easily replace a laptop or computer. In fact, I have seen computer users who felt intimidated or overwhelmed with traditional computers thrive with an iPad.
An iPad falls into the tablet category of computing devices. Tablets all house a touch screen interface (almost useless on a desktop computer, in my opinion), applications designed specifically for the device (fewer, yet clearer options for easier navigation), faster performance (because of the simpler interface), and outstanding battery life secondary to their more efficient computing methods.
The iPad meets and exceeds all these characteristics AND because of its portable and proprietary operating system (iOS) is extremely secure and almost immune to the attacks that plague Windows computers.
Common gripes regarding iPads include:
- it’s just a large iPhone
- it can only be used for consuming information, not creating it
- it’s too expensive to use to check email or play solitaire
Each of these short-sighted gripes can be addressed by simply learning more about the device. As with any purchase from a pencil to a computer or iPad, the tool is only as useful as the time invested to learn how to use it. Fortunately, compared to a computer, an iPad’s learning curve resembles a speed bump instead of a mountain!
Google created the Chromebook category in 2011. Recognizing that more and more computer users spend most of their time in a browser, Google set out to base an entire computer system inside their browser, Google Chrome (thus the name Chromebook). Initially, Chromebooks were offered by just a couple of manufacturers, but today every major computer manufacturer (except Apple) makes at least one Chromebook (laptop format).
If you prefer a desktop format and want to hook your 24″ monitor to a computer, then checkout the Chromebox.
Chromebooks can run without an Internet connection (contrary to popular gripes). However, it definitely shows off with an Internet connection. Google named their operating system ChromeOS and like Apple’s iOS for the iPad, it resists the problems so common to mainstream computers today. In fact, the Chromebook or Chromebox might be considered the safest computing device to use today.
Common gripes regarding Chromebooks or Chromebox:
- it’s too underpowered
- it’s only good for email or searching the web
- it’s expensive compared to cheap Windows laptops
- I don’t like Google
Each of these short-sighted gripes can be addressed by simply learning more about the device. As with any purchase from a pencil to a car, the tool is only as useful as the time invested to learn how to use it. Fortunately, compared to a computer, a Chromebook’s learning curve resembles a pebble instead of a boulder! (Yes, I copy and pasted from the above section because the same answer applies…good catch!)
Compare and Contrast Chromebook vs. iPad
|Internet (search, Facebook, banking, news, games, etc)||Yes||Yes|
|Word Processing and Spreadsheets (compatible with Microsoft Office)||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Photography and Storage||Yes||Yes|
|Physical Keyboard||No (if needed, I recommend Logitech keyboards)||Yes|
|Touchscreen||Yes||Some models only|
|Yes – current best iPad compatible printer is this HP Wireless model||Yes – current best Chromebook compatible printer is this HP Wireless model|
When these types of devices started to hit the market, it thrilled me to see the power, flexibility and ease of use that could be engineered into them…and at a fraction of “normal” computer’s cost. My goal has always been to use computers to do everyday tasks better with minimum effort. Traditional computers too often fail at that…especially for beginner computer users or those who don’t have enough time to devote to learning every nuance. These types of computing devices offer a much shorter learning period combined with enhanced output capabilities relative to that short learning curve.
Today, Microsoft and computer manufacturers are resorting to lowering the price of desktop and laptop computers to compete with these machines. However, just because the price of Windows computers have dropped doesn’t mean you should get one.
Yes, Windows computers are more capable machines, but do YOU need that extra power (and upkeep) for what YOU do?
Not only do I use and benefit from these newer computing devices, but also many of my friends, family and clients happily and productively use these devices, trouble free! The key is to really figure out what you need to do with a computer (again, the purpose of the simple quiz) and then decide what type of computing device is right for you…I’m willing to bet one of these devices will fill the bill nicely!
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