ChromeOS is Good (Great with Pixelbook Go)

What started as a basic computing solution has grown into a platform that can handle serious work.

When I moved to the beautiful island of Penang last year, I made a decision that would change the way I approached computing. I wanted to get out of the walled garden of MacOS and simplify my computing experience. Just as I did back in 2013 when I moved to Sabah, I sold and donated most of my belongings, including my MacBook. With a desire for a fresh start, I opted for a minimalistic approach and purchased an HP Chromebook 13 for basic computing. Little did I know that this decision would introduce me to the evolving world of ChromeOS, where getting serious work done and running Linux had become more accessible than ever before.

My first encounter with ChromeOS was back in 2015, with the Samsung Chromebook. At the time, Chromebooks were nothing more than cheap laptops for web browsing, emails, and some web-based word processing. The Samsung Chromebook, with its ARM processor, excelled at running the Chrome browser but little else. I still remember that trying to get it to run Linux was a painful experience. It required entering Developer Mode and some hacks to get it running. Moreover, with every reboot, you would see a warning screen with an option to disable Developer mode just by hitting the space button - which would wipe out everything you had set up back to factory condition.

Fast forward to today, ChromeOS has improved significantly since my last experience. It is now possible to do more than just the basics; you can get some serious work done. ChromeOS has evolved to offer a seamless experience that exceeded my initial expectations. One of the most remarkable improvements I discovered was the integration of Linux. It’s as simple as toggling a switch in the settings. I can easily install development tools, code editors, and remove them once I have no use for them. If anything, ChromeOS is no longer just for basic computing; it has transformed into a versatile productivity tool.

In case you’re wondering, ChromeOS comes with the Debian distribution of Linux.

Adding to the excitement is the integration of Android apps through the Play Store. This means that ChromeOS can now access a vast ecosystem of mobile applications, making it even more versatile. Whether it’s for social media, productivity, or entertainment, the Play Store has it all. This seamless integration allows me to switch effortlessly between web and mobile apps, enhancing my overall computing experience.

While the Chromebook 13 has slightly larger keys, the Pixelbook Go offers one of the best laptop typing experiences.

Because of how usable ChromeOS is, I decided to take the leap and upgrade to the Pixelbook Go. The Pixelbook Go features exceptional build quality (the magnesium body has the same texture as the Nexus 5X), the same fanless design as the Chromebook 13, a great trackpad, is lightweight, and has really, really good speakers. It is the best device for content consumption and productivity on the go. If only Google were still selling it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Pixelbook Go, I highly recommend watching Mr. Mobile’s review.

Posted September 26, 2023