Although I really enjoyed my Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, I decided to recently replace it with a 2013 Macbook Air. The reason why I first got the Chromebook was because I wanted something light and cheap to port around to do basic surfing while I was away from the office. Over time, I felt that I needed something that could do more. I bought my Macbook Air as a replacement for my Chromebook and a supplement for my Macbook Pro. I use it as a secondary machine; something that I would be able to use when I’m not at my desk and still feel like I can adequately complete all of the things that I need to do including communicating via Google Hangout, edit documents as well as do some hard core development when needed.
The primary reasons why I ended up replacing my Chromebook was that the Macbook Air was more stable as I found the Chromebook crashing with my particular profile and I had purchased a version with a bi-lingual keyboard (as it was the only one available to me at the time) and it made for typing on the Chromebook much more difficult.
Feels like a real device in comparison to the Chromebook
Admittedly this is rather unfair comparison between the Chromebook ($249) vs my Macbook Air ($1500). You would expect the build quality to be vastly different. However, one way to describe the difference in usage is that the Chromebook is tolerable to use while it’s an absolute pleasure to use my Macbook Air.
It took me a day to set up the Macbook Air for my Rails development
We had recently purchased a Lenovo Yoga 13 for our first developer at WordJack around the same time. While the Lenovo device is definitely a thing of beauty but it took Alexei a week to install Ubuntu, the appropriate drivers to get Ubuntu to leverage all of the Lenovo functionality as well as the appropriate development software. For me, it took me about a day to install Rails and Sublime Text and I was ready to start developing on my machine. One of the really nice things about OS X is that it is very developer friendly
It’s not as performant as my 2011 15″ Macbook Pro
This is not to say that my Macbook Air is lacking but my 2011 Macbook Pro is definitely a beast of a machine even after 2 years. Even given the continual evolution of CPUs, my 2011 Macbook Pro with it’s Quad Core I5 processor, 16 GB of RAM, 2 Hard Drives (1 SSD and 1 Spin drive), it’s still awesome for things like running multiple VMs at the same time. The Macbook Air struggles when it comes to running multiple VMs because of my 8 GB configuration and the 256 GB SSD. However, as a standalone development machine, the Macbook Air performs extremely well.
12 hours of battery life is a lot more useful then I ever thought it would be
I have always argued that I would never need a laptop with 12 hours of battery life. However, I’m loving the extended battery life of my Macbook Air. I usually grab my Macbook Air with me when I’m done for the day. I’m able to continue to work unfettered for the rest of the night. On the off chance that I don’t have my charger with me, I’m less worried about running out of battery while having to use the device.
I don’t really need Microsoft Office
Although I have Microsoft Office installed, I have only used it once to run a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation. While I find myself creating spreadsheets and writing documents, I find that Google Docs is more than adequate for what I need to do in my everyday job.
My overall impressions is that I really enjoy using my Macbook Air. Even at $1500, given the productivity gains I get out of my Macbook Air, it’s very good bang for buck. As for the Chromebook, it’s an excellent device. I’m really eager to see what the new Haskell processors can do for the new generation of Chromebooks.