I am a person who normally relies on several computers at a time on a daily basis to get stuff done. I recently decided to try an experiment to see if I can use a Chromebook as my daily driver and I am actually not regretting it. I have been critical of ChromeOS in the past, even to the point that I wrote a scathing blog post a few months ago pointing out that major parts of ChromeOS are simply half-baked and had several short-comings. I still stand by that post however in the months since posting it, ChromeOS has evolved a bit, allow me to explain.
Before reading this post, it is best to read my original rant as it is referenced several times in this post – https://kmyers.me/blog/android/the-shortcomings-of-chromeos-in-2017/
When I initially wrote my rant on the short-comings of ChromeOS, I was using one of the latest and greatest Chromebooks available at the time – the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a great Chromebook but sadly the 32 GB of storage really holds it back as ChromeOS cannot take advantage of the MicroSD card. I have since switched over to the Pixelbook and my eyes have been opened to see the true power of ChromeOS. I am not saying that the Samsung Chromebook Plus is a bad device, it just cannot keep up with power users. As my new Pixelbook has plenty of storage (256 GB), half-baked implementation of ChromeOS’s SD card support no longer impacts me as I now have plenty of space to download YouTube, Google Play Movies, Amazon Prime Videos and Netflix for offline viewing.
Android on ChromeOS is still a bit half baked but has gotten significantly better then it was when I first posted my rant. Google has indeed moved from Android 6.0.0 to 7.1.1 so things such as resizing windows work. I would not advise replacing your Android Tablet with a ChromeOS device yet – if you are counting on it running Android Applications. Sadly things like running Android Applications in split screen in Tablet Mode are still broken. I really don’t think that I will personally be using the Pixelbook in tablet mode too often so this does not impact me.
The largest part of my rant had to do with VPNs. ChromeOS’s VPN support is a bit of a clunky joke and the fact that VPN clients in Android would not route ChromeOS’s traffic did not help the situation. There is however a simple solution that is not documented anywhere that I stumbled across to fix it (Instructions). I hope this becomes enabled by default in the future.
I will post a detailed review of the Pixelbook in the future.