Life in The Cloud with a Google Chromebook 550

by Matthew O'Brien on March 4, 2013

One thing about getting a Chromebook is that if you are not 100% in the cloud, it will push you into this direction to get the full benefit of a cloud-based device like this one.

The Chromebook 550 is fast with a dual-core Intel Celeron_867 processor running at 1.3GHz with 4 GB of RAM. Other specification include a 16-GB solid state drive (SSD) and a 12.85-inch screen, an HD camera, two USB 2.0 ports, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-FI, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, and a port for  external monitors.

Here are the top reasons why I like it and sometimes struggle with the Chromebook:


  1. Keyboards Over Touchscreens – The good old-fashioned keyboard is far more effective for computer work than a touch-screen…as I type this blog posts. Having hot-keys and the CTRL/ALT functionality makes it feel like a regular computer.
  2. Fully-functional Extension of Nexus Phone – Apps and Google tools are all here (just about) making this computer behave like my phone with the benefit of a computer (Google powered). Seamlessly going from your phone, to a tablet and to a computer with all the same functionality, apps and Google tools makes for seamless functionality moving from device to device.
  3. Cloud Storage and Hard Drive – This device will force you to explore all the cloud based apps and storage options so that it operates as close to your laptop or desktop as possible. For me this is a constant work in progress but since this is where the future of computing is headed, might as well progress in this direction.
  4. Chrome OS – This is one fast machine from the second you open up the display to navigating from one app to another. I have heard of speed complaints with the Chromebook 300 Series but this unit runs as fast, and sometimes faster, than my MacBook Pro.
  5. Utility Computer – It is great to have a spare computer for taking on the road (3 lbs.), meetings at the coffeehouse, one-on-one presentations and for when you may need to share your computer. I stopped lugging around my MacBook Pro and have found the Chromebook is a good travel companion.
  6. Battery Life – You can go just about all day (6 hours) on one charge…impressive!


  1. Cloud Limitations – I use Drive for storage but I am not 100% comfortable with this process. I also use Box for my business (client content) and although they both function fine, I miss the desktop search and functionality you get with a Mac (and a PC).
  2. It is not a Mac – If you have a Mac, the functionality and user experience if far from what you know. I am not longer a PC users but from sharing my Chromebook with PC users, the usability reviews are positive.
  3. Price – The series 550 at $450 is a bit expensive but as a Google Apps user, you can lease this computer for about $30/month and you can turn them in any time for a new device or just quit the lease. Chromebook Pixel is now an upgrade option at $1,200 (ouch).

If you are looking for a light companion to your laptop computer, Chromebook is the way to go. If you are an iPhone or iPad user, you will get to experience Google Tools in its full glory but you may not appreciate it like you do with your less utility-like Apple devices (especially a MacBook Air). Android users will be more inclined to embrace this computer and its capabilities but Chrome OS does take a little getting used to.

I do like to take a lot of photos of clouds, so I will end this post with one of my favorites!

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