Review: Google's $199 Laptop Is a Champ
The days of the $999 or $2,799 MacBook Air/Pro are soooo 2012. In the interest of "fairness" and "a balanced approach", the government will now claim tens of thousands of your hard-earned dollars, cutting into your discretionary income. Your trips to the Apple (AAPL) store and the Microsoft (MSFT) store will soon be as much a memory as Tsar Nicholas II's trips to the St. Petersburg Winter Palace after Lenin's 1917 power grab.
But do not despair! There's still a small plot of a private garden that can keep you alive even after the government takeover of the rest of your private property. In the laptop world, this is called the Acer Chromebook C7, aka the $199 Google (GOOG) laptop, which went on sale earlier this week.
Software: It Doesn't Get Any SimplerThe Acer C7 runs Chrome OS, of course, so you know what this means in terms of setting it up: It takes less than one minute. Gone are the days when you have to spend the better part of a long weekend to fully set up your new PC so that it looks just like your previous one. One minute vs. one weekend? I think I just added 1% to this quarter's GDP in terms of personal productivity. At this pace, Google's $199 Chromebook may even solve half the fiscal cliff.
So why would you choose a Chromebook instead of a "regular" laptop? The Google laptop is for you if this is what you do:
1. Gmail or private-labeled Gmail, which is what many companies have started to do.
2. Google Docs. This is a must. This is your equivalent of Microsoft Office.
3. Web surfing. Duh! But I would argue that the Web surfing experience on a Chromebook is at least equal to that of any other Mac or Windows.
4. Google Talk, Google Voice: For communications.
I don't know about you, but this is pretty much 99% or 100% of what I do on a laptop. For my portable entertainment needs, I have an Apple iPad, among other things. The Apple iPad and the Google Chromebook complement each other like a latte and a croissant -- except one is a lot less expensive than the other, in this case.
Obviously, you also get the other advantages of every Chrome OS PC: Security, automatic backup, automatic updates, multi-user ease of use, fast boot-up and shutdown.