Topic: Macbook vs. Chromebook?

Hello moustachio’d ones. I’d love some advice on wise computer buying practice…

Computers aren’t really buy it for life kinds of acquisitions, unfortunately…

I recently started a new job in which I will be able (and possibly required) to occasionally work from home. Awesome! Except that I am not issued a laptop as I had hoped I would be. My home computer is a Macbook from 2010 that I’ve been stringing along for a few years. It’s updated to its fullest RAM and software capacity and clean for a 7 year old machine, but still running too slowly for me to be able to work from it effectively. Lovely for MMM web surfing, but once I get into actual work, no bueno.

My new job primarily uses google docs, and for the occasional and less in-depth work I’d be doing from home, I’m thinking a chromebook might be sufficient.

Anyone have experience with a chromebook? My options are to plonk real $ into a new Macbook (oh how I want to…but frugality!), purchase a used macbook, or just buy a $199 chromebook (or even a used one?).


I’ve been really happy with my macbook for the last 7 years. I was really hoping to make it to a solid 10, but that might not happen given the new job. I like the reliability of the mac machines, but then again, I like the idea of being able to delay the purchase of a new “real” computer by a few more years. I use a mac desktop at work, no real interest in moving to a windows or linux platform, though I might be persuadable if anyone has good suggestions on that front.


I’m surprised, to be honest, that you can’t get ‘good enough’ performance out of Google docs with the machine you have now. Have you tried giving it the old ‘factory reset’ to breathe some new life into it?

Personally, I’d go the used Mac over a Chromebook but I suppose I could be accused of being a “mac fanboy” because I am deep in their ecosystem. Depending on what work you need to do, you might almost get away with using an iPad and keyboard.

A new $500 laptop could handle that task well, really.

If you only need Google Docs a Chromebook would be perfect for the task.

You could install Debian Linux on your old Mac if it’s getting too slow and make it last even longer, when properly optimized Debian is crazy fast.

I’ll give you another solution. Turn your old mac into a chromebook!

Ok, so you can’t install the official ChromeOS just like that, but because it is open source, another company, Neverware has taken ChromeOS and built their own practically similar OS called CloudReady. The only thing a Chromebook has over ChromeOS is the Google Play Store, which I don’t think you need. Here is a link and article to get set up:

I had around a 7 year old laptop (Windows 8) which was super slow, and put this on it, and it runs pretty decent now.

I would at least try running it off a USB first on your mac and then possibly put it on. That way you can:

  1. See if ChromeOS can even do everything you need it to
  2. See if you even need to buy a new computer after all. ChromeOS may make your older laptop run a lot better!

Hope this helps, good luck with the decision!