As a busy mom and travel writer I am more tied to technology than I would like to admit. That’s why I need whatever gadget I am willing to invest my money and time into to work harder and smarter for me than any of it’s predecessors. My most recent struggle was the huge backlog of posts I had to write when I returned from a trip. As a travel writer I need to find something that actually let me write while traveling. Imagine that! Thankfully, I may have finally found the solution in Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook.
Previous to owning my new Chromebook I used my iPad tethered to my iPhone. Since my PC laptop is my work computer I never wanted to travel with it lest it get lost or dropped. I have every conceivable app and accessory for the iPad but it just never quite worked well for me. Even with an external keyboard I felt like I was on the plane typing like a T-rex.
Enter Staples and their generous offer to help me find a technology that did work for me while traveling. The answer was the Chromebook that arrived two weeks ago. To sum up what a Chromebook is think half laptop, half tablet and all cloud based services. With a 12.1 inch backlit display I feel like I am typing on a normal keyboard but still enjoying the easy portability I need when traveling. It weighs just 3 pounds and is super easy to throw in a carry on bag while feeling durable enough to get thrown under the seat in front of you without having a bulky cover to protect it. The keys feel nice and give me that feeling that I am actually typing, which I love and miss on a tablet.
WIth only a 16 GB drive I was worried about how I would handle transferring photos while traveling into blog posts. I am already a heavy user of Dropbox and iCloud services and I was just not a fan of having to pay a monthly service to bridge those into Google Drive. I am looking into some techie ways to solve this issue but for now I am just going old school….pulling the photo up on Dropbox, copying it onto my 16 GB hard drive, and uploading to wordpress. This has worked perfectly so far. I am also in the middle of testing a Samsung Galaxy for Verizon and I am thinking this may provide better integration. Already I can tell it takes much better photos than my iPhone 4S. But I digress.
Other than the photos to blog issue, everything else cloud based is a dream. No viruses to worry about and no software to update. This post was written on the fly inside of Google Drive which eliminates the need to awaken the Microsoft Office dinosaur. The Chromebook boots up in less than 15 seconds compared to what felt like 15 minutes on my bogged down laptop. In fact, in the two weeks I have been using the Chromebook, I have not opened my Vaio laptop once. Proving everything I need to do can be done in the cloud.
If you are, like I was, struggling with how to travel with as few gadgets as possible and really need something that does more than lets you play Angry Birds and watch Hulu (which you can also do on a Chromebook) this just may be the answer. Chromebooks range in price from $250 to $500. The model I have, the XE550C22-H01US 3G, comes with 100 MB a month of mobile broadband from Verizon for 2 years which, honestly, is not a lot of data so you may still need to look into tethering if you are out of free wi-fi range often. I have a jet-pack from Verizon I use for such instances. Another downer on this product is the 6 hour battery life. On a long flight you will need a Mophie Juice Pack or something similar to get you through. Even with needing those few accessories, the Samsung 5 500 series Chromebook is the answer for this very busy, tech loving, traveling mom!
Staples provided Wheeling Traveling Mom, Barb Likos a Chromebook for the purpose of reviewing as a travel product.