Recently, my trusty old Macbook breathed its’ last breath. It had been coming for a long time as it got slower and more glitchy, but it was still a blow!
For one thing, I really loved that Macbook: I’d bought it back when I graduated university and had started working full time, so it was one of the first big things I ever bought for myself. And for another, Macbooks are crazy expensive, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fork out £1000 for a new one. It was around Christmas, so I knew I would struggle to scrape together as much as £200 for a new laptop.
But I had no option but to replace it somehow (I don’t have any other computer), even if it meant getting a laptop on finance. Even on monthly payments, anything as expensive as a Macbook was out of the question, so this led to a whole lot of researching and looking up various types of laptop to try and find an inexpensive one that suited my needs.
Since I mainly use my laptop for blogging and writing, I came up with a short list of requirements:
- Quick web surfing.
- A decent word processor.
- Able to connect my camera to upload photos.
- Access to photo editing software/apps/programs as well as something capable of making collages and graphics.
- Access to basic social media apps.
- It had to be inexpensive.
Armed with this list, I began looking up reviews, researching different options and browsing around tech stores to see what I liked. And the first and biggest question I came across was:
Apple, Windows or Google Chromebook?
One of the biggest questions when getting a new laptop is what operating system you want it to run on: Apple’s IOS, Windows, or the fairly new Google Chromebook.
As I said, I previously had a Macbook, which I mainly chose because I’ve generally disliked the Windows operating system ever since they changed from Windows XP (yes, I’m that old!). And I loved my Macbook so much! It was perfect for all my blogging needs and pretty much everything I ever wanted to do on it…but they’re just so expensive to buy! So I think Apple is a great option if you can afford it.
Windows is a great option too, and by far the most popular, but personally, I just don’t like the layout of the most recent iterations of it. That’s why I started to look into the third, and fairly recent option: Google Chromebooks.
It took some researching for me to actually get to the bottom of what a Chromebook was and how it differed from other laptops. In simple terms, it’s a laptop computer that runs on Chrome OS, making it a mostly internet dependent laptop. It doesn’t have a huge amount of memory, because pretty much everything is saved online through Google applications like Google Drive.
This makes surfing the internet super quick, because the laptop isn’t bogged down by having a full memory, but it also means it’s limiting as to what you can do without access to the internet. So there’s pros and cons, but for a blogging laptop, I think it’s a great option, because being able to blog requires an internet connection anyway, and the faster the internet works, the better!
So as you can probably guess from me going on and on about Chromebooks, that’s what I went with! I managed to snap up a great deal on a Lenovo Chromebook for under £200, and I’ve now had it for around 4 months, and it’s perfect!
It does everything I want and more, and now I’m an android phone user instead of an Iphone user, I can sync it up with my phone which is another plus.
The programmes I use are:
As you’d imagine, the internet browser on a Chromebook is Google Chrome, so that’s what I use for general internet browsing, and of course blogging.
I now use Google Docs as my primary word processor, and it works just fine. It’s nice and simple, syncs to my Google Drive automatically, and it also saves automatically, so it’s impossible to really lose anything.
I feel like this was one place I had to compromise with my fiction writing though, as I’d been using Scrivener on my Macbook, and absolutely adored it. However, there isn’t currently a version of Scrivener for Chromebooks, and probably won’t be any time soon, so I’ll be sticking with Google Docs. But it’s perfectly functional, so I can’t complain!
I keep track of my writing word counts etc. using Google Sheets (yes, I’m a spreadsheet person!). Much like Google Docs, it’s just Google’s equivalent of a Microsoft Office programme, in this case Excel, and it’s nice and easy to use.
Since Chromebooks give you access to the android Google Play Store, you can get pretty much any app you can get on an android phone for it. So I have all the classic apps I use on my phone, like Evernote and Outlook, not to mention all my social media apps like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Pixlr and Canva (Online)
The one place I struggled with my new Chromebook was finding a good photo editing app or software. Most of the ones I tried were clearly more for use on a phone, and so was quite unwieldy to use on a laptop, and didn’t always have all the options I wanted, especially for making book cover collages.
The best photo editing app I found, and the one I’m currently using is Pixlr, as it seemed to have most of the features that I used back in Photoshop on my old Macbook, even if it is more limited (which it’s going to be, as a free app, rather than a super expensive piece of software like Photoshop!).
And for collages and graphics I now use the Canva website (I find the app kind of hard to use!), and that’s been working well for me so far.
In short, my new laptop is great for blogging and writing, which is the main things I intend to use it for. It met every requirement on my list, including being incredibly inexpensive, and so far I’ve been loving it.
But it’s really up to you what you prioritise in a blogging laptop, and I know a lot of people are die-hard Apple fans, who wouldn’t consider using anything else (I was like that…until I couldn’t afford to be!). Meanwhile other people have probably been using Windows all their life and love it, in which case they probably have the widest number of options open to them.
I think it pays to shop around though, look up reviews and do your research, as a good laptop (or desktop) is essential for blogging!
So what computer do you use for blogging? What are your requirements when it comes to a blogging laptop or computer?