I can’t recall when exactly I got it – I think it was in 2013 – but the Acer Chromebook Model Q1VC I have will not die. Right now, as I type this, I’m on a beach in Trinidad – it has been a staple on trips anywhere. Small, light, and handles things like writing, as I am doing now, email, etc.
And it will not die. It’s dual booted with Linux if I want to get a little dirty in Python or, heaven forbid, PHP. It does just about everything I need it to – it’s scratched cover testament to my increasing abuses.
It’s not a machine I love, though. The right click using Alt is kludgy, the chicklet-style plastic keyboard is springy but hard for me to beat out all the words per minute I would like. It’s tinny internal speakers make Netflix something that requires headphones, and the ChromeOS means I can’t Skype – a throwover from Google’s attempt to break in with Google Groups, and maybe it does by now.
It will not die. And that makes it something special – in an age where technology has become as disposable as our ecosystems, the two tied together around the world by landfills, this simple little machine chugs along. It gets bogged down, it gets grumpy now and then with too many tabs open, but it… keeps going. And that, you see, is something that reviews of technology just don’t cater for.
Lasting. After all, what good is buying something that you have to replace every year? And why is it that, despite having looked at new Chromebooks and so forth, that I have not upgraded? Why don’t reviews say, “This will do you for at least 2 years, maybe more? Simply because we don’t know until enough time passes – we can’t chart what new and improved technologies will make what we purchase an antique. That’s part of the problem.
I recall when it was just geeks that got bragging rights for new tech. The gamers came along, demanding more of their machines, squeezing every last fps out of a system. Mobile phones came out and suddenly it wasn’t necessarily about ability as much as it did about status (Yes, I’m taking to you, iPeople).
But things that last? Like a pair of comfortable shoes, broken in just right, ugly, unfashionable… unfashionable.
I’ll tell you what. My $199 US lasting 4 years is a marvel to me in an age where people spend 3 to 4 times as much to upgrade their phones annually.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to get back to torturing this little device.