My iMac and ChromeBook just hooked up. And I like it!

chromebook-imac-monitor

“I’m an iMac.”

“And I’m a ChromeBook.”

“What do you say we hook up?”

It’s not a big secret that iMacs are a great desktop investment. Not only are they powerful all-in-one Macs with beautiful integrated displays, but since 2009, they can be used as monitors for other devices. (Hint: Command + F2 enables and disables Target Display Mode on the iMac)

My late-2009 model, 27-inch iMac has a bi-directional Mini DisplayPort jack in the back, so connecting another computer is a snap with the right cable. Newer iMacs use two way Thunderbolt cables not Mini DisplayPort wires. But can my iMac from Cupertino work with the lowly new kid on the block from Mountain View: A browser-based Google ChromeBook?

Indeed it can and this setup is already boosting my productivity. The best part? The 6-foot DisplayPort Male to Mini DisplayPort Male cable only cost me $6.57 on Amazon. That’s a minuscule additional investment for me to get more out of both devices. The iMac now serves as both a powerful Mac for heavy duty computing needs as well as a display for my Samsung ChromeBook 550.

So why would I even bother to do this when I can just use the more capable Mac for everything? As I showed in my first look of the new ChromeBook I bought, there’s something to be said for the simplicity of Google’s ChromeOS that even a Mac user can appreciate: It removes everything about traditional computing save the browser, which is super-speedy. This setup almost has Apple-like qualities, in fact: Simple but fast and effective. Here’s a look at the $450 device if you missed it earlier.


I had been working with the ChromeBook as a traditional laptop, but with so many tabs open there are times when a little more real estate helps. Instead of a 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 display then, I now have a 27-inch palette running at its full 2560 by 1440 resolution. That offers me room to break out my Twitter client and my Rdio control panel for music while also having plenty of space for GTalk chats and my many browser tabs, for example. Text and images generally look a little better too.

Don’t worry, my iMac will still get used as a Mac. When I cut videos, record podcasts or want to tinker in some apps or practice my Python scripting skills, I’ll use my iMac for sure. But while you’d think an iMac and ChromeBook would go together like oil and water, it turns out that less than $7 buys a cheap and happy date for the two devices.

Disclosure: This post was completely written, edited and published on a ChromeBook paired with an iMac as monitor and worlds did not collide.

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