Now on to part 2 of my Chromebook review and how it works best for me.
When I first opened the box my Chromebook came in (via Amazon), I was pleased. Visually it’s not a Macbook Air in terms of style but it’s a nice gray color and it is light! It weighs less than 2 pounds. It’s well made, it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy and it opens and closes snugly. It’s a lot smaller than your average laptop at 11.6 inches corner to corner. But for sitting on the couch or in the bed chilling, it’s a nice size that sits in your lap. And if you gave it to a kid to use, it would be more than adequate. The screen is average and has brightness controls which help. There are decent sounding speakers that get loud enough for you to watch a YouTube video or a movie but obviously you aren’t dealing with something high-end so don’t think you are going to get Beats by Dre type bass.
My Chromebook is made by Acer and comes in 3 variants: 2GB RAM, 4GB RAM, and a 4GB RAM with a touchscreen. The base model (which is what I have) starts at $199. Are you starting to see why these little computers are popular? The price is definitely right.
I’ve had my Chromebook since Christmas and I use it daily. It charges in a little over an hour and I’m able to get 6-7 hours off of a charge. Because Chrome OS is so light, it’s almost an instant on. I open the top and get to doing what I want to do. I’ve gone to the Chrome App Store and downloaded various web apps such as Pocket, Any.DO, Dropbox, TweetDeck, Pandora and Netflix. They have been optimized to run on Chrome, and often they will sync with your phone. The Chrome App Store has various apps and extensions for business, education, games, social media and more.
A Chromebook is not a Windows laptop and as such has a very small hard drive, about 16GB, which is the same storage space as my phone. And of course, you cannot load full fledged programs. So what do you do if you need to be productive? You can use Google Docs, which allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and save them in Microsoft formats. Or you can set up a SkyDrive cloud account and use their Microsoft web apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint for FREE. They are more than adequate for light work or for a student. If push comes to shove, you can actually remote into your Windows PC using Chrome Remote Desktop. Pretty cool huh?
In fact the only major limitations I see with my Chromebook is the ability to upload music (and Google is currently working on a way to sync Chrome OS to Google Play Music) and the ability to upload pictures. I will still need to use my old laptop for that. But even then, there are several photo editors that can be used in Chrome to edit, correct or add filters to the photos you have stored online. And because Chrome is constantly evolving, Google typically puts out updates every 6-8 weeks with new features and functionality.
So those are my impressions of the Chromebook in a nutshell. I think that I made a good choice for my needs and I will be able to use this device for several years. There are several manufacturers to choose from and a few different screen sizes. In fact I typed this whole blog post on my Chromebook.
Here a few links to give you a bit more info:
If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.