Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chromebook: Initial Thoughts

Part 1 to this post was "Chromebook: Will I Buy One?," and yes, I did buy one and so far I love it.

To begin with, how did I buy a Chromebook? I live in Canada and they are not released up here yet. I checked Amazon and Best Buy and neither would ship to Canada so I did some browsing at eBay. After about 2 weeks of searching/following, I bought a Samsung Series 5 3G for ~$350 with shipping; thank you high Canadian Dollar (it has since lowered). Within 10 days it arrived in an oversized boxed filled with camoflauge paper packing.

I love my Chromebook...and my Ikea table

Next, how was the setup process? It was extremely easy! It took less than 10 minutes, I entered my language, connected to the wireless network in my apartment, did a system update, signed into my Google Account and bam, done! Since most of my information is synced, all of my apps, extensions, form information, bookmarks, and theme(s) were present.

The Browser is the Desktop...

What is it like without a desktop? Initially it felt alien, after the first few hours I realized that the Chrome New Tab page is an excellent replacement for the desktop. In general, computer users are spending more time solely in the browser and the need for a desktop is disappearing.

After using the Chromebook for about 4 weeks, I have discovered how important battery life is to me. I am getting ~9 hrs on one charge! Other aspects of the Chromebook that I absolutely love is the weight, chicklet style keyboard, rarely hearing the fan kick in, anti-glare screen, and the fact that the bottom of the Chromebook never feels hot, just warm. I also like the simple folder system and reduced system options which makes finding things extremely easy. I am currently on the developer channel and since the start of this post I have been getting weekly updates; there is now an offline photo editoroffline Gmail, Netflix support, and offline Google Docs (view only); Google realized that the world is not completely online....yet.  

The Worlds Simplest Photo Editor 

The Worlds Simplest File System

On the negative side, sometimes the Chromebook does feel underpowered, there is no Google Earth plugin, certain sites render extremely slow, and I miss having the Home and End keys.

In summary, if you have $500, do most of your work in the cloud, and regret buying that tablet which is impossible to type with, treat yourself to a Chromebook, it is the future!

Note: As you may have guessed, this post was written with a Chromebook. 


  1. I miss the Delete key. It's the only truly unchangeable negative thing I can say about my CR-48 Chromebook (Pilot!). Every other complaint has been addressed by updates.

  2. I miss the delete key a lot but I also realized that Windows keyboards have too many keys.

  3. There's a Scroll to Top/Bottom extension that puts an on-screen semi-transparent button top right, which I find a useful replacement for Home/End keys. Plus the keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl-Alt-arrow (up/down) work fine for this too.

  4. What is the offline photo editor? That is the only thing keeping me from purchasing one for myself. Except for now there is talk of a new series coming out soon so I may be waiting on that.

  5. The offline photo editor is built in and and gets the basic jobs done, I do the rest of it online using Picasa/Google+ web albums. Since owning this Chromebook, I would never be able to go back to a glossy screen or anything with a battery life less than 9 hours. I would probably wait until the second gen, they are supposed to have faster processors; current model chromebooks have problems running some of the games present in the Chrome store. Either way, I highly recommend getting a Chromebook.