I've been an Android user since the G1 came out and have also been contemplating buying a Chromebook for some time, given how easy it's become to find WiFi, how much the Google ecosystem has matured and, frankly, Windows 8.
Today, the decision was made for me when the graphics card/motherboard on my Windows 7 laptop from 2010 cashed in its chips. Rather than pay to repair it or force myself to use Windows 8, I've ordered the HP 14" Chromebook for delivery the day after tomorrow.
Although I have several Nexus devices, I want to still use a notebook at home for a bigger display and a physical keyboard for typing longer texts. Since I don't do any gaming, heavy video or photo editing, etc., I think the Chromebook will be a good fit for me in lieu of a conventional notebook.
That brings me to a few questions that I hope you can help me with:
1.) My music was already uploaded to Google Music, but I regularly backed up a large number of photos, videos, and emails ( from various POP accounts) to an external hard drive. What's the best way (or is there a way?) to import these onto the Chromebook from the Windows backup and view them there? I assume the photos/videos aren't an issue, but emails?
2.) Is there anything else I'm not thinking of? :-)
Which 14" HP Chromebook? (The naming scheme is nuts!) There are two 14" HP Chromebooks: the 2012 HP Pavillion Chromebook and the 2013 HP Chromebook 14. Summary: Answering your question and random advice from a Chrome OS user. Answering Question #1:
I believe that both have only 16GB of storage - the expectation is that you'll use Google Drive, or some external storage to store files. (And online video/music/photo viewers/editors, and so on.)
There is a caution to this as well: (Since you mentioned importing) Anything that is in the local storage/Downloads folder will be deleted and purged if Chrome OS deems it necessary. (If files have been synced to Google Drive or is on external storage you should be OK.)
That being said, most file formats for video, music, and pictures are supported, though I don't think the emails will be viewable if they're stored in some mailbox format. (Plain text might work.)
See here about file formats/external storage:
Answering Question #2: (Random thoughts on stuff to know about/do)
Use Chrome Sync: If your bookmarks/settings/extensions/etc. are synced, then you'll be fine, even if your Chromebook decides it's time to Powerwash/factory reset or reclaim local storage. (And provided that files are not stored locally.)
Also, don't forget to redeem the Goodies! Just make sure that you want the 2 years of 100GB attached to a particular account, and you're good:
If you have the 2013 HP Chromebook, you may also be able to redeem a small amount of cellular data (200MB/month) with T-Mobile for free for at least 2 years. This can be a lifesaver.
Set up Offline in Keep, Drive, Calendar, Play Books, Kindle Cloud Reader, Pocket, and Gmail for those times when you have to be away from a computer. (They need the Chrome Apps installed to do that.)
Install the Hangouts extension, Chromecast extension, and other Google extensions for a good experience, as well as any from other services you use. (i.e AdBlock, Evernote, Pocket)
The Quickoffice extension (built-in, unless you feel like beta, which is downloadable) will let you view/edit Word/Excel/PowerPoint files in a pinch and Offline, but it's basic and you have to remember to save. (That shows how much I use Google Drive. )
There are some great cloud office suites:
---> Built In, with shortcuts for the first four pre-installed, you can install Forms/Drawings shortcuts yourself. The current leader, with collaboration, sharing, versioning, a good amount of features and Google integration.
Microsoft SkyDrive (Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote Web App)
---> Pretty good, if sometimes basic or laggy. Has the ribbon interface if that's your thing. Sharing is there, but I've never used it. Also, you have to remember to save.
Apple Pages/Numbers/Keynote for iCloud Beta
---> OK, though beta-y, as labeled. Can be slow, and is a tad lacking of features, but has Apple's spin on presentations, page layout, their user interface, and lets you work with Mac/iOS files. Has basic sharing. Again, you have to remember to save.
You should also note that Chrome OS recovery needs a spare computer and flash drive.
If you have any other questions, or comments, I'm more than happy to respond, as are many other Chrome OS users, both here and in Chromebook Central.
Last edited by XBIRDIE98; 11-03-2013 at 08:51 PM.
Reason: Note about Recovery needing second computer
Thanks for the input - that will go a long way toward getting me started when it arrives tomorrow. I may just upload everything into Google Drive and give up old emails as lost, which isn't the end of the world, and well worth leaving virus software/defragging/registry cleaning/windows update etc. in the past!
It sounds like you are the kind of person who can live in the cloud, and I would definitely recommend checking out Chromebook Central and giving feedback there about your experience - the Chrome OS team loves to hear about people going cloud-only.
(I love Chrome OS, but a lot of people find it unbearable because they didn't do any research; you don't seem that way, but I feel that it's important to know the drawbacks before making big shifts in your computing life. As a developer type, I've found the Chromebook is mostly a secondary device, though I might reconsider that if I was using a Pixel.)
I have two final cautions:
First, that Chromebooks are still not completely intended as the sole computer in a household, with the Recovery considerations. (If you get forced into recovery mode, you'll have to borrow a friend's computer/working Chromebook and a flash drive > 4GB. That may or may not be a problem.)
My second caution is that Drive may eventually incur a cost. ($60 after the two years are up using current rates)
Otherwise, It looks like you are the perfect person for a Chromebook, going on what I have. Best of luck on the new computer!
(If that should run out, feel free to ask more questions. )
Well, I picked up the Chromebook today from UPS (and the Nexus 5 at the same time, haha). I'm typing this reply on it and so far, everything is as I had already researched and expected. Since I'm already a heavy Google user across multiple devices, this isn't quite the culture shock that it would be for many people. I already signed up, too, for the 100 free GB on Google Drive.
I'm sure I'll come across some quirks and questions over the next several days, so I may check back for some help here. I still have to use a Windows computer at work, so at least now I can get away from it when I'm not at work...
Biggest perk so far: not having to listen to the Wintel laptop's cooling fan run all the time!