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Got my chromebook- quick review
I picked up an Acer C720 with 2GB of RAM from amazon for $199. And have been using it for a few days.
Why I bought one?
I'm a gadget fiend and curious. When it first came out I was curious enough to enroll in the CR-48 giveaway but not enough to spend my own money- I felt like it was too new and was in my tablet phase of gadgets.
So what changed? My Macbook Pro is a laptop- but it's heavy and when I go out for any decent amount of time, I have to end up near an electrical outlet. It's also heavy. And expensive- not something I want to be traveling around with. Really I use it as a desktop that I can pack up easy when I move.
The tablets are great for lounging around at home or away from a computer to browse the internet, watch TV, read books, etc. But lousy when it comes to doing work, mainly because of the lack of a physical keyboard. I suppose the solution would be to get a keyboard for a tablet and call it a day, but I wanted to try out a chromebook. Then again, my primary tablet is a Kindle Fire- not work friendly and I have an orignial galaxy tab but that's old and I don't want to fiddle with a separate keyboard.
I got a chromebook because the cost has dropped to $200. Cheap enough to justify it, especially as tablets can be more expensive. I also use google docs frequently and like the fact that it's got good battery life. I also got it because I feel like it's more secure. If it breaks or gets stolen when I'm out and about, well better to lose a chromebook over a Macbook Pro. I also use a dummy gmail account over a public wifi network and never use it to access bank accounts. I just transfer the work over to my other gmail account as well. I've also read it's more secure than windows or mac os x. Another point toward the chromebook is that I don't need any specialized software for me to kill time or be productive, basically my Macbook Pro is a chromebook, since I'm on chrome all the time anyway.
I picked out the Acer C720 with 2GB of RAM due to it's good reviews. Why no 4GB RAM? a pixel? For me, the chromebooks are closer competitors to tablets than a real laptop workhorse. I see chromebooks as stripping away everything to the bare minimum, which is pretty much is- everything runs through the browser. So the idea of spending more for RAM or spending $1000 for a pixel seems counter to the chromebook way of life. It's about cheap, online computing and dressing it up in something fancy or piling on the power and memory didn't seem right to me.
What's it like?
No real issues here. If you spend lots of time on chrome and do lots of work on google docs, it's like using a normal laptop. Except you don't have the option to fire up iTunes, use Adobe, play wow, whatever. But like I said, no problems with me. I've been using it for a few days now primarily when I go work at libraries and coffee shops and I haven't had any issues. The chromebook stays in its bag at home- I use the macbook pro when I'm at home. It pretty much works like my macbook pro, although when typing this out, there is some delay between the text and what I type- which is a first.
It's cheap so it's gonna feel cheap. The keyboard is fine, the touchpad isn't the greatest but at the same time it's not something that makes me want to hurl the computer out of my window either. Battery life is stupendous- it's weird getting so much battery life out of a laptop. Is the screen amazing? No. But it gets the job done and I'm not feeling short-changed by the display quality or the small size (although a bigger screen is always welcome). Turning on/off the machine is amazing- it's lighting quick. Lots of reviews say the headphone jack is tight and you're going to need to use force to get headphones out- it's not that bad. It's also really light. With the battery life being so great, I don't have to pack a charger (which is a big brick), which makes it lighter to carry as well. The sound is decent- not bad, not good. Overall if you're not a display snob, a audio snob, or power-hungry spec snob, it's a good buy.
The biggest annoyances I have with it are the touchpad and the lack of a caps lock key- where that key is is a search key. To turn on/off caps lock, it's alt + search button key- that's the worst thing about it.
Overall, I'm pretty happy about it. I think it makes a great second gadget, but I wouldn't feel comfortable using this exclusively as my sole laptop. I fiddle with adobe photoshop elements, iTunes now and then and like to watch DVDs now and then so the Macbook still comes in handy.