I just picked up an HP Chromebook 11. Here's some of my initial impressions!
First off, it is a very nice looking notebook. I got the white/blue just because it was what I saw on Amazon. I wouldn't have minded the all black one, but this matches my white GS4 nicely. The micro USB charging port is a huge, huge plus and is probably what really swayed me away from the other slightly cheaper and more powerful models.
I also have a moto xoom, which is quite heavy for a tablet. I swear this computer is lighter. They say 2.3 lbs officially, but it is so nice and light and has a relatively substantial/not weak feel to it. There is a little creak/flex to the screen, but I kind of expected that from such a cheap and light device. Being that this runs on what amount to smartphone internals, it doesn't have any vents or fans and stays pretty cool. For anyone that has used most any laptop in the last few years, you know that they can get real warm and make a lot of noise in the process. The only sound coming from this laptop is the sound of the keys when I type. Which brings up the keyboard: FANTASTIC! HP really hit the nail on the head with this keyboard. They keys have just the right combination of squishy and clicky to make them feel great. They have some travel (though not very much) and are spaced to make you feel like you're actually using a laptop that is much bigger. Obviously, no number pad, and Chrome OS-specific shortcut keys line the top of the keyboard where you'd normally find the function keys on a Windows machine. One mistake was that they put the power button directly above the backspace key. Clumsy typers will probably hit that; in fact I'm surprised I haven't yet. Fortunately, going to and waking up from sleep is incredibly fast.
The trackpad is just fine. Nothing real special. The material allows your fingers to slide alright. The 2 finger scroll is here and works very well. I think I've found a few other gestures (3 finger swipe side to side switches tabs). I think the right-click function is rather intuitive; you click with two fingers. Very easy to do and I haven't had a problem. The bottom half of the trackpad is the portion that has a physical click, but you can tap anywhere to click by default.
Setup was pretty quick. Agree to a few things, set some basic settings, sign in. It had me update Chrome (despite the fact that the build date was barely a week ago, there was already an update necessary). That took about 15 minutes to download and install, then I was on my way.
The software is pretty straightforward. I was a little mistaken in thinking that you could run some apps on this. However, everything that you download just opens in a window in Chrome. You can pin "apps" to the taskbar (similar to Windows) but in reality, they are just shortcuts to open the webpage in a new tab. Either way, not a problem. I haven't found a website that I wanted to use that I couldn't.
One problem I have run into is streaming music through Spotify. I am a Premium user and I love my Spotify. However, the in-browser player is really optimized for slightly larger screens and can be kind of slow on this platform. I also had some issues with streaming music skipping, but I am all over the Chromebook forums on Google to figure out a solution.
In practice, the machine runs amazingly smooth for the power it has. Don't get me wrong, this won't hardly keep up with a Core i3 powered machine, but it does just fine. My use is mostly facebook, trolling some forums, Gmail, and listening to music. It does all of these things just fine. It struggles with 1080p YouTube videos, though I don't know why you'd bother with 1080 when the screen is barely 720. It didn't do a great job with 720 on a few videos I watched, but others seemed alright. A feature I was sad to see left out was the ability to communicate with my Google TV. My GS4 has the option to beam pictures to the TV and control YouTube very easily and I take advantage of that quite often.
Ultimately, I'm very happy with this purchase. I got a useful, attractive, easy to carry laptop that really fits my needs. It isn't without its issues, but It seems like Google is really on top of them and I have faith that like a fine wine, it will only get better with time.
- 11-02-2013, 12:51 PM #2
Re: Initial Impressions
I don't have a real need for a Windows machine. I have a very powerful desktop for photo editing and such, a high-end smartphone (GS4), and an old Xoom that I use from time to time. I saw this as basically a cheap tablet with a keyboard and mouse, which was appealing. I'm also kind of evaluating it as an option for a Christmas gift for my parents. Wanted to make sure it was up to my standards!
- 11-02-2013, 01:18 PM #4
- 11-03-2013, 09:14 PM #5
Re: Initial Impressions
Picked up a Blue/White at Bestbuy after returning a Surface Pro 2. I was going to buy a rMBP but decided to wait until the bugs are worked out. I am impressed so far. It is however very slippery. I dropped it from waist high onto a kitchen floor today. NO damage or scuff marks!! It landed on the front edge, thought for sure something had broken. Only real issue for me so far is WiFi handoff delays between routers as I move around my house. Some stuttering but nothing that really bothers me. I chose this because of the screen over performance. If the LTE model appears during my return period then sorry Best BuyPaul Thurrott:
Not now mom, somebody is wrong on the internet
- 11-04-2013, 01:51 PM #6
- 13 Posts
Re: Initial Impressions
First impressions overview - For £229, a fantastic piece of kit!
This is a very early review as its been out of the box no more than 20 minutes, but already i'm extremely impressed.
keyboard - Fantastic, however i have already remapped the "search" button to function as caps lock, as the seach button is located in the same place as caps on a windows keyboard.
Screen - Again, for the price its brilliant, vibrant colours and sharp text.
Performance - Building up to the purchase i read no less than 30 reviews and every single one was different, however there was one constant, performance isn't the best. As mentioned the device has been out of the box about 30 minutes now and I've experienced nothing but great performance so far. Of course it isn't as fast as high end windows devices or macbooks but then this device isn't in that category and therefore it isn't fair to make that comparison.
For £229 you'd struggle to find a better device when taking in to account performance and hardware.
Any questions for those considering a purchase, please do not hesitate to ask!
- 11-12-2013, 09:03 AM #7
Re: Initial Impressions
Thanks for posting your impressions guys. I've had my eye on the 11 as it does a few things that really catch my eye and should have similar performance to my Samsung 3. Some of the reviews online have kind of ripped the battery though, so I'm curious what kind of battery life you guys are getting. I've been able to push the Samsung 3 real close to 7 hours and at this point I feel like anything less than that would be a downgrade.
@swimmerman272 Sounds like you're new to Chrome. There are a few packaged apps now that run offline and aren't truly just "website links" though a lot of the older offline apps do just run in a browser, even if you hide it by having the app open in windowed mode. Check out Entanglement, it's a fairly cool puzzle game that runs as a packaged app and works great offline. Chrome OS still has some fairly severe software issues for doing things outside of the web browser but it's getting better and I'm really excited for what 2014 is going to bring to the game.
- 02-03-2014, 12:58 PM #8
- 34 Posts
Re: Initial Impressions
I got my HP Chromebook 11 today, it was easy to set-up as it found my Wi-Fi and logged in no problems and it then proceeded with all its updates. I bought it because I wanted something that had a bigger screen than my Nexus 4/5 that didn't need holding or propping up constantly like a tablet as I will be using it in bed or on the sofa to do basic browsing and watching videos, pretty much exactly what it was invented for.
This is my first laptop since a Sony Vaio of the late 1990's, that thing was like a paving slab and had about 5 Gig internal storage and cost over £2000.
My only real gripe which is a known problem for Chromebooks is that it can't sync files with another PC in the way an Android device does; so no ES File Explorer, AirStream, or BitTorrent Sync which is a shame as it makes getting audio visual media onto the Chromebook a real pain in the backside. I know Google want you to use their cloud service Google Drive, or one of the others like Box or Dropbox, but that isn't really reasonable for those of us who have a pitiful upload speed on our broadband service; mine is 30kb so for an album or TV show it just isn't feasible.
You can access a PC using Chrome Remote Desktop but for some reason music and video files play but no audio does, plus you're having to access it through a browser window so it's not really the same as a pure syncing/streaming service. Also plugging an Android device into the micro USB doesn't show up any files it just charges the device, albeit quite slowly; however plugging a external HDD into the normal USB 2.0 port does bring up the files on the drive. This is something I hope Google addresses in future updates to the ChromeOS as I think it would make the platform a real contender to be a main PC rather than just an add-on to peoples work flow.
Last edited by ACADM; 02-03-2014 at 01:55 PM.
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