Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quick report: a day with the new Samsung Chromebook

Amazon delivered the Chromebook I ordered a day earlier than I expected, I had it in my hands the day it was released to sale.  First impressions: good overall.

The Chromebook did boot up in seconds, as advertised, but I had to wait a couple of minutes to sign in while it did an OS update.  Last week, in anticipation of the Chromebook, I had set up my Chrome apps and imported Firefox bookmarks. All were there at once when I logged in, fulfilling the stateless device promise.


  • The display is dramatically bright and clear, a big plus. Screen and keyboard are plenty large to use as a primary computer.
  • The trackpad, buttonless and using click-anywhere on the pad, is preferable to any I've used before. Two finger click equals right click, two-finger drag equals scrolling.
  • The extra battery life is a revelation. I unplugged the Chromebook from the charger in mid-afternoon, used it the rest of the day and evening, and hadn't even  dropped to 50% battery life at the end of the evening.
  • It does NOT do high resolution video well; a youTube 1080p video was jerky with stuttering sound, despite the fact that I let it cache ahead for the full length of the video
  • Netflix is not enabled for Chromebook, although they promise it soon.  For the Chrome OS to suit me as a true everyday replacement for a traditional Windows laptop, I will want it to perform better as a video machine.  Amazon streaming video and the Amazon Cloud Player for music both worked perfectly first time out, however. 
I think the biggest insight to me is the realization that one of the main concerns I've seen raised about the "internet-or-nothing" idea has to do with worries over "what will I do if there's no internet connection."  It turns out that in practice, I'm already operating that way; so much of what I use a computer for is web-connected already that a machine with a traditional OS is already of little use to me unless I have a WiFi connection.  The very few exceptions, like word processing aboard a plane, will soon be addressed by offline capabilities in Google docs.  

I haven't tested Chromebook's built in 3g yet, and I also want to test the 4g hotspot ability of my Android phone with the Chromebook.  I'll report to you on both of those ASAP.  

What about you?  Google is pioneering the stateless concept--would the benefits be worth it to you?  Let me know.

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