OverviewI now have two weeks of continuous use under my belt of my new Samsung Chromebook, and it has been everything I’ve been looking for. I do not intend this review to be a technical breakdown and the pros and cons of the technology, but rather a real life analysis of what the Chromebook has to offer.
I am writing this document using Google’s Doc program. I am saving this on Google Drive using the 100 gigabytes of free storage space (for two years). Two of the features that promises to make the Chromebook all you need in your mobile computing needs--and to this point has delivered. My day to day use includes creating and editing word documents for both pleasure and submitted work, editing spreadsheets to keep track of my financial budget and miscellaneous sports stat tracking, file transfers for our podcast, and web browsing that includes integrated chat programs, music listening, and quite a few tabs running at once. All of these tasks have been handled beautifully.
AestheticsI was originally drawn to the Chromebook because, quite simply, it looked like a Macbook. I am a huge fan of the simplistic design and straightforward execution of the aesthetics of both the devices. When I finally got a chance to directly compare my Chromebook to a friends Macbook Pro from 2010, I was surprised at just how close they were.
|The Chromebook on the left looks nearly identical to the Macbook on the right--and that’s something I appreciate.|
ApplicationsThe browser operating system is the backbone of the Chromebook. It has Google’s many years of integration and cross platforming use behind it, and I was rather impressed with the ease at which it set up. After turning the laptop on for the first time, and setting it up with my normal Gmail account the browser instantly gathered my desktop’s bookmarks and history and aggregated them directly into my new device. Save passwords were not moved, but I believe I prefer it that way--don’t want those things being transferred over the web.
Google Docs has been my most used program to date. It is very functional. That’s not to say that it is as good or better than Microsoft Word; it isn't Formatting is not nearly as robust, and options for different text styles and fonts as not very far reaching. However, for the purpose of developing documents for both school, and publishing it works well. I ran into a few snags when attempting to get a document in an old Microsoft Word 2003-2007 file type “.doc” as opposed to the new standard “.docx”. This is less a fault of Google Docs and more a telling circumstance of lagging behind the times for my current school.
The computer handles multitasking and the tabbed browsing as well as any Chrome browser: quick, smooth, and effortlessly. I routinely have the new Spotify web based player running as a pin tabbed, as well as eight or nine tabs alternating between different websites at once. The Google Play store also offers a wide array of web applications to download--most being free--to reach many uses. I even downloaded a web-based Sonic the Hedgehog game to experience a bit of nostalgia.
HardwareThe Chromebook offers a fast enough processor that has not shown my any slowdown in day to day use. The internal 16 gigabyte of storage was a major concern of mine (especially with the Acer Chromebook offering a 320 gigabyte hard drive on their model) but that worry was instantly put to rest when I was handed 100 gigs of free Google Drive space for two years. My theory behind it being, by the time that two years is up, I will have probably moved on to something else.
The battery life is appropriate for menial tasks, four to six hours of word processing and basic browsing. I, however, was watching a hockey game through a flash, web-based video player in full screen, and saw a significant drop in estimated battery remaining. After about 35 minutes of viewing the game, the estimated life actually increased--I assume based on the fact that I wasn't doing anything else on the laptop. It charges quickly, only requiring about one and half hours after the initial boot to achieve a full charge--something that is highly beneficial for those on the go. I obviously can’t speak on longevity, as it has only been two weeks.