Well, I got a new toy. I bought a Google Chromebook. They’re cheap. I didn’t get the cheapest, though. I bought an HP Chromebook 11 with LTE capability (Verizon) from Best Buy. It was on special for $250. You can find some cheaper — some a lot cheaper — but this was the one I decided upon, and it’s the one I’m gonna talk about.
The Chromebook is a pretty good little device. If you have a Google account, like a Gmail account, and use the Chrome browser, you’ll feel right at home using one.
Essentially, it’s a laptop. It helps to have Internet service. In fact, it pretty much depends on your having Internet access. That’s why I got the LTE version, so that if I want to use it away from a WiFi network, I have full functionality. Of course, if you have a phone that can also work as a hotspot, you can save a few bucks and get a WiFi-only device. Of course, those cost less.
Everything runs in a browser. Sounds odd, I know, but they make it work. I can’t speak to your everyday computer usage, but mine is pretty much browser-based. But, I do use Microsoft Word and Excel on a regular basis. Chromebook works with Word Online (that’s a Microsoft-supported thing) and Excel Online (again, Microsoft). I’m writing this review using Word Online, and will copy it into WordPress when I’m done for posting on the blog.
One thing is something that I really don’t use a lot is a printer. It’s been over a year since I printed anything. However, I did set up and test using Google Cloud Print via the Chromebook. And, it works. One drawback is that a printer can only be tied to one Google account. I suppose that’s fine for most people, but that would also be an issue for a family Chromebook, where it has multiple users (and accounts) in the household. Or multiple Chromebooks.
Suppose Dad was logged in to the Chromebook and registered the family computer to use his Google account. Then, he logged off, and Mom logged on. She can’t use that same printer. Then if Junior logged on, he’d run into the same thing. Sissy, too. Google needs to come up with a solution to that.
I use iTunes. However, there is no iTunes for Chromebook. I can upload my music to Google Play Music, but not movies or TV shows. And, to be honest, I really don’t want to hassle with copying thousands of songs to Google Play; I’m not going to drop iTunes.
While I don’t use Skype much, I do use FaceTime. Neither are supported. Google Hangouts works, though, and actually works okay. I had never used it before testing it out on this Chromebook. So, it is an option. Kinda. But, really, who uses that?
There are also image editing tools available. The tools work as well for standard image editing. It’s not Photoshop, but neither is anything else. Well, except Photoshop.
So, many of the applications I use (and many people use) have equivalents, but not all of the equivalents are what I want to work with. Primarily, it’s Google Hangouts and Google Play Music that I’m not too fond of. The others are okay.
The 100 GB Google Drive account (online storage) that comes with it is pretty nice. And, you can save some content locally. How much depends on what size drive you get. I got 16 GB; most come that size. They’ve done a good job of making it not just possible, but easy to save photos, documents, and such.
What all that means is the Chromebook won’t work as a primary computer for all my needs. But, for many users — those that primarily do the Facebook and the email thing — it’s perfect.
I’ve been using it as a travel computer. I went out of town a couple of weekends ago, and took the Chromebook and my MacBook with me. None of the computer stuff I did for myself needed the MacBook. I did all my personal computer stuff on the Chromebook.
For the past week, I’ve been using the Chromebook as my regular computer. I’ve written all my blog posts, checking out the Facebook, reading and writing email, and everything else I would normally do with my MacBook, and it served well.
The battery works well. I’ve not run it down all the way yet, but I have been charging it each night. Or most nights.
As it stands now, it’s my new travel computer. And my quick, go-to computer for sitting on the couch. I like it.