I have made two new Googly purchases recently. The HP Chromebook 11 and the Nexus 5.
Nexus 5 thoughts soon, but after a few weeks with this Chromebook, I have found that this has effectively replaced my tablet and a surprisingly, many things I do on my Macbook Pro Retina 15”. One of the reasons I wanted to try it out was that I found I often wanted to chat or write a quick email or do some basic keyboard-level content input with the tablet, but didn’t want to pull out a full-fledged computer. This got me interested in the announcements for the Chromebook and the new Microsoft Surface (or potentially a new Macbook Air 11”? That would be very tempting). So for me, while the Chromebook is more of a notebook than it is a tablet, I find that I use it more like a tablet: to quickly look up and input content.
Pros in my experience:
- Surprisingly, this is currently my most used device. My Macbook Pro Retina 15” is now used almost solely for larger, visually-intensive projects like creating a presentation or poster. And my tablets have become fancy remote controls lately.
- Super inexpensive
- Incredibly handy: can fit a tiny netbook/tablet bag
- Great for content input vs. a tablet
- Micro USB charging very handy: don’t have to carry two chargers
- Display is really good (this is what got me interested in the first place): very nice contrast and viewing angles (even when compared to the Macbook Air)
- Font size scaling in Chrome is nice: iPad + keyboard, for example, doesn’t scale fonts well, so it’s hard to use when placed at a distance: i.e. towards your lap or knee vs. held up near your face. Chrome on a Macbook Air can scale fonts, but that’ll run you about $1,000: and you’ll have a less appealing display at the moment.
- Very light: can easily hold it in one hand
- Nice to use for coding via SSH
- Can be laggy/frame-droppy at times: especially when compared to a Chromebook Pixel, Mac or Google/Apple tablet experience. For a similar price, I believe the Asus and Samsung models may be faster, but the displays aren’t as appealing.
- Native apps like Hangouts or Keep don’t appear to support font size adjustment. I just use the browser instead.
- If you were to use this for presentations, I’m not sure how you would give one.
- Low battery life.
For the price, those are the only cons I can think of after weeks of use. This Chromebook may not have been targeted to a geek like me who already has much more powerful, beautiful machines, but it certainly has won me over. Things I’d like to see in the next iteration of entry-level Chromebooks by Google:
- Smoother. Please make this a smoother, more responsive laptop! Maybe the Asus or Samsung models are smoother, but I really liked the display on this one. I think many would pay the premium for this. One of the things I like about Apple products is that no matter what ‘line’ you get from them, you typically don’t experience any major lag in performance for basic tasks, and I think this is a good standard for Google devices.
- Ramp up native Chrome apps to be more like a nice tablet experience. For example, make a native Youtube or Gmail App that immerses you in.
- Maybe a touchscreen like a lot of Windows models are going with (or the new Acer C720P!)?