I am on a Virgin flight coming home from Dreamforce to the Boston area and while I’m in flight I have a loaner of a Google Chromebook computer. I am writing this review on the device itself and plan to turn in the machine when I land. This is a rather creative approach to marketing and Google should be praised for this,
As delivered the mouse pad is too sensitive and too fast and you find yourself doing wacky things to do the right things. IT’s sort of like over steering until you either crash, get the hang of it or best outcome, find the settings screen. Having founod the settings and adjusted thin, I am into the third phase of my Chromebook life.
The keyboard is the opposite of the mouse pad. It seems to be fullish size with big keys and space between them for my fat fingers and that helps me avoid most spelling/typing errors. The screen looks to be thhirteen inches and it is fine for most uses. It is glare free and crisp enough, Navigation is fair. The mouse pad is one though think to get the hang of and I found myself skating off the reservation and not getting mouse-like things to happen.
The big difference between the Chromebook and a conventional notebook PC is the OS but those differences are completely covered up because you live in the Chrome browser. The full Google Apps suite is what’s available an what you use to write or do other things you might often use Microsoft Office for.
Speed is good, I don’t find the machine slowing down or unable to process my instructions unless I’m trying to access the net but that might be more of a function of the wireless internet available on the plane. The screen dims periodically to save battery and that’s fine. I suspect the display is a thing you can adjust but I have not bothered to find the place for that.
The Chromebook gets good marks for ease of use once the mouse pad is squared away to suit your needs. It is light and the battery will last throughout this flight without charging which is good because the slipcase doesn’t hold one or much else other than the device itself. I understand that it has a hard drive but it boots in under 8 seconds. I can live with that and I suspect that it’s easy for Google to hold the OS in memory to make booting quick.
I think the price is $430, about the price of an iPad with WiFi only. It’s a different form factor than the tablet traditional if you will. This book is good for travelers and anyone else who needs a real keyboard to operate conventional apps. As a traditional device it is used for both consuming Internet traffic and for content. Tablets are for a different but related market of consumption and I find that’s a question you need to ask before you buby on. It’s the question we all should ask whenever buying things, not just electronics. Too many of my friends bought tablets — iPads — and discovered they needed to buy wireless keyboards to write. Before theey knew it they were building and buying their own laptops and carrying around two separate pieces. Where’s the advantage in that?
So this is the end of the review. I wrote the whole thing on this little computer and it’s ok.