Jul 6, 2013

Chromebook after a few days

Those following me on Facebook know that I brought home a Chromebook (Samsung $249 jobbie) from work to try out over the long weekend.  After just a couple days, here are some random thoughts so far:

  1. The 11.6 inch screen is bright and clear. As a tech dude, though, not being able to mess with screen resolution drives me a bit crazy.
  2. The keyboard is not bad. Chiclet keys are responsive though feel a bit flimsy - as if I could accidentally hit the space bar too hard and it would come flying off.
  3. Since I use a MacBook Pro primarily, I sorely miss the backlit keys. But, I do understand that is a feature not found in most laptops. Still, hard to get used to not having it.
  4. It is well known that Chromebooks do not do Java. They do Javascript, but not actual Java. Many educational sites use java-based activities.
  5. But, worse as far a education goes, the device does not support Shockwave. Shockwave is **NOT** Flash, despite many, many people thinking they are the same. So, sites like ExploreLearning cannot be used with a Chromebook. Sorry, no Gizmos for those classrooms. 
  6. Emily (10 yrs old) says the camera did not do well in certain light. She says she likes the camera in her MacBook much better because the Chromebook was not very clear. She said she had to be VERY still to get a good photo.
  7. Emily did say, though, that she likes the Chromebook. She has used it the most and watches YouTube videos and now that she has seen "SumDog" on it, will probably play that on it as well. haha!
  8. The OS takes a little getting used to as far as figuring out what the different settings are and how to enable/disable certain things. 
  9. Google play seems a bit confused by the whole thing, which is odd since it is a Google Chromebook and I am accessing the Google Play store. For example, the media player asked me to install an uploader. But, you can't install it because it is a Chromebook. Then, why would the default player that comes with the Chromebook ask me that in the first place!? A bit silly, no?
  10. Most of the Chrome Games on Play appear to be browser/Flash/HTML5 based, so I randomly selected a few. The only one that seemed to have trouble was Need for Speed World, but that looked more like a server issue on their end. Knowing EA, the game probably doesn't even exist anymore.
  11. The Chromebook is super light. I envisioned the thing to be a modified netbook from days gone by, but really, in it a lot less than that, literally. Since everything is based on chips, there are no moving parts that I can tell. There isn't even a fan on it. Of course, if all you are doing is surfing the web to run the apps, it really doesn't need one.
  12. On the upside, my MBP runs very hot when playing certain browser games (like the one where you match candy. You know, the one everyone seems addicted to these days. Including me.), but the Chromebook never heats up beyond a slight warming. Of course, it doesn't play as smoothly, either. But, hey it works.
  13. Like all laptops, you have to figure out where certain buttons are and what they do. Instead of CAPS LOCK, there is a magnifying glass to instantly bring up Google search. Function Keys have been replaced with back/forward/refresh and other items.
  14. The touchpad works much like the MBP: two finger-click to bring up the alternate menus, swipe up and down to scroll, etc.
I'll be playing with other features and posting more info later, but this is a start. Thanks for reading along!

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