Internet, Security and more…

My first Chromebook

So I’ll be completely honest about this topic. I tried the Chrome-OS a few month ago last year and I was not at all convinced. At a first glance it appeared to me like a not User friendly thing with a complete need of the cloud. And I’m still not reassured to this day for everything. But at the end of last year, I found an extreme cheap Chromebook on Amazon and I simply had to give it a try. Out of curiosity, the wish to enlarge my horizon in the geeky way and simply because my last notebook wasn’t holding its batteries for more than one hour.

So I have to start with the story how I got the device. It was a warehouse deal. And yes I was skeptical as well. It’s a Acer Chromebook 314 an it was just under 156€. Honestly very cheap for a Laptop and yes that would come back to me afterwards. But then again I saw that there were special deals I could apply on top for the next few hours and that gave me 30% more of the price so I got the device for less than 109€. Initially the went for like 300€ so the price was okay.

So the device arrived and after checking I realized that it was brand new! Never been charged before. Never ever! So the price was more than okay and so I gave it a try. And honestly if you are part of the Google team, it’s worth a try. The device has minimal memory (64GB) and I have to be honest, it has some nice features and yes sometimes I think that I am too used to windows.

So to the good sides:

They claim up to 12,5 hours which I can somehow confirm! I did take it on a trip where the charger of my initial laptop didn’t work (Yes Switzerland still has very specific Power Plugs) and so I used it as a backup which ran for approximately the times claimed.

It’s fast booting up! At least booting up is nice! If you’re logged in, just close the case and reopen it an hour later it’s a minimal time!

Updates come in a regular basis and you can install many Android App’s. That’s it what need to be said about software.

Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video, they all work fluently. (Yes the resolution is not 4K but for small trip’s and as a backup solution it is more than enough)

The less good sides:

The screen is not the best one. Loading up Netflix shows you a clear space where the logo is located. Black is not Black and that is how you distinguish a cheap screen. Resolution as well isn’t tremendous, but it’s okay to work on.

The CPU is limited which clearly can be remarked if the device is downloading something in the background (like Updates) and if it installs stuff in the background, simply typing becomes leggy. So very poor… I tried a few minimalist games and those didn’t convince me to try even more! Just very poor CPU!

Chrome-OS itself is very special. You have to get used to it! One feature I really dislike is that you cannot have Icon’s on your desktop. Yes in the bar beneath, but you should see my regular Computers, They have a least 40 Icons, Folders and Links on the desktop. So that’s for my the main disadvantage. Yes I’ve grown up in the Windows-World, but Linux and Apple are not strange to me as well. This is just a GUI for the regular people.

So I thought as the hardware is what it is, I thought it would probably be possible to run some other OS on the device. And this is very the VERY CHEAP price caught me back. This is one of the very few hardware Chromebooks, where you cannot install Linux onto! Not possible! Yes you can emulate somehow something Linux like on the device, but with the experiences I made with the CPU that doesn’t fit the needs for me! I had always been hoping, that if the Chrome-OS wasn’t for me, I would switch it with Linux and that for it’s price it would become my new playground but No! Not possible.

So my final thoughts:

Am I keeping it? Yes! The runtime is enormous! For typing, mailing and doing basic surfing it’s okay. As a take-with-you device it’s more than okay. It does not weight much and again the battery is perfect! The keyboard for me has a good size, even if some keys with Chrome-OS are missing / different but that’s a question of getting used to.

Would I recommend Chrome-OS / Chromebooks in general? For IT enthusiast’s not really. It’s not targeted to these people. Specific tools do not always work or fit the needs I have. The familiarity with Android is a huge plus and some ideas have their value but you have to give it a try to see if it is for you.

The price makes up a lot of it’s disadvantages in my case so this is why I am sticking to it. I’ve found specific needs where the device perfectly fits in for me and so I am keeping it. One more toy in my collection.

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