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457 of 464 people found this helpful
Be Aware Of What You Are Getting Into And You'll Love it
on 7 November 2013
Hi, (update at the bottom !!!)
Okay. Chromebooks, they look like laptops, smell like laptops, even act like laptops, but really they're not really laptops. What are they then. Well they're a glorified web browser and that's it. They are googles web browser. So that being said, you can only do what you can do on a web browser. Don't let that put you off though, the webs come a long way.
I'll try and explain it as simple as I can.
This runs nothing but a browser and what they call web apps. They look like programmes but the truth is they just run on the web, which isnt a pain, except you HAVE to be connected to the net for 95% of them to work. In this day and age of wireless and hotspots it really isn't that much of an issue for most people.
Let's get the nagatives out of the way. Along with this I'll give you the alternatives.
No Itunes - Yep, no itunes, none, nada, you can't install it, it won't work, if you plug in your ipod and iphone nothing will happen (It will charge though) So you can still use spotify (which is amazing) and google own play music store which is a superb alternative.
No Microsoft office - Google docs is the answer here, you can save in office format if you want. Sure it's nowhere near as powerful as office but it does the job quite nicely. Also it syncs across whatever computers you're using which is great. It;s also free.
It's lovely, it really really is. It's beautifully designed, minimilist, clean lines, no screws or fans, it's lovely. The screen is a complete joy, its bright, clear, fantastic viewing angles. Video looks great on it. It's light, portable, a lovely lovely looking machine.
The keyboard is stunning, a joy to use. I own a macbook air 11" and I prefer the keyboard on the chromebook over the macbook air, and by a fair bit as well.
The track pad is ok, it's not amazing like a mac trackpad, but it's also not awful like a cheap netbook one.
The speakers. Er, yeah, seriously, mental. They are placed directly under the keyboard and they are ridiculous. The clarity and volume is incredible considering where they are, you are NEVER going to struggle to not hear these.
Yes you only get 16gb onboard storage but everything is cloud based these days. It does have two usb ports if you need them though.
Last but not least a mention to the charger. It's micro usb which is brilliant as if you own a modern smartfone that isnt made by apple it means you can charge it using that.
Oh and battery life is apparent 6 hours, so far its looking more like 5, which is a shame but not a killer cos I always have a micro usb charger to hand.
Okay, this is where you have to be a bit careful. It's not the quickest machine, and at times (especially when you first get it and it's ploughing through your extns, its is VERY laggy. Thankfully since i run the update and my extns are all up and working it is running really well. Providing you dont hammer it by opening hundreds of tabs you really won't have to much of a problem. Just treat it with a bit of respect, like don't expect it to do the 100m in 10 seconds.
Who is it for :
This is the bit I really want to stress.
For me this is perfect for the following
Older parents and grandparents who grew up in the non internet era. Basically this is foolproof. They can create an email address and thats it they're away, they have email, a web browser, google hangouts for video chat, a word processor, everything they could possible need. The beauty of it, they cant muck it up, it's brilliant, no more late night IT calls to your dad telling him to find the control panel.
Kids, young kids, a first computer. I think this is great my daughters getting great use out of this, it has flash (she needs this for her school sites) which is brilliant for her, and it's helping with her typing.
People who want a second computer / laptop without the hassle. This is a great sofa surfer, if you just wanna surf, do emails, the odd bit of blogging, seriously there is nothing better, why bother with a windows laptop or a macbook, you'll pay over the odds and just complicate the experience, chromebooks are a much simpler way of achieving your goals where this is concerned.
Wrap Up :
Again, if you know what you're getting into you will love it, the design is lovely, the keyboard is stunning for the money, the screen a joy. The experience as a whole is great. As long as you can get your head round that you cant install itunes, msword, photoshop etc you will be fine. remember for all of these there are alternatives. They won't be quite as good (actually the itunes one is a lie i prefer spotify) but they will be able to get you through without a problem.
Amazon were great, i pre ordered and it was 230 quid, the day it got delivered, today, the price was reduced to 199. I got onto them via the chat function and within 5 mins a lovely chap refunded me the 30 quid. Happy days.
I still love this as it goes, usually I get bored of things and replace them, but, a couple of months on and the love is still there and we're going steady now, I might even take it to the next stage and ask her to move in.
Seriously though, it's a cracking little machine, sure I wish it was it was a wee bit quicker, but it's actually gotten a bit quicker with various updates.
One thing I will add as well, google get on my tits. Like I say its not the fastest machine, but it doesnt help when gmail is by far the slowest webpage to load, it takes an age and there's no real quick way around it..... very annoying... other than that, fill your boots people. It's not perfect by anymeans but I still love it.
Update 2 :
I've had a couple of problems with my machine. A dead pixel, wifi dropping but also a problem with charging (it struggles below 20% for some reason) amazon have been brilliant and sent me out a new machine, so i'm sending this one back.
Apart from that 3 months on, has my love for this machine wained, is the honeymoon period over. NOT ON YOUR NELLY !!!! If anything it's got even stronger, we've renewed our vowels, bought our first house, considering kids.
I'm not even kidding here, im even more in love with this machine now than when I first got it. It's got quicker with updates, i've discovered some amazing extns that have really added to the appeal (Checker plus for gmail, checker plus for calender, pushbullett, just a clock etc)
The keyboard is an absolute joy to use, I know i've said it above, but it really is amazing. The trackpad has actually improved with age and use, i've been using this for blogging and also updating websites using joomla, it's works really well. I find some of the image editing apps actually a bit quicker to use because of the prestocked filters. Less distractions, i dont spend some long trying to perfect something in photoshop, and if the truth be told the results usually tend to come out a bit better.
Update 27th June 2014
Alas my love affair with the HP Chromebook is over. It was kind of a mutual break up. She let herself go a bit, I kind of realised towards the end that there really wasn't that much going on behind that cracking body and face. We parted ways, I think we'll stay in touch though...
Let me explain.
I bought the first Chromebook in November, within 3 months the charger port on the side of the unit decided to pack up (well, work intermittently) so I had to send it back. As usual Amazon were spot on, they really are the most incredible company to deal with in regards to stuff like this (the scottish guy I spoke to was such a decent bloke, really knew his stuff as well) Anyway they sent me another and away I plodded. Until about 3 weeks ago when I noticed the screen started developing white "spots" or a light bleed, I persevered on, it wasn't until my other half used it and actually said "Jesus (she calls me that from time to time) that's awful what's wrong with it" I then decided it was time for us to part ways. Amazon, again were great and told me to send it back.
So here I am again, single, laptopless, no one to share my nights or long train journeys with. I didn't want to go back to her, the HP Chromebook, she'd let me down in the past and on top of that she had let herself go a bit (the machine had started to slow down to a point where I found myself getting frustrated)
I contemplated the surface pro 3, I really did, look at it, it's amazing, I wanted one so so bad, that I nearly took the plunge, but the wait and the price tag held me back.
I stayed with the chromebook, only this time I went for the HP's uglier, slightly chunkier sister. The Acer 720P
Okay sure it isn't as beautiful, yes it won't be constantly getting admiring glances from the far side of the room but oh my she is quick. She is bright and quick and quick and bright and she really is a lovely little thing once you get to know her. Look beyond the exterior and get to know her and you realise that you were a shallow fool for going with the HP.
The keyboard isn't as nice, it makes too much noise but it works lovely. Battery life is a marked improvement over the HP, the touch screen works well even if chrome isn't fully designed around touch screens (This is the 720P model)
Where the big difference is though is speed. This thing isn't Usain Bolt but then again for the money you can't expect it to be, what it is though is quick, like a 400m runner quick. Quick and solid and it doesn't slow down, mainly cos chrome doesn't allow that to happen. Loads of tabs open, loads of extensions it still runs like a dream. Nothing seems to faze it. GMail opens quick (one of my big bug bears on the HP) the whole machine just flies.
So I want to a pros and cons of the Acer 720P over the HP.
It's quicker, so so much quicker, noticeable, there's no lag, no waiting, it shifts. Using this and the HP side by side and you won't want to go back.
Touchscreen works lovely, not iPad type responsivity, but it works really well all the same.
It's uglier than it's HP sister. It's by no means Ugly, but whereas the HP was Megan Fox (is she still relevant) this is more, erm, Amy Adams.
The power supply is an old school laptop power supply. It's not the lovely micro usb number you got with the HP.
The screen isn't as nice, the HP screen is still one of the best I've ever seen on any laptop.
I know you're reading the above and thinking I'm mad but, the cons far outweigh the pro's but this is very much a case of choosing brains and sense of humour over good looks.
I still love the whole "Chromebook" idea though, it's such a lovely way of computing without all the "faff" turn on, surf. As opposed to, turn on, install updates, get annoyed because app is still updating, wait a bit longer cos the network is doing funny things etc.