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Chromebook. A Six Month Review

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I’ve had my little Chromebook for about six months now and I have to say that it’s a great little laptop if you just need to browse the web and check email. Really, my feelings haven’t changed much since my first Chromebook review.

This laptop would be great for my mom. It works well for email and web, she wouldn’t really be able to install anything on it and screw it up, she’d have something that was up to date, and it’d auto update. That, combined with the reasonable price point, makes this good for her.

As for a developer, it’s a bit limited. I still wish it could do so much more. If you love working in a console, then you’ll probably be fine. However, if you want photo editing, IDEs, or really any of the development apps you’re use to, you’re pretty much out of luck.

I love taking my Chromebook to meetings and taking notes. This makes finding them again later easy as I don’t have to look through a notebook. Having my email and IM away from the desk is great too. So it beats a paper and pen.

Is it better than an iPad or Android tablet? That I’m going to have to say no. It has a physical keyboard which is nice, but you can get a case with a built-in keyboard for tablets. Other than that, I don’t think I’d say a Chromebook is better than a tablet, but maybe that’s because I’m use to my tablet and its limitations.

The thing my Chromebook lacks is power. I’ve got a pretty complex Google Sheet and the Chromebook struggles to open it at times. Especially if I have a few other tabs open; like Gmail or Evernote.

Trying to run a Google Hangouts, Google Sheets, email and take notes has crashed my Chromebook. Now I try to limit the number of windows/tabs to increase the stability and reliability.

The software is also lacking. You can tell that Google is still working on making ChromeOS a thing. The picture viewer doesn’t let me zoom in so when I open a big photo so I can’t see anything, but if I go into Google Drive on the web, I can zoom in no problem. It’s little things like this that make you realize how unpolished ChromeOS is.

Android apps in ChromeOS are still horrible too. I’m waiting for Google to make those better as it’s way better to run Evernote web than it is Evernote on ChromeOS via the Android/native app. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but they’re not ready yet. Once Google figures those out, it could be a game changer. Then again, remember how I said that Google Sheets slowed down my Chromebook? I can only imagine what some Android apps would do to this.

Overall, the Chromebook is great if you just need a basic laptop for browsing the internet, email, and basic Google docs editing. I know I’m hard on the Chromebook but I expected more. Maybe my expectations are too high, but you’ll never compete with the tech crowd when you lack the polish and power that the competition has.

The more I use my Chromebook, the more I like it. However, I feel it’s more because I’m lowering my expectations and learning to work within the limitations. I do like this little guy, but I could never see it replacing one of my other devices.

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