As mentioned before, I am Rob Manning, and I work for TheBishopWay as a Community Manager. I have taken on the task of doing every bit of my computing from this little machine. I will be adding to this blog about my experiences as things occur to me, or I get bored enough to write about it. All of this, of course, done with a wi-fi ChromeBook from Samsung, but shouldn’t deviate from experiences on other ChromeBooks. Some information may repeat, some may be hard to convey until you actually use it, but all of the information posted here is my eyes wide open first look at the tech and OS of this device. If you see it here, it was done with the ChromeBook.
So let’s begin:
First day, March 13th, 2012
Initial impressions of the Samsung ChromeBook
When I picked up the box, I though “Holy shit this box is heavy. Thought this was a “light” machine.” Tons of packing material made it heavy though, thankfully. Still, the book feels pretty heavy. Taking a nod from Apple, we have a Google sticker included, presumably to adorn the case in the event someone misses the Google logo on the cover of the unit.
I pressed power – nothing happens. Time to charge. Strange, thought that batteries were supposed to be partially charged for shipment?
Finally charged – WOW! Boot-up is a thing of the past. Literally you turn this thing on, log in and bam, you have a google chrome browser. That IS your desktop. No minimizing it at all, everything is done with Chrome apps and google online. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have the ability to minimize your browser. It is just there. Persistent.
WTF? Sort of feels lonely with no real desktop area, but let’s press on.
The keyboard has some odd quirks. No caps lock, no del/ins/end/home/pg up and down, etc… all the fluff keys are gone. The caps lock key is a “search” key. It brings up a new search window. The keyboard itself has a nice feel. The keys are oddly spaced apart, but it works. Funny enough, all of the letters on the keys are all lowercase. There is a button to go full screen, eliminating the browser bar, volume up and down, screen brightness (and this thing IS bright) buttons, power off and forward/back buttons for browsing. Nice and convenient except for that damn search button in place of the caps lock. While I don’t use caps lock on a regular basis, accidentally hitting it didn’t pop open a new browser tab.
The touch pad takes some getting used to. It is a bit clunky, and sort of cheap in feel mechanically. It is also HUGE. When you first start the ChromeBook, it makes you press to click, not tap. The whole thing actually is one large mouse button, very reminiscent of Macintosh mice. One finger pressing down = left click. Two fingers pressing down = right click. Two fingers sliding on the pad NOT pressing down will scroll. Press down the pad, slide a finger will allow a “click and drag” function. I will adapt, but again, this is a new feel to a seasoned Windows user.
Speed wise, I would say this is very on par with Netbooks. I own a netbook that runs Windows XP. In some instances, I would say my netbook is faster. However, there are somethings that this ChromeBook does well. Word on the street is that this OS and computer get constant, low profile updates to enhance its performance. We shall see. I have a long test ahead of me.
Some of the lag/speed issues I noticed last night, i think, are related to my Internet speeds. Either that, or the ChromeBook has to “break in”… in any event, it seems to run a little faster today.
OK, yes, this thing does benefit from having regular use. It almost seems like you have to “prime” the system through use. It gets more efficient the more you browse.
Really odd, but I am getting a large sense of “Macintosh” from this rig. The streamlined, app driven access, single click (no button) mouse, etc… all just scream Mac, but with a Windows vibe. Make no mistake, this is no OS that you are used to, and I am beginning to like it. It is oddly comforting to see the intrusions of a standard OS. No clumsy menus, no “will this work” moments…. Ooops, spoke too soon. Although this is a Google machine, there are some Google apps that won’t work. Everything you CAN run, has to be a browser plug in. Some of the Google apps require Windows or MacOS to run. So not everything Google will drop and play on this machine, but tons will. Angry Birds does great, so really is there anything else?
I decided to carry this thing everywhere. It is solid. When you pick it up, even at only 3.5 lbs or so, it feels like a sturdy, well built kit. That is until you touch that touch pad like I said. It just feels cheap. The screen/lid is very thin, but still exudes strength. I have never felt I will break the screen.
Tried to put a theme in place, but the only part that shows the theme is the toolbar at the top, and even still it is such a small area that the theme doesn’t really matter.
I am still VERY impressed with the instant on. You close the lid, the computer goes to sleep. Open it, there is no hard drive whirring, no delay. The screen just jumps to life and the internet connects to Wi-Fi in seconds.
Sorry folks, no 3G testing here. Not paying those prices for minuscule data plans.
To be continued…