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I Heart My Chromebook – A Review

chromebookI’ve always been a fan of smaller laptops (my 13″ Macbook is a personal fav) so when Google released their Chromebooks, they had my attention. I eventually couldn’t resist and picked up the Samsung, arm-based Chromebook XE303 for the extremely reasonable price of $249.

After having a couple weeks on it, I must say I really REALLY like it. It’s been shockingly easy to abandon my Macbook in favor of my smaller, lighter Chromebook. In fact, there’s very few things in my daily (non-work) routine that I can’t do on the Chromebook… Chrome Remote Desktop solves the rest.

What’s good:

  • Price!
  • The keyboard and trackpad are great and responsive
  • Battery life – @4.5 hours video; @6.5 hours surfing/etc…
  • Small and light
  • Boots in seconds; wakes instantaneously
  • ChromeOS is simple, intuitive and impressively powerful
  • Chrome Remote Desktop bridges most gaps
  • Overall design is very “Mac-like”
  • Many great, free apps/extensions
  • Setup. If you use Google/Chrome, once you sign in, all your stuff is already there

The bad:

  • The screen is kinda crappy… though certainly servicable
  • Lack of AirTunes equivalent… Google, please make this happen!
  • Lack of full *nix shell is bothersome
  • Power adapter is clunky; wish it was micro usb

One thing that might put ChromeOS over the top for me (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is to allow access to its underlying Linux distro. Like OS X, ChromeOS is just a window manager on top of unix (in this case Linux). I would love to see them continue the trend and allow access to it’s Linux underbelly. In short, give me a full shell!

Long story only slightly longer, this Chromebook is a keeper and has me thinking devious thoughts about selling the Macbook and in its stead, getting a Mac Mini server to command via CRD! And I guess I’ll need a new signature… something like:

Written on my Chromebook… or maybe not (even if it is true).

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2 comments

  1. Just read your article (albeit some months have passed since published!) and couldn’t agree with you more, as I’m currently using my Samsung Chromebook to type this comment.  I was just curious if you’ve gotten into developer mode and used the developer console?  If you haven’t toyed with it yet, you may find it to be a more fruitful experience for your command line needs.  You will however, need to be in Developer mode to make it happen.

    For Dev mode (will wipe local storage):

    Press {Esc–> (otherwise ‘F2’) + power} simultaneously
    At reboot, press ctrl+d
    Press enter at the next prompt (will clear local storage and convert approx. 8min)
    Press ctrl+d at the red exclamation mark and your in

    For Dev Console:

    Press {ctrl+alt+ –>} anytime in Chrome OS
    Login as user chronos 
    Have Fun!
    Press {ctrl+alt+ <} to get out of the Dev Console

    Given the date of the article, you’ve likely acquired this knowledge by now…just having one of those sleepless nights and wanted to help a brotha out.

    Keep up the good reads!

    • Hi Blake, thanks for commenting. I have used dev mode and you’re right, it solves a lot of problems. Thanks for adding the info… very helpful.

      I would still love to see Google expose the shell in regular mode. Not sure why it needs to be a secret. I always thought Apple was brilliant in this space. Just bellow all the OSX candy (and bloat), with a click of a mouse, is beautiful BSD! They had me at 10.0!

      But there I go looking in the mouth of their generously supplied horse…

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