Recently I came in possession of a Cr-48. The Cr-48 is a test computer built for the sole purpose of testing Google’s new operating system, Chrome OS. How did I get one? I asked them very politely. Google can be very reasonable. And by asking politely, I mean I filled out an application. Anyways, I have been testing it for last couple of months.
I will start with the OS. Chrome OS is basically Chrome the web browser on steroids. Everything works through web apps. These are applications that you can install, but require an internet connection to function. This is a double-edged sword. While it is super awesome that any work that you save is saved online so that you can never lose it, it sucks of you do not have access to internet. But in this modern age we live in, it is hard to find places that don’t have wireless (basically it’s down to my house and the basement of one of the buildings on BYU campus). Of course, if you don’t have wireless, the notebook comes with 100 MB of free data on America’s largest wireless network, Verizon (you can send me the check to my house in New York Verizon).
Anyways, back to apps. There are apps for everything: New York Times, Picnik, games, editing code, everything. One of the great things is the sync ability. This has been a feature of Chrome for a while now, but it’s great. I can setup my Chrome OS so that any bookmarks or apps or settings I change on it will sync with any and all Chrome browsers that I’ve setup to sync. This plays into Google’s idea of living in the cloud. The cloud is great and everything, but I would like the ability to use some of the apps without having to be connected to the internet.
The speed is quite amazing. It takes 10 seconds to shutdown and about 30 to start up. In addition to that it starts up instantly from sleep.
One problem is printing. The only way to print is through Google’s print cloud. To use the print cloud, you need a Windows computer with a printer. You need to connect it to the print cloud, and through magic or something (magic makes Google work) you can print from anywhere to that computer. It’s kinda complicated, but the main problem I have with it is that I don’t have a printer.
Now I’ll write a little bit about the actual computer. I. Love. It. One of the greatest features is that it is solid black and has no brand markings at all (sorry, this won’t be a feature on the retail versions that will be coming out). The keyboard is full sized. It has a 12.1” screen and at less than an inch thick and weighing less than a duck, it is great to take with you everywhere. It has a webcam, but it isn’t that great.
It has one USB port, a VGA port, and an SD card slot. It does not have an Ethernet port. This means it is wireless or you’re screwed. The USB port at this point is basically to plug in a mouse. You do have the ability to plug in flash drives, but the only way to access it is through applications the need access to the computer, like uploading photos to Facebook. This goes for SD cards as well.
A word about the battery life: Amazing. It last for about 9 hours. Yes, some computers have better, but I’m used to a battery life of an hour and a half.
My biggest complaint is the screen brightness. The webcam has a light sensor next to it. This allows the computer to automatically changes the screen brightness depending on the environment you are in. The problem is that it is super sensitive and there is no way to turn it off. The only fix is a piece of tape to cover the sensor.
Also, it has had some trouble connecting to wireless networks. I’m not sure if this is a software or hardware problem, or if it’s my network, but I don’t like it. I think I notice the problem because you have to be connected to do anything.
Overall, Chrome OS is great. You just have to get used to the idea of always needing to be connected to the internet. It’s not your typical OS. Honestly the idea is genius. 90% of the time I spend on my other computers is spent on the internet. So why not have a computer that is used for just that? However, in the future, I would like to have more USB support (external hard drives and such) and better print support.
If you want clarification or anymore information about anything, just shoot me an email at email@example.com
In honor of National Blog About Book on Tape Worm Month, I am blogging about Book on Tape Worm.
Let me begin with a song.
Unfortunately I was not able to attend their last show due to prior engagements (you have ruined my life calculus. Some day I will ruin yours. Mark my words.). But I hope to see them in the future! They have a fantastic sound and I can’t wait to see what else they come out with.