Chrome

Chrome OS - My thoughts on the CR-48 after a month of use

So I have been using the Google Chrome OS Cr-48 for about a month now. Here are some of my thoughts:

This computer has been great as a backup computer. I have my laptop basically stationary as a desktop with a mouse and external hard drive plugged in. When I need a mobile computer, I would much rather take the CR-48. I don't even need to worry about the power cord since the battery power is so good. It is small and portable. I enjoy the keyboard and it is a fun computer to use and showoff.

That is about all the good I have to say.

Unfortunately, the CR-48 is still pretty buggy. As a concept it is decent but lacking. As a computer it is almost painful to use at times. For only running one thing (a browser) is can be slow. Video streaming is laggy (especially on hulu.com). Wireless connectivity is weak and unreliable.

Here is a quick pro/con list:





Pros:

  • Great as a backup computer. Very portable.
  • Runs (obviously) Google Chrome. This is my favorite browser; mostly because the sync feature is absolutely amazing. This single feature is why I use Chrome instead of Firefox. With sync, I can have all my bookmarks and extensions up and running in about a minute.
  • Great battery power. This would be awesome to use for taking notes in class or something to that effect.
  • Being able to connect to Verizon 3g is pretty cool (at least the fact that it is free is great). 
  • It is simple. Sometimes simple is good (sometimes not). 
  • Track pad. A lot of people have talked bad about this. While I don't think it is perfect, I have not had many problems with it and for the most part, enjoy using it.
  • Fast startup time.
Cons:
  • Buggy. Even after (or especially after) updates. After one of the first updates, the volume buttons stopped working. I no longer have the ability to adjust the volume on my computer.
  • Wireless problems. It will at times intermittently stop working even though the Wi-Fi is still connected. To fix this I have to do a reboot. This is especially annoying since this computer is useless without the Internet.
  • Weak Wi-Fi. As if the wi-fi problems weren't bad enough, the wi-fi antenna is pretty weak and does not work in all areas of the house. 
  • No (real) file browser. This is perhaps the biggest annoyance for me. You can enable a pseudo file browser by typing chrome://flags/ in the URL bar. This seems to work decently on small USB drives or SD cards but either took much too long or simply did not work on my external hard drive. You can also enable a media player to view the files on your now enabled file browser, but it never seemed to work for me.
  • Useless if not connected to the web.
  • Slow video. To me, if you can't view a video on hulu, then the computer is simply too slow. 
  • Limited keyboard. Even though I like the keyboard, I miss some very important keys. Namely the delete key. Backspace is not sufficient. If they are going to limit the number of keys, they should at least make the keyboard easily configurable so I can use keys I don't use for keys I would use. For instance; since the media keys don't even do anything right now, it would be nice if I could at least use one of them for a delete key.
One Month Conclusion:
I have been using the CR-48 as my primary computer for nearly a week now because I sold my computer and am waiting for my new one to arrive in the mail. This has been a painful week. There are many projects I have put on hold because there is simply no way to do them on the Crome OS computer. 

For one day I even installed Ubuntu on the computer. While this provided temporary relief for some problems, it also created new ones and ultimately did not last for more than a day before it crashed and became unusable.

While I love Google to death, I would have to say that the CR-48 is not really working. It can. But it is not. I simply cannot see Chrome OS as anything more than a backup computer. Perhaps that is Google's intent.

Things that need to be fixed before Chrome OS will be accepted by me:
  • Decent file browser. It would indeed be nice if everyone and everything was on the cloud, but that is not and never will be the case. Chrome OS needs a way to save, transfer and edit certain files.
  • Less bugs. Chrome-OS seems to be getting worse after every update. I am sure this is not the case, but it sure seems like it.
  • Customization. Chrome OS will always be somewhat limiting. That is fine, but there needs to be some things that a user can configure. The keyboard should be at the front of that list.
  • Speed. This is a hardware issue for sure; Google needs to be careful what hardware this is released on.
  • Reliable and strong wi-fi. If you are going to make a computer dependent on wi-fi, you need to make sure that it actually works.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my TutorialGeek.net website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!

2 comments:

  1. Firefox also does sync, you know ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, but unless something has changed recently, it does not sync extensions. That is what I care for. I have enough extensions that it is a huge bother to have to go through and install them one by one.

    ReplyDelete

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