To recap some of the information from the past reviews:
- I have two of these machines: One for me (tech guy) and one for the wonderful woman is my wife, and to whom God did not bless with much in the way of computer skills. I always grab on to new technology quickly, but I figured that if my wife liked it, that is something to take note of.
- My machine has 3G, and, as all 3G Chromebooks, it came with a 2 year contract for 3G service from Verizon (100Mb / Month). My wife’s system is the wifi-only version.
- I purchased a bluetooth mouse. I used the wireless mouse from my wife’s old notebook (which is a Logitech Keyboard and Mouse Combo) on her Chromebook.
- I actually took my wife’s Dell notebook away from her and replaced it with the Chromebook. She uses it every day for browsing the web, facebook, etc.
- I have a plethora of computers and the Chromebook for me is just another in my arsenal. I use it places I would use my iPad, but want to have a keyboard. (I do have a keyboard for my iPad … but it still is kind of clunky to use).
Now for the results:
In a word, SUCCESS! Samsung has put together a great little system in a small package that is great for web browsing and just about any other task that doesn’t require local computing. If this was your own computer, you might be a bit apprehensive about using Google Apps (instead of Microsoft Office), but remember … it’s free! Unless you are doing a lot of sophisticated tasks with office, Google Apps will work just fine for you.
In addition, don’t forget that you get 100gb of cloud storage with your Chromebook, so you can store documents to your heart’s content. This 100gb of storage (via Google Drive) is available to the Chromebook similarly to a hard drive, but it is also available to all of your other computers as well. If you have used DropBox, you will know how to use it. The Google Drive Icon shows up on the explorer under “My Documents” and acts just like locally connected storage. You have to “sign up” for it to have the 100gb turned on, but what a deal this is. After the two years are up, you can either pay the monthly fee to continue with the 100gb of storage or you can just continue to access what you have put out there (you won’t be able to add to the google drive (assuming you have more than 5gb on it by then … which is the amount of free space everyone gets with Google Drive).
Chromebook for the Non-technical user
This machine is great for non-techies. My wife loves this machine. It does almost everything she ever does. The one thing that she hasn’t been able to do is to print some coupons from a coupon site which requires that you install some software on your computer. This doesn’t work because it requires local execution. Frankly, as a tech guy, I’m not wild about that anyway, but it is something she used to do that she can’t do now.
The other thing that hasn’t been great is the mouse. I took the USB dongle for the keyboard/mouse combo and plugged it in to the Chrome Book. It works, but it is really slow and unresponsive. I plan to replace it with a bluetooth mouse soon (read about my experience with the Chrome Book and Bluetooth mouse below).
I have her connected to our home “network printer” via Google Print. Once set up, it gives her trouble-free printing, just as if she was printing from her notebook.
From a technical support standpoint, I love this machine. Despite anti-virus software and training on what to do and not to do when surfing the web, her Windows notebook would inevitably get virus and malware programs that would slow her system to a crawl. About every 6 months, I would have to back stuff up, wipe the hard drive and reinstall windows and her other programs. This was a real pain … and it will never happen with the Chromebook!
Chromebook for the technical user
This machine is also great for techies. I love taking this with me to a meeting, using it on the couch or just playing with it. The other day, I took it to the dealership when I got my oil changed and used it in the customer lounge. It was perfect for that. Since it has 3G, I can take it anywhere and be on the internet. You can do a lot on this little machine even when it isn’t on-line (word processing, spread sheets, etc), but lets face it … it’s made to browse the web. I could see using it on an airplane in off-line mode on occasion, but I wouldn’t want to do it on a regular basis (though in all fairness, I haven’t used it off-line extensively).
The keyboard is good, but if I was going to use it a lot, I’d want a regular keyboard, just as I do for my notebooks.
As I have said in previous articles and previously in this post, I have a bluetooth mouse that is connected to my Chromebook. It works well, though some times when the computer “wakes up”, it doesn’t connect with the mouse. The track pad is also quite usable … I use the “two finger drag down” when surfing the web, and it works great.
Honestly, for what these machines cost, I don’t know why anyone would buy an iPad or a notebook. Google and Samsung have put together a winning package that has VALUE written all over it. When you look at the features of these systems and initial cost, there is no way to beat them. Oh, and I almost forgot … they look GREAT! The are thin, small and silver. Think Mac Air thin. While they don’t have the feel of metal like the Mac Air (because they are plastic), you are also getting them for about $1000 less than the Mac Air.
The WiFi-Only version of the Samsung Chromebook comes with:
- 16gb Local Storage
- 100Gb Cloud Storage
- WiFi (802.11 a/b/g)
- Productivity Apps (like Word processing, spreadsheet, etc) via Google Apps
- Price: $250 (Buy it from Amazon here)
The 3G version of the Samsung Chromebook comes with:
- 16gb Local Storage
- 100Gb Cloud Storage
- 2 years of 100Mb 3G service from Verizon
- WiFi (802.11 a/b/g)
- Productivity Apps (as above)
- Price: $403.95 (Buy it from Amazon here)
This is the way that things are going … mark my words. At the present time, only Acer and Samsung make Chromebooks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some other manufacturer sign up to produce Chromebooks in the future. Right now, the 300 Series Chromebook that Samsung makes are hard to get. They sell out as soon as they come in … and there are limited places where they can be purchased. If you see one and they have it in stock, better buy it!