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Pros and Cons of Chromebook

Yesterday,I wrote about using my Chromebook for genealogy. Since I have a bit of extra time this morning I thought it would be good to mention a few pros and cons. Yesterdays post was mainly on the positives but there are a few negatives.

The thing that I see as the biggest downside is that if you don’t have an internet connection, the computer seems like a big paperweight and there is little you can do. But I knew that before I bought and intended to use it with WiFi so this is not a problem for me.

Documents on your Google drive are either unavailable or uneditable depending on where you were when you lost the connection. I believe Google has improved that but I haven’t had much luck with it. (I should mention that this is not the new version of the Chromebook).

A minor irritation but one that comes up often if you are typing is that there is a key next to the ‘a’ key and just above the shift key that opens a new tab in the browser (which is Chrome of course). You very quickly realize what has happened and close the new tab and go back to what you were working on.

You do almost everything in Chrome which seems a bit strange at first but you quickly get used to having everything in different Chrome tabs. For example if you edit a document, it is in Google docs and on your Google drive and done in a Chrome tab.

The touchpad is a bit of genius. You can scroll and move around with it like a laptop but it also serves as your mouse. It takes a bit of getting used to it but you can click, highlight, and so forth. Of course, you can add a real mouse via the USB port but that would partly defeat your desire for a small, compact, and secure computer.

So if you are willing to accept its limitations, the Chromebook is a fine second computer. I don’t think many people would be happy with the Chromebook as a main computer.

My main computer is a desktop and I use the Chromebook as a second computer at home and as a small and secure computer when travelling. Depending on your situation the dataplan may be a plus but it is certainly not needed if you are willing to live with WiFi only.

Once again this blog post was made with my Chromebook.

About Jack

I retired in 2008 and so I have more time now to devote to several of my interests The blog here is mainly for my interests in some current events but may have the occasional rant on other subjects. I have also decided to keep my genealogy posts here instead of in a second blog (and so simplify my life a little).
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12 Responses to Pros and Cons of Chromebook

  1. Saqib Ali says:

    I am now officially using a Chromebox at work and at home as my primary computer. I love it – simplicity and speed. 🙂

    The only reason I need to keep my Ubuntu notebook around is Cisco Webex. I use Cisco Webex extensively to collaborate (screensharing) and hold meetings. But Webex doesn’t work on ChromeOS devices. I have submitted this as a feature request on the Cisco forums (see https://communities.cisco.com/thread/22589), but haven’t gotten an ETA yet. Hopefully Cisco will make Webex compatible with ChromeOS soon.

  2. Jack says:

    I really like it too. I am approving this comment now using the wireless network on Amtrak. Glad to hear from a happy user of the chromebook and I am impressed that you are happy with it as your main computer. Good luck with your Cisco request.

  3. reinaldo says:

    I love it. Turn it on and surfing within seconds. I’m a google user and it syncs my google account with all the books marks, history and remembers last pages open etc. However, it works for me as I am always near a wifi connection (chromebooks only work online, do not work offline) and use my iPhone ‘wifi’ connection on the move, this does not have 3G itself. I would perhaps stating the obvious but only buy this if you like chrome browser and its more productive if your a google/gmail user. Doc editing is only achieved online via google docs, skydrive (office web apps) or akin. I share through Dropbox. Getting the picture? Its all online so you need to be happy to use the online productivity tools. USB drives are supported but you need to do the online upload to view/edit the docs. Seriously though, for me, its perfect. None of the windows virus, endless updates and all the rest of it to keep it going… I also like the security, its handles separate page browsing as if separate connections. Early days for “all in the cloud” but it works. As I understand it ChromeOS is an evolution of Android for small laptops/netbooks and it is a great alternative to those of us that prefer a real keyboard to a touch tablet. Performance is average but not lightening, quite reasonable for the money paid. Above average lower end netbook build quality, full size keys cleverly laid out work well. ‘Buttonless mousepad’ a little different but intuitive and was fully used to it after a couple of hours.

  4. Jack says:

    Thanks for your comment. I find myself using the chromebook more as I get used to it. I love the size, portability, security, etc.

  5. Julie says:

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  6. Jacques says:

    I’m thinking of getting a Chrome Book for myself as a tertiary computer–for travelling and taking to school–but I wanted to know, is there truly no functionality offline? For instance, were I on a plane and I had a harddrive full of movies/music would I be able to play them on the chromebook without an internet connection?

  7. Jack says:

    Shortly after I bought mine, they came out with the next generation. So with mine the answer is there is very limited fuctionality without an internet connection (as far as I know anyway). I am not aware of anything that would allow music or movies.

    It seems there are a few apps that have limited function with no internet connection but I’ve not used them. I was of the opinion that part of the reason it booted so quickly and securely was that you couldn’t add much to the hard disk with I beleive is actually some sort of solid state storage. But there is a USB port so you can use a thumb drive but I don’t know anything about functionality.

    The newer chromebooks may be significantly different and I don’t know much about them. Maybe one of the readers here will comment about using the new ones or the old ones without a connection.

  8. Pingback: New generation Chromebook | meThinks

  9. Rocio says:

    i am college student and i recently brought mine, the thing is ..

    i have a dell which i can use at home but i’m not sure if the chrome book will be good for me to use throughout college.. any suggestions ?

  10. Jack says:

    I like it as a second computer but I have had a comment or 2 from someone who uses it as a main computer. The two reservations I would have is that a Chromebook depend on WiFi so you have to worry about will that always be available and a Chromebook is dependent on web software such as Google docs and will that meet all your needs. Good luck in college!

  11. James says:

    Hi, do you think a Chromebook would be good for someone who has never used a computer (but was a secretary in her youth so knows how to type)?

    My Grandma is eager to get a computer as she has friends abroad she’d like to stay in contact with via email – she also collects old postcards and knows the internet is a useful resource for research and so on. She is also into genealogy.


  12. Jack says:

    Hi James,

    The short answer would be “I don’t know”.

    The Chromebook is completely dependent on having a WI-FI connection. So she would need Wi-Fi where she is or go somewhere that has it. Of course you coud also get a data plan with Verizon or the like but that would be a monthly cost. I know the Chromebook does fine with internet email such as gmail but don’t think it I could run any email programs like Thunderbird or Outlook.

    If you have Wi-fi, it does a wonderful job with web surfing and works with web based genealogy such as Ancestry (with or without a subscription). Alos you can keep files online with Goggle drive or similar.

    So a big advantage is low cost; the drawback Wi-Fi is needed and that pretty much everything needs to be web-based. Might be the perfect thing if she can do with those limitations


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