As I explained in this end-of-year post, I no longer require a full-function computer, so I made the decision to try out a Chromebook. Below is a list of new discoveries from day one using my new Samsung Chromebook 2. But first, a shout-out to Amazon who justified their consistently high NPS scores based on their customer service.
When I wrote the above-linked post, I had just ordered an Asus Chromebook Flip. It didn’t take long for me to discover that the Flip was (a) too small and (b) really, really slow. Also, the mini mouse I had ordered was defective, so I requested a return, printed the label, and let UPS come pick them up. Two days later, UPS delivered the Flip again. The exact same Flip that I had returned. A little mixup, but how do you return something twice?? I got on chat with Amazon. They checked it out and were able to see exactly what happened. Without any wasted time, the chat rep gave me my credit (I had already told them I was going to purchase this Samsung Chromebook, so store credit was fine), and I bought my new Chromebook, all within about 5 minutes. Excellent customer service from Amazon.
So, here’s what I found in a full day going full on with the Samsung Chromebook 2.
- It arrived nearly fully charged. A nice surprise. Just turn it on! Remember the last time you bought a Windows PC how much time it took to get started? With Chromebook it’s sign in, connect to WiFi, go.
- Small charger. No mid-cord monster brick. Thus, even less weight for me to lug around.
- 2 USBs and a full-sized HDMI interface. I always use a mouse, and when I’m teaching at GA, I use a Logitech clicky-thingy to advance the slides and their cool A/V system requires HDMI. Check.
- I signed in and it knew everything about me. It’s Google, so you’re logging into your account, and they already know everything about you: saved usernames, bookmarks, history, Calendar, Drive, GMail…everything. I had this same “wow” experience when I used to use an Android phone. My first Android bricked during an upgrade after about a year. When I got the replacement, I signed into my Google account and – voila! – everything was right back where it was supposed to be.
- No “Delete” Key, just a backspace key. This is odd. You can only delete to the left of the cursor, not to the right. However, there’s a simple key combination to make the Backspace button into a delete key: ALT+Backspace. More of those here.
- NO CAPS LOCK. Is this like adapting out of needing our pinky toes? Or is Google trying to discourage people from SCREAMING in emails and other typed communications? Also an easy keyboard workaround here.
- Battery life was > 7+ hours. A pleasant surprise. I’m used to my Lenovo lasting maybe 2 hours on a completely full charge, so working pretty much all day on a single charge is a game changer. As you can see from the image below, it was 12:38PM, so I’d been working on this Chromebook pretty much nonstop for about 5 hours, and it still shows 6+ hours to go. Didn’t quite last that long, but that’s ok.
- 100GB of free storage on Google Drive. A little incentive never hurts. My default Google Storage (15GB) was almost maxed out, so getting a free 100GB just made the transition even easier. When I checked to see how much actual HDD storage I had been using on the Lenovo, it was far less than 100GB, and that included Microsoft Office, which I am ever so happy to delete.
- It’s Chrome, so it just works. The only problems I have ever had with Google Chrome were in the past year. Sometime in 2015 (I think..might have been ’14), Google updated Chrome and it wouldn’t open at all. Happened to everyone who jumped on that update. The fix was to upgrade to the beta version of Chrome, which is a little odd, but it works like a charm. I just recently had another issue in Twitter Ads. It got so bad that I had to resort to using Microsoft Edge. Sacre Bleue! On a side note, IE 8, 9, and 10 officially die next week. Good riddance. There is only one worse piece of software on earth, and that’s Lotus Notes. Is it still alive?
- Day 1 included just one update, which requires a restart, and restarting takes less than 1 minute, so, while you don’t have to update Chrome every time the system alerts you that there’s an update available, it’s easy and fast.
- 2.6lbs feels like a feather compared to my Lenovo cinder block. This feature is the secondary reason for making this switch. My Lenovo – or should I say “my daughter’s new Lenovo” – is more than 4lbs, and just feels like a big huge block. You can pick it up with one hand, but you can’t do much else other than carry it to a new location.
- Added 64GB microSD card, just in case. Amazing how cheap a microSD card is these days. $12 at Amazon.
Keeping track of what I can’t do for a later post. The first thing I’ve found is that I need a simple image editor for Chromebook. I’ve been using Irfanview for years and years. I’m sure I’ll find a few other items that will require some habit changes, and I’ll document them for a future post.