The Chromebook One Month Later: Tantalizingly Close But Still Feels Beta

Wait. Why Do I Have A Desktop?

This is the desktop on my Samsung Chromebook.

Two things should jump out at you.

1. It’s awesomely reminiscent of Mac OS (but slightly sexier)


2. Why the heck do I have a desktop on my Chromebook?

The answer to 2 is that I shouldn’t, but I have to.

As everyone who’s been reading lately knows, I am an unabashed fan of the idea of ChromeOS and Chromebooks in general. A super light, super quick OS that is essentially just a web browser with a file manager built-in? In a world where most users either do, or could if properly informed, spend all of their time in a web browser, ChromeOS is a computing philosophy that feels perfect. It’s certainly the shape of things to come.

In practice the idea mostly holds up. I’ve used my Samsung Series 5 as my primary machine for the past month and, with very few exceptions, it’s functioned exactly as I’d expected it to. Samsung’s claims of an eight-hour battery life have more than held up; I do most of my work from coffee shops and client’s offices and I haven’t had to pack my charging cable once. In fact, most days I get home and still get an hour or two of use out of the machine before I finally see the low battery warning.

Likewise, the Chromebook’s footprint is nigh perfect. I hate the cramped feel of a netbook, but I also hate the weight and bulk of most laptops. The Series 5 straddles the gap between the two quite nicely. It’s almost as compact as a netbook, but the slightly larger screen and full size keyboard make it feel far less like a toy than comparable offerings from ASUS, Acer and Dell.

Web browsing is terrific; the wi-fi radio seems to have a better range than that in any of the notebooks I’ve used in the last year, which means that, compared to my wife’s Macbook on our home wi-fi network, I get far less signal and drop issues. Occasionally I’ve run into the too-many-tabs= uber-lag issues that others have reported, but with every OS update those occurrences happen less and less frequently.

But the Chromebook does have a few failings. And, unfortunately, the areas it fails at are fairly crippling. [Read more...]