Saturday, May 10, 2014
Chances are you have heard about Google Chromebooks but are unsure exactly what they are and what they offer as opposed to standard personal computers. While Microsoft’s Windows dominates the laptop and desktop space, Google’s ChromeOS, which powers Chromebooks, does things a bit differently.
What exactly is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a personal computer that runs on Google’s ChromeOS. Google’s ChromeOS is best described as using only your Chrome Browser on any computer and relying on web apps and cloud storage. While this may seem a little impractical and restrictive, Google sees this as an opportunity to change the way we interact with our online content.
And this is where the Acer c720 (Late 2013) comes in.
The Acer c720 is a Chromebook laptop that is sleek, light, and fast. The c720 comes in at 2.8 pounds and has a great 11.6 inch TN display. The island keyboard is very good and makes long typing sessions a breeze. The c720 uses an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based off the Haswell architecture which results in excellent performance and an outstanding 8+ hour battery life. The 16GB SSD allows the c720 to boot from sleep in 2 seconds and from a shut down state in 7 seconds. Virus protection is built in as the ChromeOS is very secure due to the lack of executable programs.
The best part? Its only $199. A steal for what you get as a total package.
But can these Chromebooks replace your main computer? Should they?
The easy answer is no. But that’s not the point of a Chromebook.
Quick and exceptional browsing experience
The best way to understand a Chromebook is to actually use one. You turn on the c720 and you’re on in 5-7 seconds. You login via your Google Account and you’re up and ready in 10 seconds total. Your Google account syncs your Chrome Browser theme, bookmarks, and extensions creating the same personal browsing experience as on your main computer.
You are now in the Chrome Browser. Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, YouTube, Netflix, etc. This is an excellent way to consume media as you are up and running quickly in a desktop browser with a full keyboard, 11.6 inch screen, and a long battery life.
The Intel Haswell processor and 2GB of ram does a tremendous job of handling everything you throw at it. 10-15 open tabs are handled well with no slowdowns.
The Lightweight Champion
Due to the lightweight nature of the ChromeOS, since it only runs the Chrome browser, and the constant updates by Google, your Chromebook will be just as fast in the future as it is now. The included Solid State Drive and Haswell combo makes everything quick and snappy. The small build and weight makes the c720 very portable and the long lasting battery will ensure that you won’t be longing for an outlet in the middle of your day. Chromebooks aren’t very processor intensive so there is very little heat to worry about. There are no programs to startup except for the Chrome Browser as you do everything on the web.
Robust Google and Web Apps
Let’s face it. This isn’t Windows and there aren't any Windows Programs. So you won’t be running a full version of Microsoft Office anytime soon. What you will be using is Google’s robust array of online apps. Google Drive offers an admirable suite of Document editing with DOCX support as well as Spreadsheets and Slide Show Presentations. Then there are the mainstays that anyone with a Google account knows about. Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Google+, Hangouts, Play Music, Keep, Maps, and Google’s Chrome Store which has many more online apps like Pocket, Evernote, and Pandora.
Microsoft has just released Microsoft Word Online on the Chrome Store for free as well.
Remember, this is a full browser. Just like a PC laptop or desktop. Everything is supported and runs as well as it should.
I’m afraid you've misjudged me
A Chromebook is not going to impress you with high end capability or its impressive build quality save for the Chromebook Pixel. What you are going to get is an impressive all around device at a price point that seems too good to be true.
Chromebooks are advertised by Google as your 1st computer, your 2nd computer, or for first timers. I believe this is an unique way to think about Chromebooks. A child in elementary, high school, or even college, depending on their major, can use a Chromebook for just about anything both educational and recreational. A first time computer user, like my dad, can browse the web for things that interest him without worrying about programs, viruses, and maintenance. It’s truly a hassle free way to experience the web.
And for those reading this article, Chromebooks work really well as a 2nd computer. Something you can pick up and play with a big screen, mousepad and keyboard, and a full Chrome Browser.
It’s my go to device for editing documents as I can work on an article for a long period of time due to the battery, close the device so it sleeps and everything is already saved in the cloud, and continue working quickly with a 2 second boot from sleep.
From watching YouTube, to replying to emails, from writing Google Docs, to reading the Verge and posting on Facebook, Chromebooks do exactly what you want them to do and that is accessing the internet quickly and efficiently. It is a great supplement to your smartphone and laptop and I find myself reaching more and more for my Chromebook than my Windows 8.1 Haswell laptop. Sure, it can’t do a lot of things but that’s not going to stop me from recommending you try one for yourself and the Acer c720 offers the best Chromebook experience, both price and performance wise, that money can buy.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Seeing as the Moto G has been released in emerging markets, the wait for a US launch becomes that much harder. In my previous article, I wrote that the Moto G is a game changer. Early reviews highly recommend the device due to its good quality, fast performance, and price. When the Moto G releases in early 2014 in the US, I expect a similar reception as well. Although there is a big omission in the Moto G that may affect the perception of the device and its sales. The lack of an LTE antenna is a big issue in a nation with robust and soon to be robust LTE networks on various carriers. With LTE being the new standard in wireless, this omission may cast a dark shadow on the Moto G as not being up to date and possibly being viewed as slow. But is LTE really that important and that much faster? Is it really that big a deal for the Moto G? I don’t think so and hopefully, after you read this article, you won’t either.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
On Wednesday November 13, Motorola announced the Moto G, a low cost version of its Moto X flagship. The phone consists of 4.5 inch 720p display, Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. Seems like a basic budget smartphone phone for 2013 but the price is what makes this device stand out. Starting at $179 for 8GB and $199 for 16GB off contract, this low cost Moto G looks to shake things up in a landscape dominated by $500-$600 smartphones.
Google likes to talk about the next billion devices for Android but the Moto G really shows the path to the next billion sold. The Google Nexus line has started a race to the bottom in terms of cost in order to get as many smartphones as possible in the hands of those that don't have one yet. And Motorola, now a Google Company, has made another big push for that ambitious goal.
There are a lot of drawbacks when buying a budget Android smartphone on a US carrier as they are less likely to get Android updates and are nowhere near as powerful as their flagship counterparts. Another option is buying an old flagship device but these are usually running old hardware, are probably done receiving updates, and just don't perform as well as they once did. The Moto G, on the other hand, looks to be a good balance of power and price.
- 4.5 inch 720p TFT LCD Display
- Quad Core Snapdragon 400 Processor
- 1 GB of RAM
- 8 or 16 GB of internal storage
- 5 Megapixel Camera with LED Flash and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
- "Android 4.3 Jellybean, the most up to date Android of any phone in its class, with a guaranteed upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat"
- 19 customization options in removable colored back covers
- 21 HSPA+ (NO LTE)
- 2070mah Non-Removable Battery, Motorola optimizations allow for 24 hour mixed usage
For $179, this a good combination of hardware and software. While you won't get the customization options that the Moto X has, a pure stock Android software experience on optimized hardware can really help this phone shine. Motorola wants to take a page out of the Moto X by making a phone that feels fast without high end specs and without hurting your wallet.
The big omission is LTE but since the emerging markets are the focus of this phone this omission is to be expected since LTE networks aren't as robust or even available. A US launch is targeted for January 2014 and it remains to be since if LTE will be added. This will be a great phone for those on a budget as this device will be available on both GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile and CDMA networks such as Sprint and Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile both have robust 3G/HSPA+ networks that this phone can take advantage of.
With a price this low, the smartphone race to the bottom heats up and hopefully those still on feature phones can make the jump to a seemingly quality product. Even though other companies are readying and releasing smartphones at the same or lower cost like Nokia and Mozilla, the Moto G has one thing going for it that those other products don't have. The dominant force that is Google Android and its many Google Services.
Friday, November 8, 2013
After much anticipation and waiting, The Nexus 5 is available for purchase on the Google Play Store. The Nexus Line pushes the boundaries of what is considered to be a high end Android device while at the same time strives to keep the retail cost down. This unlocked behemoth starts at $349 and consists of some of the best specs we have seen to date. But is it any good? Is it worth dropping Verizon and heading over to AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint?
This is the Google Nexus 5.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
After a Christmas delay, I'm back with another article! Thanks for reading my previous article on The Gingerbread Problem.
With streaming devices like the Roku, Apple TV, and Google TV set top boxes highly available, it seems that consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to consuming media. These devices allow users to stream and rent video from many different services but have very limited app selection, can be expensive, and each have their own drawbacks and limitations.
But what if I told you that was about to change? That there is a growing market in the tech industry just around the corner that can very well shape the landscape the way tablets did?
A device that has all the internals that a Android phone/tablet has but with no screen. What it does have is a HDMI output that allows it to connect to your existing HD television. All while running on the latest version of Android with a dual core processor and smaller than any set top box on the market.
The asking price?
A mere $60 USD.
This is an Android Mini PC. A device that makes your dumb HDTV into a Smart HDTV. A device capable of vast media playback and support for over 700,000 Android applications. An Android device without the screen.
A device filled with endless possibilities.