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Saturday, May 10, 2014

You Should Get a Chromebook

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.

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