Chromebook Experiment – Day One:

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OK, so it’s been about 24 hours since I started using the Acer C720P Chromebook, and it’s time for some first impressions.

First of all, let me just say that the Chromebook is the fastest booting electronic computing device I’ve ever seen. Period. Seriously, I have CFL light bulbs that take longer to fire up then the Chromebook.

With that said, there are some areas when the Chromebooks performance can be a little laggy. For example, when downloading a 800 Meg video file, other websites were very slow to load and streaming video was a buffer frenzy. I’m not sure if that a limitation of the OS or a limitation of the hardware. It seems like under load it just wants more than 2 gig of RAM to be happy even though the built in task manager showed I was only using 1.3 Gb of RAM with 8 working tabs/windows open. (Full disclosure, the full blown geek in me immediately took the back of the computer off to see if I could upgrade the RAM, Short answer… no.)

But even with slower then normal page loads during load it was still responsive and it wasn’t an unbearable burden. When the download was done it went back to normal.

The Chromebook keyboard is also a little different then you might be used to if you’re coming from a Mac or PC. The top row of buttons are ChromeOS specific and once you figure them out then they can be really helpful getting around the OS.

So… Let’s talk apps; specifically business apps available for the Chromebook. I’ve used Google Docs on and off, but I have not used it for quite a while. It’s matured a bit since my last visit and I can say that it’s without a doubt a very competent suite of software. The Docs, Sheet and Slides apps are laid out as you would expect to see the and are very similar to other office suites you have used in the past, but they are free!

The Google Docs suite works seamlessly with Google Drive, Google’s cloud based storage device and you can get 15 GB of space for free. The Chromebook came with an offer to increase the Drive space to 100 GB for two years for free, so needless to say I activated that feature immediately. So with 100 gb of space in the cloud and 32 gig in the Chromebook I don’t think space is going to be an issue. Content created in Google Docs is automatically saved on Google Drive, in the Docs format, but any file can be downloaded and saved as a Microsoft Office, PDF, Openoffice or generic text format.

The Chrome Store also has a wide variety of apps available for download. Many are free, or allow you to start using them for free and you can then upgrade to a “Premium” level, but some do charge a subscription up front. Quickbooks has their Quickbooks Cloud offering available in the store and of course Salesforce has their suite of tools available as well. There are a number of photo and video editing apps available as well. I’ll be looking at some of these as the experiment continues and let you know about each in turn.

Well so far so good. There’s a lot to really like about this experience so far and I’m looking forward to continuing it.

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