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Chromebooks are popping up everywhere. They are not powerhouses in terms of specs on paper, but they are still popular. Let me explain to you why I love my chromebook.

The chromebook that I currently have is the Acer C720. This is an older chromebook, but I can do almost everything I need for work and play. I provide IT services for multiple customers and I was looking for a device that is portable enough for me to move back and forth between multiple locations. At first I considered a tablet, but without a physical keyboard, it is very difficult to type fast and be productive. Let’s face it, typing with your thumbs or using one finger at a time is not ideal. All of the servers I setup for my customers can be administered through a web browser. I tried using the web browser on a smartphone and tablet, but the experience was horrible. Even with “Desktop Site” enabled, the scaling was just off and was difficult to navigate. The advantage of a chromebook is that you will always have the desktop version of a website instead of a mobile version. I can also remotely control my own computers or a customer’s computer if they need me to troubleshoot something for them.

When I was a graduate student, the chromebook fulfilled all of my needs for school. The chromebook will not be perfect for all students. Since was a business and IT student, I did not use specialized software that is only found on Windows or Mac. Using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have replaced Microsoft Office for me. If you try using the android or IOS apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slide, you will most likely have very crippled office applications. However, since you are getting full websites on a chromebook, the transition from Microsoft Office to Google Docs was seamless. Because my professors always request APA format for my papers, I was very happy that I was able to format my papers correctly on the chromebook.

It is great that streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and CrunchyRoll work well on the C720. If you install an ad blocker onto a chromebook, almost all ads from YouTube are blocked. Because of this feature, I find myself watching more video content from the chromebook instead of my phablet or tablet.

I have heard some people say that chromebooks are useless bricks without the internet. I would like to say that this is not true. Without internet connection, I can still access my documents from Drive. I can even edit my documents offline as well. The second my chromebook has internet access again, all of the changes I made in Google Drive or Google Docs are synced. I was also able to play movies and music that are stored on an SD card. Even without an internet connection, it is possible to still be productive. I will admit that you can’t do everything on a chromebook without internet connection. When you think about it, what will you use your Windows or Mac PC for if you do not have an internet connection? I remember when my home internet connection was down for maintenance, my wife never touched her Windows PC or tablet. When the internet connection was up and running again, she was using her devices again.

Because of how chromebooks are setup, you are getting a very personalized device. When you sign-in to your chromebook, you see your bookmarks, apps, and search history. If you are a fan of Google Now, you will also see the same notifications on the chromebook.

So far, I have commented a lot about the positive side of chromebooks and the C720. Now it is time to talk about some things that I think can be improved. With most chromebooks being marketed as budget devices, the screen is a common issue that people have with them. The Acer C720 also has a screen that is not the best in the world. For the price, it is acceptable, but you are not getting a screen that is ideal for photo editing. There are some great photo editing apps for chromebooks, but because of the quality of the screen, your adjustments to the brightness and contrast of a picture will be off. How you adjust pictures on the C720 may look good, but when you look at the picture on another device, it may look slightly different. The lack of an ethernet port on most chromebooks is also an issue that I have. It is great that this is a wifi device. The problem is that many public wifi spots such as your local library or coffee shop may have poor quality wifi access points. In these cases, an ethernet connection will be much more reliable. Printing is one of the most inconvenient things to do on a chromebook. You cannot directly connect a printer to your chromebook. You would need a printer that is Google Cloud Print ready or setup a Windows/Mac/Linux computer with a printer and Google Cloud Print. Printing on a chromebook is a definite fail. Although printing from a chromebook is very inconvenient, I realized that I don’t print many documents. Customers that I work with want invoices emailed to them instead of mailed. When I was a graduate student, my professors wanted electronic copies of my work since it was easier for them. Overall, my printing needs are very low to begin with. That is about it for the cons that I have with chromebooks as a whole.

Remember that when you are purchasing the C720 or any chromebook, understand that the operating system is different. I notice that many people get this and think it is a cheap laptop with Windows and are disappointed. Before buying a chromebook, you can test out its functionality by downloading the Chrome web browser on your current computer. Checkout the Chrome app store and start testing out different applications. Anything you can do in the Chrome web browser, you can do in a Chromebook.

Even though chromebooks and the C720 has its cons, I am still love my chromebook. It is lighting fast. Because it is so fast, I rarely touch my traditional laptop or desktop. I can do about 90% of what I need to do on a chromebook. Because of my chromebook, I feel more productive whether I am at my desk or offsite. Another great thing about chromebooks are that all of my files are in the cloud. Since all of my documents are in the cloud, I’m don’t have to worry about forgetting a USB drive that may or may not have the documents I need. I thought that phablets will help me get more work done because of the larger screen. I now believe that chromebooks allow me to do more work than my Note 4.

9 Comments

  1. Chandra

    Dennis, thank you for your honest opinion on your Chromebook.  I recently purchased a Toshiba Chromebook 1080p resolution, and absolutely love it.  As you said, 90% of what I need to do (Internet, Email, You Tube) I can do it right here.  I even installed Chromecast and am broadcasting stuff onto my TV.  I agree that it’s a great price for the value.  Best,
    Chandra

    1. Dennis

      Hello Chandra,

      Thanks for responding to my post. Chromebooks are great for everyday tasks and even work. It’s a shame that not many people are aware of what chromebooks are capable of. I do admit that when I first heard about chromebooks, I was a non-believer. It took me about a month of research and testing things out in Chrome to learn about how great these chromebooks are. I think if I upgraded to a chromebook such as the recent Toshiba Chromebook 2, then my issues with photo editing/screen quality would be solved. I actually use almost all of Google’s services, so a chromebook really works well for my own purposes.

      Take care,
      Dennis

  2. Viviana

    Dennis,  Thank you for your opinion on Chromebooks.  I have twin daughters in the 12th grade and their laptops from 2011 have had it.  One still works, but is extremely slow.  The other is just plain dead.  Anyway since I now have 2 purchase two laptops ASAP, I cannot afford to spend into the thousands as is the case if I were to purchase macbooks.  So I came across the chromebook in my search and was curious about it because of the low affordable price.  My daughters do use mostly google docs for their school work. For that reason I am leaning more and more toward purchasing 2 chromebooks.  My question, to you is what would you recommend is the best kind of chromebook for use by 2 highschool seniors?  

    1. Dennis

      There are many different options for Chromebooks for school. It really depends on what your daughters will be doing on the computer. My current Chromebook is an Acer C720. This is an older Chromebook that has great performance, but does not have an HD screen. In the past I did not care about having an HD screen. Since I have been getting more involved in photo editing, a Chromebook with an HD screen is ideal. For everyday homework, class projects, or social networking such as Facebook, any Chromebook will do. If your daughters plan to use their Chromebooks to play online games, you may want to look for a Chromebook that has an Intel processor instead of the Rockchip that lower end Chromebooks have. Also, if your daughters are also into photo editing or enjoy watching movies, a Chromebook with an HD screen is ideal. You may have noticed that I said a lot of good things about having an HD screen. An HD screen is a luxury. My current Chromebook may not have an HD screen, but it does not mean that the display is bad. If your daughters need an application that is only found on Windows or Mac, then the Chromebook is not a good option. I have noticed that most schools in my area are using Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets for assignments, so I’m assuming that Chromebooks will be a good fit for your daughters. When I was in college, I was able to do everything from my Chromebook because my courses did not require specific software applications. One of the most popular Chromebooks out is the Toshiba Chromebook 2. I tend to trust brands such as Acer and Toshiba for Chromebooks. I suggest that you give Chromebooks a shot. There is almost no maintenance for them. I have have used my Chromebook for over two years and it is still running strong with about 8 hours of battery life. Also, my current Chromebook was a store display model. Chromebooks come in different sizes. For portability reasons, I stick with models that are between 11 inches and 13 inches. There are also 15 inch models, but I’m not sure how easy it will be for your daughters to carry around to each class. You could try taking your daughters to a store to try out different Chromebooks to see what size they like. If you have anymore questions, you are welcome to ask.

    2. Dennis

      There is one more thing I forgot to mention. When testing a Chromebook in a store, try to make sure that the store has a good internet connection. I noticed that some stores will have Chromebooks on display, but there is no Internet connection in the store. Yes, you can do work, listen to music, or watch movies on a Chromebook without an Internet connection, but the overall experience will be limited. The Chromebook really shines when there is an Internet connection. I’m not sure what state you are from, but in my area, we have stores like Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics. Of these two stores, it was much better testing a Chromebook from Best Buy because the staff actually makes sure that there is an Internet connection available for all display models. There is definitely a “Wow” factor when you log into a Chromebook in the store and see all of your saved bookmarks, documents from Google Drive, and applications from Chrome.

  3. Gabrielle

    Hello and thank you for that article you weren’t definitively praise chromebook but weren’t  knocking them either.
    Since I already use the Chrome browser search engine email etc I have been really considering a chromebook. It would most definitely get rid of all the windows priority  junk and give me the things I want not what a company wants me to have.
    I do have a question though. Since I am visually challenged I’m curious about the accessibility content within chrome.  The notebook I have is an asus windows 7 system it’s big it’s bulky and heavy but I have customized it with as many chrome add on’s as I can get but I am unsure because of the Chrome/windows mix what I would be gaining or losing.

    1. Dennis

      Sorry for the late response. With any chromebook, there are features such as screen magnification, high contrast mode, and spoken feedback. Since I do not use these features, I can’t really tell you how great they are. However, my daughter uses the spoken feedback feature to help them understand how to use a chromebook. My daughter is 2 years old. The spoken feedback feature tells you what you are clicking on. For example, if I click on a tab, it would tell me that I’m clicking on a tab and highlight the tab. Also, when typing, it would tell me each letter that I type. Since I type fast, I can’t understand what is being said. When my daughter types on the keyboard, she is typing very slow. This is good since the chromebook is telling her each letter. The spoken feedback is also sounds very clear. When highlighting blocks of text, the spoken feedback feature reads what is highlighted.

    1. Dennis

      Hello Rick,

      I haven’t had the chance to us the specific chromebook that you are considering. I have seen it in a store and played with it, but haven’t used it in my daily life. Because I do a lot of work on my chromebook, a 15.6 inch model will probably help with long hours of typing and reading. As of today, I’m still using my 11 inch C720 for everything. It is still a good chromebook, but the benefits of the size of a 15 inch model will be easier on my hands and eyes. The main downside I see with the 15 inch model is portability.

      I’m going to share a link to a youtube video. It is a video of a review for the 4gb memory version of the chromebook that you are looking at.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7V0qBmlTVI

      The additional memory is great if you do plan on multitasking, especially if you are using Google Docs or Sheets. On smaller documents and spreadsheets, 2gb of memory is fine. If you start working on large documents with pictures or spreadsheets with thousands of rows, do yourself a favor and get the 4gb model.

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