Your opinion on Chromebook

Discussion in 'hardware' started by emmjay, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    I am considering recommending a family member buy a Chromebook as their next primary system. I am not familiar with Chromebooks other than what I have read by online tech 'experts' (not sure if they are bought off to say good things about certain manufacturers or not). The family member is a novice user. They currently have a 10 year old Toshiba laptop with W7/32 on it - they use Chrome and Gmail - but not much more. They prefer a laptop (clamshell) over a smartphone or tablet. They are totally freaked out on patch Tuesdays - it is beyond funny.

    I'd really appreciate the views of anyone who has a Chromebook or has taken a look at them. Do you think that a W7 novice user (as described above) would be better off with this type of system over a new W10 laptop? Also do you think that they are (hardware wise) worth what they are being sold for?
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    My concern would be who is going to teach this person how to use it? Who is going to help them when things go wrong? If you are the go-to person, are you prepared to learn it so you can fix it?

    It is very easy to make W10 look and feel very much like W7. So to, the learning curve would be much less steep with a new W10 notebook.
     
  3. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    Go for it. I tend to recommend them to people that are insistent that they don't want a tablet. With Chromebooks getting Android apps soon, I may buy one for myself.

    I try reduce the amount of things I need to think or worry about. It's great not having to worry about malware or security or "tweaks", just show them how to use it and go, it's also very self explanatory.

    Very refreshing, a nice change from spending hours wiping and setting up a Windows laptop.
     
  4. virion

    virion Registered Member

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    For a person who mostly uses Chrome and Gmail (and doesn't need software made to run on Windows) I think a Chromebook would be perfect. Three months ago my Mom (who is 80) got an Acer Chromebook 15 (15.6” screen). She has the model with 4 GB of RAM, 16 GB SSD hard drive, and 1920x1080 Full HD screen. Setting it up for her was simple and very quick, which was a welcome change from the Windows set-ups which I normally do. Ublock Origin was pre-installed, and 3rd party cookies are blocked by default. Chrome OS is based on Linux so there is little chance of getting a virus. Updates are totally automatic and invisible. The laptop runs cool and quiet, and battery life is amazing. Mom is doing fine with the Chromebook. Zero problems, so there have been zero “tech support” phone calls.

    The Acer Chromebook 15 like Mom's is on sale thru tonight (Saturday) at the big box electronics store with the initials B.B. The price is $230, including shipping. My wife's friend was planning to buy one today too.

    Is the Acer Chromebook 15 worth $230? Absolutely! With the 1.5 GHz Celeron I was expecting the machine to be a slug, but it really flies. It might be the fastest computer I've ever used. It's at least as fast as our Korora Linux desktop PC (3.3 GHz Core i3, 8 GB of RAM, Evo Pro SSD). I think it would cost at least twice as much (probably more) to get a Windows laptop with similar speed.

    I promise that no one bought me off to say nice things about the Chromebook.
     
  5. Techwiz

    Techwiz Registered Member

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    Cost:
    Chromebooks prices are pretty tiered, appealing to low, mid, and high range devices. I can only comment on the high range, since I decided on the ludicrous speed edition of the Chromebook Pixel 2. Before buying, I played a bit with the really low-end devices at best buy, which were a major disappointment. The selection was almost non-existent and the low ram devices were painful to use running anything more than 1 or 2 tabs. In contrast, any Chromebook with at least 4 GB RAM or more will run smoothly without hick ups. You don't have to spend big bucks on a Chromebook and there are excellent reviews right now for much more affordable models with adequate specs.

    Cloud Printing:
    It's simple to setup. Just install chrome browser on the windows desktop that has the printer software installed. Make sure that computer is connected to the wireless network. Then set up printer sharing and authorize each device that needs to use the printer. The good news, if they have a Chromebook, then cloud print is pretty well integrated. The bad news, if they have chrome browser on a windows machine, it is a messy process to print word documents and other content from your desktop through the browser. The quickest way we found was to install the google office suite of applications or to navigate to the free online versions, import the word document and instruct it to print. Again, this workaround isn't necessary on a Chromebook, so another reason to just buy them one.

    Usage:
    I use my Chromebook as my daily driver for general browsing, checking e-mail, and watching movies. Sometimes I just watch them on the Chromebook, it has a beautiful display (my favorite feature besides the track pad). On movie nights, I cast movies to our HDTV using our Chromecast. A experience the family loves and more than justifies buying a Chromebook and a Chromecast since we can cast anything on our Chromebook to the large screen. I don't get eye strain from working on the Chromebook, like I did on my older windows laptop. Still I enjoy casting to our big screen when I'm casually working some thing. The keyboard took some adjustment coming from a standard qwerty and I didn't really know the short-cuts for chrome, since I converted from firefox. The biggest complaint that your family might have is the inability to install software and reliance upon the chrome web store for apps and extensions. They are working to bring android applications to Chromebooks, which means access to android's version of microsoft office and skype. But I haven't had any trouble using the google equivalents to do the same work. Probably the only issue is getting others on board with hangouts.
     
  6. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    The stress level on novice users is at an all time high and for many it is crippling. Dealing with security issues, OS maintenance and browser safety is beyond frustrating. MS is trying to deal with the situation with W10, but to date it is no less an experiment.

    if a novice stays with Windows are they getting the full value from W10? Are they getting benefit from new hardware features and new silicon on PCs? It seems that the OEMs are primarily velcroed to Windows and more so to the MS Windows Enterprise users. Why pay for something that most users will never benefit from?

    I appreciate Bill Bright raising the 'what if it craps out - who will be able to help'. Good point. My family member does not understand Windows either. We (the helpers) know more about Windows than we do about Chrome OS, so that is a point well taken. I think the learning curve will be minimal on an OEM pre-installed system when it comes to getting started. After that is the big unknown.

    You would think that this would be a no-brainer decision for them, but it is not. Windows has been ingrained in the psyche. Moving away from it is difficult, especially if you are choosing something that is not mainstream.
     
  7. TS4H

    TS4H Registered Member

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    Bought my father a Toshiba Chromebook 2 a couple of years ago. It has a nice 13.3 " 720 screen, 4 GB ram and a celeron CPU. Gets the job done to be honest. Very usable with 10 tabs, youtube etc. But with upcoming Chromebooks, I really recommend at least 8GB RAM and an i3 CPU.

    My father is the most least tech savvy person alive. Iv had a hard time teaching the basics. He first picked up a PC in his late 50's. If it doesn't work his way or the way he thinks it should, it is a stupid machine. This is someone who learned on a XP, and i had to image restore his PC every week. I cant recall how many times he asked me to look into his newfound millions of dollars according to a random spam email. He was sure he was on a winner. Lol. I could go on and on.

    Chromebook was the one he prefers of all the OS's i got him to try, due to simplicity of ease of use. I also love this fact, zero maintenance with backups, av scans etc. He resides in gmail and chrome anyway. Perfect. It takes the hassle away from me as I do not need to constantly answer his questions. No more virus or PC backups or restores. Everything is synced to his google account. I use Chrome remote desktop when there is a problem. The addition of the google play store will be of great benefit. especially the inclusion of skype and other applications that seem to be missing in terms of functionality, but the ability to scan documents is still an issue unfortunately. I installed uBlock and I have utmost confidence in the security that this ecosystem provides.

    The point is that his entire computing experience from the start of his computing resides around chrome and gmail. He has no use for advanced software, or other native applications on windows. So why should be exposed to windows. It will only distract him and the scale will not entice any confidence. Less features equals greater simplicity and confidence which means less questions for the family "techguy". Most of all, the functionality is very fluent across the google ecosystem. ChromeOS takes all the other issues/hassles away from him that he encountered on windows, secures him very well and saves all his data, files, office docs and everything else you can think off. Nothing can get misplaced.

    It is impossible for him to screw it up and that is the point. He has not yet, and its been two years.

    If access to the net and email is all they need, you cant go wrong with ChromeOS.

    Note:

    Be prepared to buy a new Chromebook every 5 years as google will stop supporting older models 5 years from launch. The supported life span is something you really need to look into. No big deal given the price, if they do buy a new one it is as simple as logging in and everything will be as was. Expected EOL for Chromebooks are 5 years of supports and updates. https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6220366

    regards.
     
  8. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    I like my Chromebook and could literally just switch to it if not for my job (to an extent), technical curiosity, and somewhat need for embedded subtitle support (anime fan here). All three reasons can be worked around, especially with what I'm going to say next.

    I'm not going to repeat what has already been said here, but I don't think Chromebooks are strictly for novices. Once you unlock the full Linux terminal with Developer Mode, you can do all sorts of things including running Ubuntu on top of it as a chroot (crouton).

    I guess the biggest thing I will miss are games, but I seldom play those unless friends are over anyhow. Got a Chromebit recently for my family, and it's working out pretty well. Just don't like that I needed to set up a new Gmail account and secure it.
     
  9. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    Tnx for that info. I was totally unaware of it. Replacing the hardware every 5 years will be something to get one's head around., especially for the family member in question. They are used to stuff lasting until the wheels fall off. Are you saying that no other OS could run on that particular laptop after its Chrome OS expires or just the next generation Chrome OS? Getting a middle of the road ChromeBook may be the best way to go. The CPU on the other hand - I am not too sure about that.

    PS: The story about your Dad was great. Hits home for a lot of people. Tnx for sharing.
     
  10. TS4H

    TS4H Registered Member

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    Well in terms of long term use, chromebook should continue to run fine except it will not receive any updates officially by google. There are developer options that enable you to install linux on some models if you wish. However this may be deciding factor for some? Would they be prepared to purchase a new chromebook every 5 years?

    Im not sure about custom flashing ChromeOS either on EOL chromebooks. There is no reason for the hardware to fail or not to support linux after the fact, or a potentially flashed chromeOS as long as the cpu is intel. NVidia chips or any other cpu's that chromebooks offer is still uncertain. ie im not sure if these chips allow a custom install in developer mode. I have never really looked that far into it.

    Lol yes it still makes me laugh. Though I give him credit, he has learned alot...slowly. For this reason I agree with you with regards to the stress that this technology can cause. A novice user sees the whole idea totally differently and something that should be mundane can be a real problem for some.

    regards.
     
  11. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    To be fair Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive devices, and 5 years is a long time for support.
     
  12. Nightwalker

    Nightwalker Registered Member

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    Soon Cromebooks will be able to run Android apps, it will be a huge paradigm change (Chrome/online dependency) and it will allow ChromeOS to have a huge ecosystem.
    For some people it will be a better choice compared to Macs and Windows notebooks ...
     
  13. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Does the lack of updates after five years even matter that much? My Android tablet stopped receiving updates over 2 years ago, and to me this isn't a big deal.
     
  14. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    The EOL Policy states ' no more software updates'. I assume it means release, maintenance and security updates.
     
  15. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    You won't be able to upgrade to new builds of Chrome OS. But, if you can live without running the latest version, then it won't matter.
     
  16. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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  17. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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  18. Malwar

    Malwar Registered Member

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    Yes a Chromebook would be perfect for them and updates to Chrome OS are literally less than 8 seconds it only takes as long as it takes your internet to download and then restart your Chromebook and that part takes 7 seconds to fully power back on really no update process like Windows, Chrome OS is way faster and simpler. I have been a Windows user all my life started when I was around 4 years old playing Star Wars and using paint lol and now I am 19 and used to use word, GIMP, etc. I can do anything I want to do on a Windows in a Chromebook in a more secure fashion especially since Google is adding android apps to the OS and I do not miss Windows at all tbh. I gave my sister my windows PC to play with a few times she always messes it up installs useless programs etc. and even managed to mess it up in time-freeze mode I guess I forgot the password to put in the program because it was a new fresh install of windows for her and time-freeze well anyways I fixed it with an image no big deal I keep everything valuable backed up to my Google Drive and a 1TB external hard drive I gave her my Chromebook on a supervised account and she did not mess up anything, even on my moms and my admin account she did not mess up anything, so I love Chromebooks and they really do what they say they do Simple, Fast, Secure OS and they keep getting better and faster not slower and worse like Windows. It takes a lot of the stress out just being able to enjoy life without worrying about your PC.

    Thanks,
    Malwar
     
  19. RJK3

    RJK3 Registered Member

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    Maybe obvious advice, but you could take her into a store where she could try one out.
     
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