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Kain Young

Chromebook Docking Stations: What They Do and How to Pick One

By | Accessories | No Comments

Ports, Portability and Charging — Problems Solved

Isn’t the whole point of a Chromebook that you can take your work anywhere — including all the peripherals you rely on? That’s where docking stations for Chromebooks come in.

No outlets? No problem.  Short on USB ports? A docking station has you covered. Whether you’re using your Chromebook for education, business or personal use, chances are you’ll need to connect something to it at some point.   And with thumb drives, webcam set-ups, SD cards, your mouse, a keyboard and dual monitor set-ups — you’re going to run out of USB ports, guaranteed.

Here’s a run-down of what works, and how:

Types of Docking Stations for Chromebook

  1. Replicators – These allow you to focus purely on adding extra ports to your Chromebook and are a slimline version if you only want an extra port for your mouse or external hard drive.
  2. Desk Docks – These are usually all-inclusive options that provide everything you need and allow you to physically “dock” your Chromebook for charging.
  3. Portable Stations – These are more mobile and are travel friendly, offering a slimline alternative but with a few restrictive features.

Let’s look at three types of docking stations to complement your Chromebook as well as some things to consider before buying.

1. Wavlink USB 3.1 Universal Docking Station

The “Wavlink USB 3.1 Type C Display Universal Docking Station” with power delivery is a popular docking station for Chromebooks. It has 4K video support as well as an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C downstream port. It also offers high-speed connectivity that allows you to transfer data up to 10Gbps and a Gigabit Ethernet port providing up to 1000Mbps network speeds.

For business use, this docking station comes with a power port that is compatible with the Chromebook Pixel, meaning you can sync and charge your laptop at once, getting more done in less time.  It’s an easily portable model with a shockproof pad and aluminum foldable cover making it sturdy and long-lasting.

Compatibility: Your device should have a USB C Gen2 port and be VEST ALT Mode compatible. Always check your specific model before ordering.

2. Plugable UD-CA1 USB-C Docking Station

The “Plugable UD-CA1 is a universal USB 3.1 Type-C docking station” and also comes with delivery options and a 4K capable HDMI display output. It boasts audio input/output, ethernet port and 5 USB ports to easily cover your peripherals or other devices, and it allows you to charge at the same time, maintaining battery life.

Compatibility: You need to have a standard USD-IF for charging, and video output requires “VESA DisplayPort Alternate mode over Type-C” (“Alt mode”). Note, the Chromebook Pixel 2015 is not compatible with this dock. Always check your specific model before ordering.

3. Plugable UD-ULTCDL USB-C Triple Display Docking Station

Plugable UD-ULTCDL USB-C Triple Display Docking Station
Another Plugable entry is their flagship “Triple Display Docking Station,” intended for power users. When attached to a system that is compatible, it has the following features: 2 HMDI slots (including one with 4K capabilities), DVI/VGA output, USB-C port with Power Delivery functionality, USB-C port on the front (no power delivery on this one), 4x USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports and headphone and microphone jacks. It also has a Gigabit ethernet slot and thanks to the Alt Mode Connection, the docking station can use the host GPU, so the connected monitor will have the same performance as if it were attached to the Chromebook directly.

Compatibility: To use the HDMI function, ensure that your Chromebook supports “Alt Mode” and always check your specific model before ordering.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Docking Station for the Chromebook

Investing in technology can be scary, but here are some of the things to consider before you do:

  • First and foremost, compatibility. None of the other functions matter if they aren’t compatible with your Chromebook!
  • Your usage. Are you looking to plug a device in, use a different or dual screen or play games? What you are going to use your Chromebook for heavily influences the type you should buy. For example, looking at screen output you want to consider a 4K HMDI port on the station so that you can get clear quality.
  • Nearby outlets. If you are someone who travels a lot, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a docking station with power charging built in. Otherwise, the extra drain of devices on your Chromebook is going to suck the battery life unnecessarily.

Docking stations are a viable way to turn your Chromebook into a desktop — getting the best of both worlds with a system you love.

 

 

 

 

Which is the best coding text editor for ChromeOS? Caret vs. Zed

By | Apps, Reviews | No Comments

If you’re going to code on your Chromebook, you need a web-based text editor designed for programmers with features such as syntax highlighting, tabs or split-view and advanced search functionality. ChromeOS doesn’t have a good text editor built in, so I went looking for the best ChromeOS text editor for developers.

Two options quickly rose to the top – Caret and Zed. I spent a good amount of time testing each one. Let’s see how they compare.

What to look for in a coding text editor

First, it has to work in ChromeOS without installing Linux or going into Developer Mode.

Second, it has to keep working offline.

Third, it needs to display multiple files at once. Tabs or split-view depending on your preference.

It also needs to be highly customizable or hackable, it’s nice to have the ability to configure your code editor exactly the way you want.

The Contestants

Both of the best text editors share some great features. They’re both free and open source. They have themes, so you can change the color scheme easily. Both editors have multiple cursors that let you update text in multiple places at once. The config files for both editors are editable, so you can tweak the settings to your taste. Beyond that, each one has a different feature set.

Caret - coding text editor for Chromebook

Caret

Caret is based on Ace and inspired by Sublime, which you might recognize from other platforms.

Here are the features that make Caret special.

  • It can save to remote storage (indirectly, see FAQ)
  • The “go to anywhere” feature, taken from Sublime, lets you jump to any file.
  • Fuzzy search via the command palette
  • Project browsing
  • Extensible with plugins (experimental / beta)
  • The familiar vim bindings made Caret easy to work in.
  • Tabs make it easy to find the files you were working on.
  • Caret is an actively-developed open source project. The creators resolved the last pull requests just four months ago.

Cons

Caret’s lack of split screen was disappointing.

Zed - coding text editor for Chromeos

Zed

Zed is intended to be a little simpler, but it still has some killer features.

These features made Zed stand out.

  • Code completion and snippets.
  • Linting for some languages (JavaScript, CoffeeScript, JSON, Lua, CSS).
  • Split-view editing, with up to 3 screens, lets you compare and switch between files quickly.
  • Zed is smart – it persists state between sessions.
  • Zed gives you the ability to edit files on any remote server using zedrem (Zed remote editing utility).
  • Minimalist UI design
  • The autosave feature means no need to manually save your files.
  • Zed has Dropbox and Github file support

Cons

  • Zed doesn’t have tabs.
  • The project hasn’t been worked on in a while, last commit was in May 2015.

Check out my top Chromebook picks for Devs

Conclusions – Caret or Zed?

If you like Sublime, you’ll like Caret. Zed is preferred by people who like vim/emacs. Some people see Zed’s minimalist UI design as a con, but as I’m partial to vim this looks great to me.

They’re both great ChromeOS text editors for coding. Which one you choose is going to come down to personal preference. The vim-like interface and split-screen option were the killer features for me, so I’m going with Zed.

Best Wireless Headset for Chromebook

By | Accessories, Reviews | No Comments

Ready to ditch the mess of wires and cords when using your Chromebook? You’re not alone.

Wireless headsets are no longer new technology. At this point, they’re so well established that many of Apple’s products don’t even have an option for wired headphones at all.

Now, the issue isn’t finding an affordable wireless headset – it’s finding the right one for your preferences and needs.

Here’s Chromebook HQ’s definitive guide for finding the best wireless or Bluetooth headset for surfing the web on your computer.

Disclosure: Please note that the links included in this post are affiliate links. Chromebook HQ earns a commission if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on the link. We choose to include products that best suit the needs of Chromebook users, and they’re recommended because they are quality products – not based on commission earned. Please only purchase a product if you feel that it suits your needs or will help achieve your goals.

How to Choose a Wireless Headset for Your Chromebook

The benefits of a wireless headset are straightforward. But most people don’t realize how practical they are until they try one out for the first time. If you plan on accessorizing your Chromebook, a good wireless headset is certainly a worthwhile investment.

Imagine this: You’re in the middle of an informal, last minute session on Google Hangouts. They’ve called just as you were getting your coffee ready. It’s been a minute, and it looks like you’ll be on the phone for at least another 10 minutes.

With a wired headset, you’d have two options. First, you’d have to put the call on hold while you took off your headset to finish making your coffee. Option #2? You’d ruin a perfectly good (and much needed) cuppa because you couldn’t get away.

With a wireless headset, you can get up, walk away from your computer, make your coffee, and not miss a beat.

What to Look For

There are a few things to look for in a wireless headset.

Comfort is paramount. There’s little point in wearing a headset that doesn’t sit right or just plain doesn’t fit. You should be able to wear your headset comfortably for longer periods of time without constantly needing to re-adjust or remove it.

Look for headsets that offer:

  • Padding for comfort
  • Easy to adjust bands
  • Moveable microphones

Audio quality is also an important factor. You’re looking for both high quality audio and noise cancellation to avoid interference.  You’ll also want to look for a high-quality microphone.

Finally, look out for long battery life. Anything under 5 hours isn’t acceptable anymore. Look for a minimum of 8 hours of battery life, but don’t forget about finding a long standby battery life.

Product Reviews

Mpow Bluetooth Headphones

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Comfortable ear pads
  • Long battery life with wired option
  • Foldable design for transport

Cons:

  • Not noise cancelling
  • Microphone only functions in wireless mode
  • Feels muggy after long wear; should take them off every few hours

The Mpow Headphones offer solid sound quality, including passive noise isolating. They don’t have active noise cancellation, which would drown out dogs barking and phones ringing, but they do stop the sound from leaking out.

Comfort is also a factor. The earpieces include a cushion that is less like an airplane seat and more like human skin. While that sounds strange, its more akin to have headphones give you a cuddle, which should provide more prolonged comfort because it feels less artificial.

This model also provides a reasonable battery life. A single charge provides 13 hours of music time and 15 hours of talking time. But there’s no need to worry if they’re about to die before an important call, you can use them in wired mode, which doesn’t require battery-use.

Logitech H800 Wireless Headset

Pros:

  • On-ear controls
  • Sculpted ear piece and headband for extra comfort
  • Foldable design
  • Noise-cancelling boom mic

Cons:

  • 6-hour rechargeable battery may not be long-lasting enough for some users
  • Functionality depends on device
  • Only connects to a single wireless device at a time

Logitech presents a wireless headset designed to match all your devices – not just your Chromebook.

Designed for long-term use, these headphones offer plenty of padding, including the headband and the ear cups.

These Bluetooth headphones also offer stereo audio complemented by a built-in equalizer and laser-tuned drivers. The sound going out is also great – it’s one of the few headsets in this range that offer a noise-cancelling mic. So, they’re ideal for anyone who anticipates being interrupted.

The mic also swivels easily, so you can adjust it mid-call.

The difference here is in the battery life – it’s only 6 hours. You can charge them up while you’re wearing them, but that doesn’t quite support the goal of going wireless.

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

Pros:

  • Sporty design allows for use at the office and at the gym
  • 8-hour battery life; 240 hours stand-by
  • Noise suppression features
  • 1 year warranty

Cons:

  • No extra mic features
  • Not noise cancelling
  • Not ideal for those who dislike earbuds
  • Gel around the earpiece may not be comfortable

These SENSO Bluetooth Headphones are a pair designed for home, office, and active use. Unlike many headphones, which are too clunky for exercise, these earbuds are light and flexible enough to transfer them from your desk to the gym.

The Senseo model offers 8 hours of battery time, which is a happy medium considering they don’t have a clunky battery. If you’re a heavy user, there’s no reason to worry. You can have a fully charged battery in under 2 hours.

This pair doesn’t offer noise cancelling technology, but they do provide noise reduction, which should mute some of the more obnoxious noises found in a home office.

In terms of comfort, the ear pieces are covered in gel to support longer use. They also come with 3 sets of ear tips, which should accommodate most people’s ears. Though, you do run the risk of finding one of the sizes uncomfortable.

LEOPHILE EEL Wireless Neckband Headphones

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Neckband keeps them in place
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Function to use Google Now (or Siri)
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Tight fit for security but some may find it uncomfortable

These LEOPHILE Headphones are tiny, but they pack a punch. They include both high quality audio speakers and a built-in microphone in a set of headphones that can also be bunched up and put in your pocket without damage.

The model offers a 10-hour talk time with a range of 33 feet. However, the standby time is up to 300 hours, which is 12 days.

These headphones are sturdy, which is helpful for those who need headphones that can stand up to weather, washing machines, and less-than-careful transports.

They’re waterproof to the max – they can even be worn surfing or in the shower. While you shouldn’t go surfing with your Chromebook, it’s still a nice feature to have in a pair of headphones

TREBLAB J1 Bluetooth Earbuds

Pros:

  • HD sound
  • 9-hour battery life
  • Water-resistant and sweat proof
  • In-ear voice prompts
  • Multiple-device connectivity

Cons:

  • No adjustable options for band or earbuds
  • Metal earbud housing may be uncomfortable

TREBLAB offers a pair of Bluetooth earbuds for anyone who doesn’t feel the need to buy into a name brand.

This pair offers passive noise cancellation technology on the speakers and the microphone.

There’s no option for adjusting them and the earbud is housed in a metal casing, creating a potentially uncomfortable long-wear experience. Though, they do come with six types of earbud tips.

However, they do offer other features that set them apart from other models. The multi-device connection is ideal for remaining connected to your Chromebook and your phone. There are also in-ear voice prompts that some customers might find useful.

Conclusion

There’s plenty of options available depending on your personal preferences and whether you want an over-ear or earbud experience.

For us, there’s a clear winner in our list: the LEOPHILE EEL set.

They’ve got a great battery life and are very lightweight while also being durable. This is important because it means that we can enjoy the sound quality they offer longer – without waiting for them to break.

best games for chromebook

Incremental Games I’m Hooked On This Week

By | Games | One Comment

Incremental games are my favorite browser games. They are entertaining, low commitment and you can have the game running while you are doing other things. Best of all they work great on Chromebooks.

You might be asking, what the heck are incremental games, and why are they good to play on a Chromebook? Or you might even be saying, I thought you couldn’t play games on a Chromebook.

Chromebooks can be used to play browser games. Also known as web, online or HTML5 games. This kind of game can be played in basically any browser, and that’s exactly what Chrome OS has.

Incremental games (aka, idle games) are browser-based games where you accumulate things, like objects or currency. They’re called incremental because you watch the numbers get bigger. They’re fun because as you play, you discover how the game works and how to accumulate things faster with less work. Some of them even involve advanced math.

Idle Games I’m Playing This Week

#1: SpacePlan

This is one of the newer incremental games on the scene. It has simple, yet well designed graphics and great audio effects. 

It has an interesting and immersive sci-fi story with an actual ending, and it has potatoes in space. You can finish this one relatively quickly compared to other incremental games.

new incremental game

http://jhollands.co.uk/spaceplan/

#2: Cookie Clicker

This is one of the original and most popular clicker games. The concept is pretty simple – click to make cookies, lots of cookies. Funny, creepy grandmas help you along the way.

I’ve had this game running for several months now, and it’s still fun to check in on it now and then.

Clicker idle game

http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/

#3: Clicker Heroes

This RPG-themed idle game has lots of heroes, boss levels, and cool monsters with great effects when you hit and kill them. This one is my favorite of the lot for its graphics style.

Clicker game

http://www.kongregate.com/games/playsaurus/clicker-heroes

#4: Kittens Game

You start off gathering catnip and gradually add different resources that help you level up. There’s lots to discover in this game, tons of resources and a well designed skill tree. It’s a good text-based incremental game that starts off easy and gets very complex over time.

incremental game

http://bloodrizer.ru/games/kittens

#5: Realm Grinder

Realm Grinder is interesting because the game plays differently depending on choices you make as you go which lends itself to being replayed again and again. Lots of strategy and calculations are needed to succeed in this game.

incremental idle game

http://www.kongregate.com/games/divinegames/realm-grinder

What do you think of incremental games? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments.

 

The 10 Most Compelling Benefits of Chromebooks

By | Making the Switch | 4 Comments

Everyone has different requirements and expectations from their computers. However, if you are like me and have been searching for an inexpensive secondary computer that is portable enough for travel, yet powerful enough for work, you may want to consider these ten benefits of a Chromebook and decide if it’s right for you.

1) It’s Quick to Boot-up

We live in a modern age of distractions, shortened attention spans, and a profound shortage of time. Thanks to Google’s Coreboot technology you can press the power button and reach your home screen, fully booted, in less than 10 seconds. This is faster than most other tablets which can take as long as 45 seconds to power-on.

Coreboot is a firmware platform. Google and Linux developed it together to deliver lightning-fast, secure boot on Chromebooks. Because it is an Open Source project, it is continually perfected, improved upon and updated.

The system never becomes bloated with useless and resource consuming programs. So, you can rest assured it will continue to boot-up quickly no matter how long you have owned it and no matter how many apps you activate.

Top 2 benefits of a Chromebook - boot and setup speed

2) Ultrafast Setup

Google has made Chromebook as easy to set up as any smartphone. Setting up a new Chromebook is so much easier than setting up your PC, laptop, or other notebooks. For one thing, Chromebooks don’t need any major updates or time-consuming antivirus software.

To get started, you simply sign in with your Google account. Voila! All your browser content, Google Drive content, and other settings are active. Alternatively, you can create a new account, if you don’t have one already.

Chromebook comes loaded with the basic OS software and light firmware to ensure you have the fastest setup and user experience possible. Most users report that it takes less than five minutes from box to operation.

While it is true that Chromebook is web-based, there are many third-party apps and native Google apps that will increase Chromebook’s offline functionality. After setup, you may want to configure your device with a few of these.

3) Portable and Travel-Friendly

All laptops are portable, but Chromebook takes this to a new level. There are several reasons why Chromebooks are better than laptops when it comes to portability, travel, and day-to-day usage.

First, it’s much easier to drop a Chromebook in your backpack, keeping it with you as you travel or commute. A Mac or a Windows Ultrabook can be double or triple the size, weight and most importantly, cost.

The battery life is also an important point. With a Chromebook, you can feel safe knowing that you have over seven hours of battery life on a single charge. I frequently take my Chromebook with me for both day trips and weekenders because it simply lasts longer.

Lastly, you never have to worry about losing sensitive data. In the event my Chromebook is lost or stolen, I know that my valuable data is safe in the cloud. It’s not on the hard disk where it would be vulnerable and difficult to recover.

4) Not Tech Savvy? No Problem

One of the major benefits of a Chromebook is that it’s ideal for less technical users. Because it uses a simple OS, fewer bad things can happen. And if all else fails, the operating system is easily reset back to factory settings.

The fact that Chromebook is maintenance-free means there is one less thing you need to worry about with your busy life. There is no need to schedule updates or install anything, ever.

Since you manage everything from Google’s cloud, you only need to restart your Chromebook every few weeks to get in-sync with the latest updates.

5) It’s More Secure than a Laptop

Sure, there may be browser glitches from time to time, but you don’t have to worry about those annoyances signaling a greater problem. Chromebook is one of the most secure devices available. Because the Chromium OS is automatically updated with the latest security patches, it is almost impenetrable to viruses and many types of malware.

Of course, cybercriminals are persistent and develop their own cutting-edge technology daily. You can rest assured, however, that Chromium is designed with your security in mind. If the system detects changes to the core of the system, it immediately recovers the system.

#6 Benefit of a Chromebook - privacy

6) It Has the Safest Private Browsing

Chromebook offers several features that make browsing more secure and more private. You can browse in “incognito” mode which prevents plugins or website apps from running. It also prevents your browsing history being saved and viewed later.

You can also use “guest mode.” In this case, everything from your browsing session is deleted when you log out. Anything downloaded or changed is wiped out, too, even malicious extensions. That’s perfect for browsing untrusted sites.

7) Many Inexpensive Options

We expect the best technology to come with a hefty price tag. Thanks to Chromebook, you won’t be paying a fortune. Many Chromebooks are priced around $200, making them affordable for most any budget.

Windows and Mac can’t compete on a spec comparison that is based on the ratio of “performance to price.” A lower-end Windows laptop can’t give you the same smooth performance and user experience as Chromebook will and no Mac or Apple product can compete on price.

8) Free Apps from Chrome and Google Play

Another one of the benefits of a Chromebook that I like is that they’re created and optimized for Google’s apps, like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Recently, Google has made its Play Store inventory available to Chromebook users.

There is also the Chrome Web Store – a marketplace especially for Chromebook users. With these two app markets, you will be able to find most of your favorite apps for free. If you worry about losing access to Photoshop or MS Office, you will be happy to learn that there are cloud-based platforms available for these programs and many others.

9) It’s Kid Friendly

Chromebook benefit #9 - kid friendlyFor those with children asking, “should I buy a Chromebook?” The answer is yes. It is a great choice. Chromebook, because of its ease of use, portability, cost, and security is excellent for kids. Chromebooks offer parental controls for safe and secure usage, and many models are available that withstand harsh usage and being dropped.

10) Comes with Cloud Storage

If you’re still wondering “why buy a Chromebook?” we also love the cloud environment. Chromebooks are cloud-based machines – they primarily use cloud servers to do their computing and data storage. Google manages these sophisticated computers, configuring them to do specific tasks as well as safely manage and store all your valuable data.

You can store your files in Google Drive, instead of on the computer. That way, your files go with you no matter which computer (or mobile device) you’re using at the moment.

Google Cloud Platform boasts a 99.95 uptime percentage, too. This means that your data, apps, and content is available whenever you need it, wherever you need it. Chromebooks are so seamlessly integrated into the Google ecosystem; you will never know how hard it is working on your behalf. However, you’re not limited only to Google’s offerings. You are free to use the cloud-based service of your choice.

Chromebook for streaming music

Top 9 Internet Music Options for Chromebooks in 2017

By | Apps | One Comment

Enjoying music is easier now than ever before. Yet such ease has also allowed the pursuit of this enjoyment to morph into a convoluted sea of choices. Indeed, there are too many online music players out there vying for your attention. The simple act of finding one has become a painstaking, time-consuming process.

That’s why I’ve put this list together – to help you take a machete to this process so you can crank out tunes on your Chromebook on your terms. We’ve found the best ways for you to do just that.

As a side note, I know there are Chrome OS fans all around the world, so I am showing only internationally available options!

Free Internet Radio

Even though terrestrial radio is still riding high in terms of reach, it’s virtually unlistenable to serious music fans. According to experts, it’s not going to get any better. But don’t fret – free internet radio is here to rescue you from the doldrums. There are plenty of free music options out there that spin handcrafted playlists that go deeper than anything on the FM dial.

1. Free Internet Radio Websites

Cyberspace is replete with several streaming radio stations. On the surface, these stations look like they’re set up similarly to what you may find on terrestrial radio. For instance, sites like AccuRadio and InternetRadio have “channels” that are broken up by genres. But they provide you with a seemingly infinite amount of choice in the process.

For instance, InternetRadio have stations devoted to deeply niched genres such as Kpop and Reggaeton. Plus, these stations are substantially more interactive and user-friendly, something AccuRadio users can experience by being able to skip past as many undesirable songs as they’d like. They don’t exactly skimp on selection, either – InternetRadio is home to about 40,000 different stations for you to peruse.

2. Standard Broadcast Radio Stations over the Internet

Let’s say you’re not ready to give up on terrestrial radio completely. Maybe there’s a morning show you still enjoy, or there’s a special music program they air on Sunday nights that piques your interest. Chances are, that station you like has an online channel that allows you to stream.

There are also sites dedicated to helping you check out the culture of terrestrial radio in other parts of the country should you so desire. While this type of stream-based offering won’t shield you from commercials, there may be fewer ads than what you’d hear on the terrestrial version. This may translate to extra songs in your ear – including deeper cuts that may not normally get spun over the traditional airwaves.

3. SoundCloud

free online musicMusic is a social language at its core. So, it makes perfect sense that there would be music-based app built with this social aspect in mind. The German-based SoundCloud is malleable enough to go where you go, whether you’re toting the app on your smartphone or you’re running it through Chromebooks. More importantly, its interface allows fans to connect with each other like a social media platform; a connection that allows them to share songs from the personal playlists that they built up over time. Better yet, this element can even let fans connect with their favorite musicians.

4. Chrome Extensions

One of the things that makes a Chromebook cool is the bevy of Chrome extensions out there. When it comes to playing music, you are certainly not lacking in app-based options to choose from. Each of these extensions bring something a little different to the table. For instance, the AudioBox app makes it possible to converge your online music outlets like YouTube, Sound Cloud, and Dropbox into one convenient spot.

My Music Cloud, on the other hand, allows storage for 250 of your favorite songs in the cloud, including songs you’ve downloaded from iTunes. And true audiophiles may be interested in Music Plus for Google Play, which allows you to enjoy extra goodies like notifications, playback tool popups, lyrics, and more. These extensions typically require a fee to use them at full capacity, but these costs typically aren’t exorbitant.

Paid Music Subscription Services

For a lot of us, the “music genome project” that is Pandora was the first subscription service that helped us make the transition from Napster’s ill-fated downloads to streams. Nowadays, Pandora’s algorithm-based design has been usurped by a host of subscription streamers that are easy to use on Chromebooks.

The advantage of these paid music services is you get more control over individual songs and artists you want to hear.

5. Amazon Music Unlimited

The online retail behemoth got into the streaming game last year with their Amazon Music Unlimited service. Some people will be undoubtedly miffed at the fact that the cost of this service is separate from their Amazon Prime subscription, although you do get it at a discounted price. However, the fact that it offers tens of millions of songs in an intuitive, easy-to-control format and with a free trial may smooth things a bit.

6. Google Play Music

Google’s polished music streaming service is ready-made to be wherever you are. This may especially be true if you own a Samsung phone, where it will be the default music player on the device going forward. At the same time, it seems ready-made for Chromebook users. Indeed, there are a few Chrome apps and extensions you can enjoy on Chromebook that tie directly into the Google Play service (such as the Music Plus app). These widgets excel at taking your music experience to the proverbial next level.

7. Spotify

Arguably the most popular of all the streaming services, Spotify’s intuitive interface makes it easy to find your favorite artists and listen to full albums or select songs. You can also build your own custom playlist to match your mood pretty easily. This device can funnel through Chromebooks rather easily through a Chrome extension, but it’s not necessary. I’ve never had to use it to get my stations to play on my Chromebook.

Self-Stored Music Options

We all remember the way Napster was before its current incarnation. We also remember the thrill of downloading songs from the service and having them be a click away on our PC. While that iteration of Napster has gone by the wayside, the download-based spirit of the service is still with us. Better yet, it’s legal. Take that, Lars Ulrich.

8. Google Play Music

This versatile service not only lets you stream, but it also lets you store. This versatility is further bolstered by its easy-to-use presence on smartphones and Chromebooks. For those that like to bounce back between the old-school and new-school methods of digital music enjoyment, this app is right up your alley.

9. Enjoy Music Player

This handy service will do more than just play back stored music. It will also allow you to grab music from SoundCloud. Once you have the tunes on the Chromebook extension, you can do a few neat tricks with the tunes you can’t do on some other services, like fast forward within a track.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the various ways you can enjoy online music through Chromebooks. The way we consume music has changed radically in the last decade, and the shift is only going to continue.

Please share if you liked the article, or drop me a line to keep the conversation going. Let me know in the comments if you have an even better favorite music service for your Chrome OS devices.

Best printer for Chromebook

How to Pick a Printer That’s Google Cloud Ready

By | Accessories, Reviews | 32 Comments

Updated September 2017

Google Cloud Printers make use of new technology that connects your printers to the web. It allows you to make your printer available to you and to any other person you’d want to give access to your printer. The only prerequisite is that you have a ‘cloud ready’ printer. It doesn’t just work on any old printer you see.

If you have the right printer, it works like a charm though. You can connect one to your Google Cloud Print account in seconds, and immediately start printing to it.

Lots of new printers come with the cloud print option, and not just the expensive ones. Very reasonably priced printers come cloud print ready nowadays, so lets check out a few.

I’m a fan of the Canon Pixma series. Mine is still running fine after 10 years. I also like the Canon MG series because they come in sleek designs and often with good case color options.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I try to find the best fit for the need with products made by great companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Top 4 Chromebook-Compatible Printers

Based on ChromebookHQ readers’ preferences, I’ve put together a list of the four best printers for Chromebooks.

1. Canon MG7720 Wireless All-In-One Printer

This is hands-down my readers’ favorite printer. It’s an all-in-one that scans, copies and prints. It has auto-duplex (unattended 2-sided printing) and can print 4×6 borderless photos. Compared to Canon’s lower-end models, the MG7720 can print directly from NFC-enabled devices.

2. Samsung SL-M2020W/XAA Wireless Monochrome Printer

This Samsung is a no-frills black-and-white laser printer. It prints much faster than inkjet, and the toner cartridge last much longer than inkjet inks.

3. Brother HL-L2380DW Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer

The Brother HL-L2380DW is an all-in-one, black-and-white printer/scanner combo that is super fast. It prints up to 27 pages per minute, compared to 21 for the Samsung.

It’s made in a compact form factor specifically for your home office.

4. HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer

This HP color printer/scanner combo is a low-cost option that still has a good amount of features. It prints just as fast as the Canon MG7720, it can auto-duplex, and it can do borderless photos.

This is your best choice if you want a good, basic printer/scanner that can print photos.

Of course, all of these printers have Cloud Print capability.