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chromebook case

The Best 6 Chromebook Cases

By | Accessories, Chromebook

When Chromebooks were first released, there weren’t many cases to choose from, leaving users with scratched devices. Luckily this changed quickly, and today, there are so many Chromebook case options that it’s hard to choose from them.

But Why Purchase a Case at All?

The snug fit of a specifically tailored case ensures your Chromebook doesn’t bounce around, as it usually does in your backpack or a larger case. This adds a layer of protection when you put your Chromebook into your bag to separate from the rest of your things and avoid scratching or damage. Plus, cases look more professional if you’re using it for work and offer care that will extend their life.

Here are some of the highest-rated Chromebook cases you can find:

ProCase 11″ to 12.5″ Water-Resistant Shoulder Bags

ProCase’s shoulder bags were designed to be lightweight, portable, and slim. You can get them in various sizes to suit your Chromebook, from 11 inches to 15.6 inches. It comes with a removable shoulder strap and the bag has additional front and back compartments that easily fit all your accessories. The exterior is a waterproof canvas, which is also resistant to dirt, debris, and scratching.

amCase 11.6″ to 12″ Neoprene Chromebook Case

The amCase Neoprene Chromebook Case falls somewhere between a case and sleeve, offering the best of both worlds. The comfortable handle makes it easy to carry on its own, and it also fits into your bag easily. All around protection is provided, thanks to a scratch-resistant seamless foam padding wrap with a bubble-wrap–like texture that snuggly wraps around your Chromebook. You’ll also find additional storage in the front where you can put your accessories.

iPearl mCover 11.6″ Hard Shell Chromebook Case

The iPearl mCover Hard Shell Chromebook Case was designed to fit the 11.6-inch HP Chromebook X360 11 G1 EE series (2018) perfectly, and you can choose from a myriad of colors. The hard-shell case is made of high-quality translucent polycarbonate, which makes it shatter-resistant and protects the corners. This is perfect for users who are constantly on the go and have that extra risk. It also has retractable feet at the bottom rear side of the case for a more ergonomic typing experience and better cooling. mCover also offers hard shell cases for other Chromebook models, so make sure to check them out.

Case Logic Arca 11.6″ Chromebook Carrying Case

The Case Logic Arca 11.6-inch Chromebook Carrying Cases are sturdy and protect your Chromebook from even the toughest hits, thanks to a hard EVA exterior and thick inner padding. Its inner straps also allow you to use your Chromebook easily inside the case, which is excellent for those with a lack of space. You don’t have to worry about overheating, as the lower side of the case features a mesh design, enabling breathability. One downside is that there is no additional storage space with this case so will probably only suit users who don’t have many accessories.

Qishare 11.6″ to 12″ Business Chromebook Case

The Qishare 11.6-12-inch Business Chromebook Case is both durable and super stylish. On the inside, high-quality plush wraps around your Chromebook, while the stylish neoprene water-resistant exterior makes it a great complement to any outfit. It comes with an exterior zippered pocket, plus two side pockets and a removable shoulder strap. The handle, when not in use, can be neatly tucked into its own pocket, and the same goes for the strap hooks which converts the case into a sleeve for those who want dual functionality.

Tomtoc 360° Protective Chromebook Case

The Tomtoc 360° Protective Case doubles as a sleeve and armor case for your Chromebook. The patented CornerArmor™ at the bottom ensures your Chromebook survives even the hardest of falls for the heavy user or traveler. It comes in a variety of sizes and fits the 11.6-inch HP, ASUS, Samsung, and Acer Chromebook models and 14-inch Acer and HP Chromebook models. With a very thick inner lining, it offers superior protection. You will find plenty of space for all accessories thanks to two sealed outer pockets that easily fit chargers, power banks, and cables.

Before you purchase a case, think about the primary reason why you are buying one. Do you need it because you travel a lot, or because you’re a bit clumsy and more likely to drop it? Are you looking for superior protection or do you need a case that will allow you to hold all of your accessories too? Once you answer those questions, you’ll be able to find the right one.

 

laptop accessories

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Chromebook Accessories

By | Accessories, Chromebook

Chromebooks are perfect for the classroom, but they are starting to seep their way into work, travel and home life as well. Thanks to their growing popularity, it means the accessories available have also increased too, so let’s have a look at some of the essentials, bundled together by who they help best:

Business & Work

3M Privacy Filter for 11.6″ Chromebook 11 – The 3M Privacy Filter is a screen filter that keeps your data safe from prying eyes. The way it works is quite simple—while you are in front of your Chromebook, you can see everything, but anyone who’s at an angle will simply see a dark screen. Perfect for retaining privacy for the remote workers.

Toshiba 2TB Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive – Memory cards might be the primary way to get more memory for your Chromebook, but having an external hard drive gives you much more storage space than any memory card can at the moment. The Canvio Basics 2TB enables super-fast transfer with up to 5Gbs, thanks to the USB 3.0 port. Moving large files is super easy, as is installing it—it’s essentially plug and play, with no additional software needed.

Thunderbolt 3 USB C Hub/Adapter – Use all of your devices with your Chromebook by using this nifty all-in-one USB-C hub that has all the connector types you will ever need with your Chromebook. It has a USB Type C connector, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 1 SD Card Slot, 1 x 4K HDMI port, an RJ45 1000M Ethernet port, and a power delivery port. If you are using it for your external devices, keep in mind that your Chromebook should be charging to provide enough power for all of them.

2Koi Minimal Bamboo Lap Desk – This no fuss lap desk has a simple design which is what has made it so popular. Made from cross-laminated bamboo, it’s both light and strong, with a chic design that still allows you to keep your Chromebook cool too due to the large slits. It’s suited for Chromebooks up to 15″ and with the lifetime warranty you get on this piece will make it last as long as your Chromebook does.

Travel

Qicai H 4-in-1 USB-C Hub – The Qicai USB-C hub is perfect for anyone who travels, as it’s compact, easily fits in most bags, and provides you with one Type C and three USB 3.0 ports so that you can plug in your phone, keyboard, mouse or an external flash drive. It’s no-fuss plug & play, so you don’t have to worry about any drivers and the aluminum case makes it sturdy and durable for those constantly on the move.

Poweradd Pilot Pro 32000mAh Power Bank – Although Chromebooks are known for their really good battery life, having a backup when traveling is not a bad idea. Poweradd’s Pilot Pro Power Bank has a huge capacity of 32000mAh and coupled with 1 DC output and 2 USB outputs; it’s one of the best power banks you can get. The aluminum body helps with cooling, and you can easily adjust the voltage, plus it comes with all the most common connector types.

EWWE 360° Protective Laptop Sleeve – Having a good case or sleeve will keep it secure wherever you go, and no matter how bumpy the ride might be. EWWE’s water resistant form-fitting laptop sleeve ensures your Chromebook is unharmed, thanks to their super corner protection technology that has fortified ridges for extra protection. It has a 3-layer protection made out of outer herringbone woolen, middle neoprene, and inner fluffy fleece layer, making it superior to most other cases out there. It’s available in several sizes (11-12.5″, 13″, 13-13.3″, 15-15.6″, and 15″) and comes with an additional storage bag that keeps your accessories secure too.

School & College

LapWorks FLEX Lapdesk – This folding desk is perfect for those who like to work on their Chromebook from the bed or couch (and who doesn’t, really?). It’s thin and lightweight and easily fits into most notebook bags and sleeves. It’s 22″ wide and has plenty of area for your mouse or phone on each side. When folded, it’s only 11″x11″ so will also fit into most cases so you can take it from school to home and work anywhere.

Logitech M325c Wireless Mouse – Available in numerous colors and designs, the Logitech M325c is among the best peripherals for a Chromebook. It’s super light, weighing only 3 ounces and fits easily into any backpack. What makes it so great is the battery life—one charge is enough for 12 months (with average use of few hours daily), and while it doesn’t have any side buttons, the scroll wheel can be tilted to either side, which helps you navigate back and forward in your browser which can be essential for those students (or teachers) who don’t get on with a traditional touchpad.

Transcend 64GB MicroSDXC Class 10 Memory Card – Chromebooks have a lot of storage space thanks to Google Drive storage, but when online storage is not available, it’s not a bad idea to have additional storage ready. While external hard drives provide lots of it, they are another thing to carry around, and it can easily be lost or fall off the table, especially in school and college settings. Memory cards are the better option there. Transcend 64GB MicroSDXC is a great buy: it’s shockproof, static proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray-proof, plus it comes with lifetime warranty.

No matter what you use your Chromebook for, you’ll always be able to find the right accessories to make your life even easier. These are just a few of our favorites.

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.

Price: $60

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.

Price: $129

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.

Price: $150

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.

 

 

 

 

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 present a 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:

Cons:

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 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.


Can I Use an External CD/DVD Drive with Chromebook?

By | Accessories, How-To | 395 Comments

Given its limited space, many people have been asking me about using an external DVD drive for Chromebook. Can you use an external drive for Chromebook? Do external drives let you play CDs and DVDs?

It’s fun and convenient to have so many features to add to your laptop. However, before you buy a Chromebook DVD drive, make sure you know what you can and can’t do with one.

Note: This article is about Chromebook optical drives, which play CDs and DVDs. If you want to know about external hard drives for file storage, check out this article I already wrote on the topic.

Optical Drives for the Chromebook

If you’re wondering whether you can use an external drive CD/DVD with Chromebook, the short answer is yes, you can. But before you get too excited, know that there are some limitations to what an external drive can do. Let’s start with the things you can do with a Chromebook optical drive.

Shop around for a high-quality CD/DVD drive and give it a try.

What you can do with a Chromebook DVD drive

Chromebooks can read these disk types:

  • CD
  • CD-RW
  • DVD
  • DVD-RW
  • Blu-ray
  • Blu-ray RW

Chrome OS can read files from any of these disks if they are written in data or media format.

You can copy files off optical media to your drive as long as they are actual media files, not CD music or DVD videos. You can also play media files directly from a disk.

What doesn’t work in Chrome OS

There are serious limitations to what an external DVD drive for Chromebook can do, since the system was created to function primarily online.

Write Files

Unfortunately, there is no way to write files to an optical disk for Chromebook. USB devices, including external DVD drives, function as read-only. You can read the information on a disk as long as it’s in an accepted format, but you cannot write information to it.

Play CDs and DVDs

You can’t play music CDs or DVD videos with a Chromebook DVD drive.

Why not?

Chrome OS does not support optical disks to let you play music or movies. The primary reason for this is that Chrome OS doesn’t come with codecs. Codecs are necessary to compress and decompress large files like DVD videos. If you want to play DVDs on your Chromebook, you’ll need to install Linux.

Run Programs

Chromebooks are all about staying simple and keeping storage in the Cloud. Chrome OS downloads all of its programs from the internet. They don’t have the capacity to run additional programs from an external drive.  You can’t run any Windows programs on Chrome OS either.

Rip Music or Movies

Chrome OS doesn’t include any ripping software. There are several DVD ripping tools for Windows Mac OS X and Linux, but none that function with Chrome OS.

If you want to rip music CDs or DVD movies, you have to use another machine that has Windows, Mac OSX or Linux. You can then transfer those media files to your Chromebook.

How to Read CD/DVD Media in Chrome OS

To read CD or DVD media, plug in the external optical drive to your Chromebook via USB. Insert a disk that has regular computer files. Then, access the files in the same way you would access your local files by clicking Launcher > Files.

If you’d prefer to watch a tutorial, here’s an easy, clear guide on reading files using a Chromebook DVD drive:

How to Play Music and Movies on Chrome OS

Even though you can’t play content directly from CDs or DVDs, there is a way to play music and movies on your Chromebook.

Google has confirmed that you can play music files, like mp3s, and converted video files, like mp4s. So to watch movies, you first need to convert your files into a supported type. You can find a full list of supported file types and codecs in this guide.

Once you have the right files, you can use VLC by VideoLAN, a free media player that lets you play media files on Chrome OS.

Take a look at this video for a full walk-through on using VLC to play a DVD:

Conclusion

In summary, a Chromebook optical drive:

  • Can read disks, but with only accepted file types
  • Can play music from accepted file types, like mp3
  • Can play movies from accepted file types, like mp4
  • Cannot burn files to a CD or DVD

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small compensation. This commission does not affect the price you pay.

Are you still looking for an external DVD drive for Chromebook/Chrome OS? Shopping for an optical drive is an easy task, so it won’t take long.

All you need to worry about is making sure the external drive connects with USB. Other than that, make sure the drive you choose is meant for PC and not just Macs. Shop around for a high-quality CD/DVD drive and give it a try.


Chromebook accessories to take to college

4 Essential Chromebook Accessories to Take to College

By | Accessories, In the Classroom | No Comments

Do you have everything you need for your dorm room desk? By now you already have your Chromebook for school picked out, hopefully. But you’ll need a few things to make the most of it.

1. Portable Speakers

The first thing I unpack when I move is a speaker. It’s just way more fun to get settled while jamming to my favorite playlist.

Note: If you find the information on this site useful, please consider supporting my efforts to provide relevant, up-to-date information by purchasing through the product links on this page. The product will not cost you anything extra, but I might receive a little cash to support the operation of this site.

Jawbone Jambox

When I first heard the Jawbone Jambox, I couldn’t believe the music filling my apartment building’s gym was coming from that small box. The Jambox comes in decent colors, too.

JBL Flip 3 Splashproof

If you want to take your speaker outside, or if you’re worried about party fouls, spend the extra 25 bucks to get a water resistant speaker.

2. Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Logitech Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo

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Deny it now, but it’s going to happen. You’ll be writing a paper at 3am and wishing you had a comfortable keyboard. Might as well get a keyboard/mouse combo for playing games, right?

3. External Hard Drive

You’ll want to bring your music and photos with you, and that’s going to take some extra disk space, since Chromebooks come with 16 or 32GB. Not to mention, it’s good to have a backup of your school papers other than Google Drive.

LaCie’s ruggedized mini-USB 3.0 drive holds 1TB and can stand up to rough handling. It’s the best bang for your buck right now, but there’s only 11 left available with Prime right now.

4. Headset

Hangouts makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Most college students have roommates, and most roommates don’t want to hear your conversation with Mom. Get a headset to make it easier to hear and be heard over the sound of your roommate playing Call of Duty.

The Logitech ClearChat Comfort covers both ears and has noise cancelling. There’s no software to install, so it works on any laptop and operating system.

Check out my top pick for wireless headsets.

Other Chromebook/Laptop Accessories to Consider

You’ll probably have a super-fast internet connection, so you can use a high-def camera if your Chromebook doesn’t have one.

If you want to use more than two USB devices, a USB hub makes it quicker to switch. Remember to protect your computer with a surge protector, too.

Now you know all the tech accessories you’ll need for your Chromebook at school. Have fun and remember to call your mother.

Microphones for googel hangouts with chromebook

Hangout Microphones For Your Chromebook

By | Accessories, Reviews | 3 Comments

When you get a Chromebook and make that switch to the world of Google you’ll inevitably get sucked into doing Hangouts. Jumping in and out of ‘m like it’s nothing, expanding your network and influence both inside and outside your company. That’s the Chromebook life and I’m experiencing it every single day. It’s wonderful.

I never imagined that the impact of Hangouts would be so profound on building relationships that matter. There’s something about seeing the other person on a screen in front of you that makes for a much tighter personal connection than you would get with a face to face meeting.

The thing with Hangouts to remember is that the better your audio is, the better you’ll get your message across. Just like is the case with podcasts and radio shows.

The Best Sound Quality For The Hangout

Don’t get me wrong, Hangouts are great even with on-board microphones. But when your sound quality is really good Hangouts become more than just that, they become mesmerizing.

It’s very simple. Decades of highly produced TV programs, movies and radio shows have taught us that good sound quality equals authority. Think about it. You don’t listen to a radio show when the sound is bad. Let alone to a crappy sounding podcast using headphones or earplugs directing sound straight into your head.

On the other hand, when you hear a nice and dark voice with some good bass tones you’ll be listening all day. Its even something good telemarketers select and train their reps on. Better sounding, lower voices communicate more trust and get more results. Use that fact to your advantage.

Three Kinds of Hangouts

Hangout Microphone For Your Chromebook

Hangouts are great! All invitees have to do is click the “Join video call” link and they’re in.

Doing Hangouts on an almost daily basis I’ve noticed that there are different kinds of Hangouts you can end up in. Depending on the reason why the Hangout is being held you’ll end up in one of three different settings. Each with its own behavioral rules, social dynamics and varying demands on sound quality.

The Conference Room Hangout
I remember seeing my first conference room. It was quite some time ago when I was working for an energy giant, before Hangouts where a thing. A prestigious looking room with heavy office chairs, a long oval oak table and a large flat screen on the wall. A minibar in the back.

You can imagine the kind of procedural, almost ceremonial type meetings this room produced. People in suits speaking only when spoken to, really only there to listen to the big boss and nod approvingly at the appropriate times. Guess what, there are Hangouts like that, kinda.

Difference being that the official, statesmanlike conference room has been replaced by a fun and inspiring Hangout Room where participants are encouraged to interact and contribute. They’re not different in that they are official, planned ahead of time and you are expected to show up like at any other meeting.

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.

Sound and video quality for the people in the Hangout Room is of course taken care of and most likely excellent. Participants logging in from home or an off side location using their Chromebooks have to take care of their own sound quality. It is appreciated that during these conference Hangouts your sound quality good, or at the very least good enough not to be disturbing. A great Hangout microphone to use here is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone, also called the podcasters microphone.

This mic is used by many podcasters for good reasons. Its a dynamic microphone which means it is good at getting rid of the background noise and focusus on the sound in front of it, benefiting the capture of your voice. Dynamic mics are directional and cardioid mics reject sound the strongest from the back, but still pick up some sound from the sides. This makes that pretty much the only sound you’ll be transmitting to the Hangout is your voice and not, say, your baby playing in the background.

Listen to me using the ATR2100. The sound you’re hearing is the result of plug-n-play. No settings were changed or tricks done to make the sound better.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/192412188?secret_token=s-KF8k7″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

To get yourself this Audio-Technica Hangout microphone you won’t be spending tons of money. Right now you can pick it up a Amazon for less than sixty bucks.

The Scheduled Meeting Hangout
Much less official than the conference room version, this one is simply you and your directs, maybe your boss one level up and depending on what you do maybe also your client. The ones I attend most are weekly meetings with the client and my management team.

Important, yes for sure. But not ‘the official moment’ I spoke on earlier in this article. These people know you. Most likely you’ve been working closely together with them years already. You’re not, or at least you shouldn’t be, an enigma to them. You have aligned goals and work together. When you’re hatching a plan, they are your culprits. What I’m saying is that substance, trust and mutual involvement are much more important here than showmanship is.

So when it comes to how you sound, you just make sure you’re not a distraction. Using the on-board microphone is fine. Make sure you are in an empty room and you’re good to go.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/192423444?secret_token=s-fpOoD” params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

One thing to be careful with is the risk of audio feedback. I’m sure you’ve heard that somewhere before. Someone is walking up to a stage, at a wedding or school event for example, and starts talking. And as soon as he or she does this high pitch, pulsating sound that gets louder and louder makes everybody cover their ears in pain. That sound is the result of audio feedback. Sound entering the microphone going through whatever system you use, Hangouts in our case, and then exiting the speakers to yet again enter the microphone. It’s a loop.

Laptops and Chromebooks are prone to that because the speakers are closely to and directed towards the microphone. If you suffer from feedback every now and again, stop using your on-board mic.

Hangout Microphones For Your Chromebook

Hangouts is much, much more than a video conferencing tool.

The On-the-fly Hangout

Google Hangouts is much, much more than ‘just’ a video conferencing tool, it is full blown conversation tool. The beautiful thing, I think, is that it runs on every machine you have. Yes, your Chromebook, Windows PC and Laptop, Mac, Linux machine, iPhone, iOS and Android Tablets and your Android phone, they all run the Hangouts app.

It knows which machine you’re on, so when you leave your Chromebook or PC to go somewhere you can continue the conversation on your mobile phone. The app there has the entire conversation on it. The other way around works just as well, you walk into the office, open your computer and continue the conversation you where having coming in. Real easy, really useful.

Hangout conversation ChromebookHQ and Kain Young on Hangout Microphones For Your ChromebookThis ease of conversing is what fuels most on the fly Hangouts. It’s just like calling someone only than in a more polite way.

What you do is you drop a chat message saying something like “QQ: got 5 mins to Hangout? Want to talk about redecorating the office.” The other person then has the chance to say yes or propose another more suiting moment. This makes that both parties are ready to have the conversation, and have some time to prepare if necessary.

These Hangouts don’t have to take place in a separate room unless the subject is not for others to hear. So just as is the case when you’re placing a regular phone call, most of the time you do these Hangouts sitting at your desk or lounging in the public area.

Getting back to the sound quality, there are two things you can do here. You can use a headset (remember, you’re at your desk. Playing the Hangout over your speakers is annoying to your colleagues and somewhat uncomfortable for the other person on it.) and simply use the on-board mic. Or, you could do what I do and go with a pair of earbud headphones made by Skullcandy. They work great. You can clearly hear the other person, and the sound quality on your part is much, much better than that of the on-board microphone, it’s almost on-par with the Audio-Technica microphone(!).

Take a listen to this short mic test. You’ll be surprised at how well it sounds.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/192436511?secret_token=s-DV5o0″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Hangout Microphone Conclusion

The most important thing I learned is to keep in mind the setting of the Hangout you’ll be joining. That pretty much dictates how well you should sound (and look by the way, but that’s a whole other article).

When you’re in an important Hangout, be it with your boss two or more levels up or doing a job interview, you make sure you sound your best. I’ve settled on the Audio-Technica as it is a great Hangout microphone, but it isn’t the only one. You can go for a much more professional, and still not too expensive setup using a small Behringer mixer coupled with the world class Heil PR40 microphone (I sometimes dream of owning a PR40, it’s that good.), but you don’t have to sound really good.

When you’re making use of Hangouts more often you should think of getting a dedicated Hangout mircophone like Earbud Headphones with a mic.They’re cheaper than a professional type microphone, and much easier to carry around with you. There are many different makes and models and none of ‘m will cost you much. These Skullcandy ones cost me less than twenty dollar.

Whatever you do, try to stay away from the on-board mic.

Alright, this is it for now. Thank you for reading this far. I’d love to read in the comments what your experience using Hangouts is, and of course what kind of mic you think is best.

Till next time, Kain.

mouse and keyboard for chromebook

Mouse and Keyboard for your Chromebook

By | Accessories, Reviews | 3 Comments

Updated March 2017

A separate mouse and keyboard for your Chromebook aren’t the most obvious accessories for it. But, if you’re like me and you work at your desk in your home office, it really is. Just prop up your Chromebook on a laptop stand and hook up a mouse and keyboard to it. Works like a charm.

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.

Keyboard and Mouse Combo for Chromebook and Chromebox

Now I won’t be listing a whole slew of keyboards and mice here for you to pick from, you can do that over at Amazon. What I would suggest is that you  pick the the keyboard and mouse shown here below and leave it at that. Why? Because this set is made for your Chromebook and Chromebox – it is THE Chromebox keyboard.

The ASUS Chrome Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (90MS0000-P00010) is the only external keyboard/mouse combo on Amazon (or anywhere as far as I can tell) that has the ChromeOS keyboard layout. It has the Chrome OS-specific keys like a dedicated search key and no Windows key. That means you won’t get confused when you switch between the on-board and external keyboard. This is the keyboard Asus came out with to go with their Chromebox, which makes it the perfect choice.

Chromebook-compatible Mouse Options

If you don’t like your Chromebook trackpad,  you can get an external mouse. Your main options are Bluetooth and USB.

USB Mouse

Pros:

  • The USB type uses a tiny USB receiver, so you don’t have to enable Bluetooth.
  • Inexpensive
  • Takes regular AAA batteries

Cons: It uses up a USB slot. If you’re working at a desk, it’s not a big deal to use a USB hub to connect your other accessories.

Recommendation: The TeckNet Ergonomic 2.4G Wireless Optical Mobile Mouse. It’s very inexpensive, and it’s well-loved.

Bluetooth Mouse

The Bluetooth type of mouse connects directly to ChromeOS, but first make sure your Chromebook has Bluetooth.

Pro:

  • Doesn’t take up a USB slot.
  • No USB receiver to get lost.
  • Takes regular AA batteries.

Con:

  • Bluetooth must be enabled on your Chromebook.
  • More expensive than USB

Recommendation: Logitech M535 Compact Bluetooth Mouse. This model features a compact size ideal for your laptop bag and a long battery life (up to 10 months between battery changes with normal AA batteries).

Up Next: read about the other main accessories you can get for your Chromebook.