Category

Reviews

samsung laptop

Breaking Down the New Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) 2-in-1

By | Chromebook, Reviews

Samsung’s Chromebook Plus Convertible has received a second-generation iteration, and it’s looking very promising. The Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) is a step in the right direction when compared with the first generation: it features a new processor that packs a punch and has two cameras and a built-in pen, among the other novelties.

Under the Hood

The Samsung Chromebook Plus Convertible V2 has moved from the ARM Processor to an Intel CPU and features a 1.5 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron processor. The Intel Celeron 3965Y handles the Chrome OS really well and as it is built on Kaby Lake microarchitecture and has two cores, it handles daily operations without delays.

Supported by the HD 615 graphics card performing at 300 to 800 MHz, 32GB of built-in storage (SSD) and 4GB of RAM, the Chromebook Plus V2 is fast, reliable, and easily handles a multitude of apps. Since this is a Convertible model, it also has a 360-degree hinge that lets it switch from laptop to tablet mode, which is becoming a firm favorite.

Cameras:

It also features two cameras, which is an upgrade from the single camera the V1 model had. The front-facing 1MP webcam is located in the upper bezel, while the stronger, F1.9 13MP camera with autofocus can be found in the upper-left side above the keyboard. When switching to tablet mode, it then becomes a rear-facing camera.

Display

The display is actually a bit of a downgrade compared to the V1 model—it’s 12.2″ and features a 1920×1080 resolution with 16:10 aspect ratio and a brightness of 300 nits. The V1 model had a 2400×1600 resolution with 3:2 aspect ratio and 400 nits brightness. Even though the display shouldn’t have been the one feature that took such a big hit, there’s a silver lining: the new display is wider and this works great for the keyboard layout which has been given an upgrade to a full-size keyboard.

Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity and ports, the V2 comes with plenty. Two USB-C 3.1 ports, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack are located on the left side, while a USB 3.0 (Type A) port, the Pen dock, as well as the power button, volume switch, and indicator light are located on the right side. Both USB-C ports carry 4K video and audio when used with the right adapter.

Additionals

The stylus in the pen dock is identical to the previous model, which is definitely a good thing: it features full-tilt recognition and 4096 pressure sensitivity levels that make all signatures, drawings, sketches, and writing precise, especially on a 12″ display. Plus there are two speakers at 1.5W each.

Full Specs

  • Processor: Intel Celeron 3965Y Kaby Lake
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
  • Storage: 32GB internal, Solid State Drive
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Weight:93 pounds
  • Dimensions:34 x 8.19 x 0.63–-7.0 inches
  • Ports: 2 x USB-C used for charging and as 4K video output with an optional adapter, 1 x USB3.0, MicroSD card slot, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Display Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Display Brightness: 300 nit
  • Camera: Front 1MP and 13MP on the keyboard deck
  • Stereo Speakers: (2 x 1.5W)
  • Built-in-pen with 4096 sensitivity pressure levels
  • Waterproof Keyboard (small spills only), but no backlight

Personal Use

The Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 comes with the latest Chrome OS that also supports usage of Linux apps, the Google Play and Chrome Web Store apps and other content. You will easily stay in sync and work on it as long as you have an internet connection, and the offline capabilities will let you continue work should you be in an area where you can’t connect. The battery life allows you to use the Chromebook for hours on end without the need to charge it. It’s easy to carry around and is protected against the most common accidents like spills, thanks to a spill-resistant keyboard that can handle the smaller day-to-day minor spillages.

Who Should Buy It

It’s a good fit between entry-level and high-end models—a middle ground worth checking out if you want a device that you can work on the whole day while you’re on the go. The price is set at $499 but it’s important to note that high power users will be better off buying models with more RAM and internal storage by spending about $100 to $200 more.

The Verdict

The new Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 has a premium feel to it. It’s lightweight, features a minimalist no-fuss design, and can be used as a regular notebook or a notepad. The battery life is great and enables 8 to 9 hours of continuous moderate usage and the Wi-Fi is a big plus—range and speed are both superior to most other models.

It’s sturdier than the V1 model, although also a bit heavier. The display is a downgrade but makes the V2 faster (especially with the new processor) since there are fewer pixels to handle. Overall, it’s a very good choice for the new upgrade!

 

 

laptop tablet

Looking at Acer’s New Chromebook Spin 15

By | Chromebook, Reviews

Acer has introduced a new addition to their Chromebook lineup: The new Acer 2-in-1 Chromebook Spin 15. It is the first 15-inch 2-in-1 type of Chromebook in the world, making it a desirable choice of many, but let’s see what it’s actually made of and who would want to buy it.

Under the Hood

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 weighs only 4.63 pounds and comes equipped with a 15.6-inch full HD touchscreen covered in Corning Gorilla glass for added protection which is rarely found in other models or notebooks. The touchscreen supports 10-point multi-touch and works with IPS technology and the special design of this notebook lets it rotate a full 360 degrees, immediately transforming it into a tablet.

You can choose between 4GB to 8GB of RAM memory, which combined with 32GB to 64GB of storage offers plenty of space for all documents and data for medium to heavy users. Acer decided to stick with Intel on this one and the available models feature one of the three following processors: the quad-core Intel Pentium N4200, dual-core Intel Celeron N3450, and the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350.

Connectivity

Connectivity-wise, the Acer Chromebook Spin comes with two USB 3.0 type A ports, two USB 3.1 type C ports, and a microSD card slot. The battery performance should be impressive too, and is able to deliver 14 to 15 hours with continuous use, which puts this Chromebook into the spotlight for many who work remotely or for longer chunks of time.

Additionals

You will also find a decent webcam on the Chromebook, that has 720p HD definition, HDR, and a wider field of view than most others. The sound is solid, with two speakers that face upwards, although when you rotate to use in tablet mode they are facing away from you which can make the quality of sound suffer a litte. Plus, you can enjoy a full-size keyboard.

The Specs (Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315 model):

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Processor: Intel Pentium N4200 1.1 GHz Quad Core
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR4
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen: 6″ Full HD (1920×1080), ten-point multitouch
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505
  • Connectivity: 11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2
  • Audio: 2x speakers
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.1 Type C
  • Battery: 4670 mAh
  • Dimensions (W x D x H):96 mm x 261.96 mm x 19.95 mm or 15.19 in x 10.31 in x 0.78 in

Personal Use

When it comes to performance, the Chromebook Spin 15 doesn’t let you down. There were no delays when launching and opening apps, and when handling multiple apps at the same time. It easily deals with multiple open Chrome browser tabs, and full-screen HD videos run smoothly.

The textured aluminum lid gives it a slick look, but this is unfortunately lacking on the inside which has a bit of a “plasticy” feel to it. Another thing that might be a deal breaker for some is how difficult it is to open it: you need both hands, which can be off putting.

That being said, the touchscreen is super responsive: every swipe and tap register immediately and without a delay. There are wide bezels around the screen and the display is fairly reflective which could be an issue if you’re trying to watch a dark movie in the daylight. It has a soft touch keyboard that is standard sized like many other Chromebooks and the 360° option that turns it into a tablet is great for reading, sketching and drawing.

Who Should Buy It

For those looking for a Chromebook to read, watch movies and do light work, the Spin is ideal, but high power users should consider going for a higher model. Acer’s Chromebook 15 spin aims at those who want a device that will continue working even with prolonged use (or a long movie) and as such, the battery life is truly outstanding. It’s a larger Chromebook, ideal for long-usage and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve got a good deal.

The Verdict

The Acer Chromebook Spin is available from $449 or £499. It is an affordable option for those who need a device that can handle long working hours on the go. It doubles as a tablet and is great for reading and watching videos in this mode, but the screen glare might make this difficult in certain situations if you’re planning to use it frequently on the move. The overall performance is good, but if you’re a power user, you might want to look at alternatives.

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 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.


best chromebooks for travel

Don’t Leave Home Without the Best Chromebook for Travel in 2017

By | Reviews | 2 Comments

With so much to squeeze into your suitcase and weight restrictions on your baggage, a Chromebook may be a good choice for staying productive and connected while traveling.

The best Chromebook for traveling should be lightweight, powerful, and have top notch security. After a thorough investigation of Chromebook options, we’ve narrowed our list to the top five best Chromebooks for travel.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these affiliate links and purchase an item, I may receive a commission. That allows me to continue to research and provide valuable information about Chromebooks.

How to Choose the Best Chromebook for Travel

Chromebooks have come a long way since their introduction in 2011.  Google has improved the offline mode and expanded the app selection to include Android apps.  Features like low price, data security, and battery life make Chromebooks extremely popular for students. These features also make Chromebooks attractive when you’re on the go. Let’s take a look at how to choose the best Chromebook for travel.

Battery Life

When you’re on the go, finding an outlet is probably the biggest challenge.  Nothing’s more discouraging than a dead battery when you only have a few minutes to send off an email.  The battery life of a Chromebook may be one of its most attractive features.  One of the things I like the most about a Chromebook is that it can stayed charged for over 12 hours.

Memory

You’re no doubt familiar with the term RAM and know that when it comes to processing, more is usually better.  But Chromebooks and traditional notebooks don’t manage RAM the same way, and this means Chromebooks can do more with less.  Chromebooks come with a choice of 2GB or 4GB of RAM.  It’s possible to get more, but these two options should be more than enough if you’re an average user.

If you just need quick access to the internet and only keep a few tabs open, 2 gigs of RAM should be plenty.  If you want to watch HD travel shows on YouTube, have multiple tabs open, and play games while waiting at the airport, you’ll probably want 4 gigs of RAM.  I always recommend 4GB of RAM because it’s a small price difference for the extra processing power.

Features

One of the top features of a Chromebook is their lightweight construction.  Since they’re about the size of a magazine, you can easily slip one into a backpack or carry-on.  Look for a rugged design and spill-resistant keyboard so a dropped bag or coffee spill won’t ruin your whole trip.

Some Chromebooks come with a touch screen. If all you do is search the internet with taps and swipes, you’ll feel right at home.  A keyboard could come in handy if you need to update your travel blog or prepare a presentation while in flight.  For less than the cost of an iPad, you’ll have a real keyboard and can use one of these apps to make your Chromebook feel more like an actual desktop.

Security

We’ve all been warned about the hazards of using public wifi, and it’s pretty likely you know the frustration of trying to remove a virus from your system.  With Chromebooks, these problems are a thing of the past.  Chromebooks keep all those .exe files off your machine, and the only thing you’ll download are apps.  This can be a bit frustrating if you want to download a particular program, but you may find the security trade-off well worth it.  If you want to edit an image with Photoshop or create a Word document while using a Chromebook, try one of these solutions.

You may also want to buy a Chromebook with a TPM chip installed.  A Trusted Platform Module microchip is like a bank vault where encryption keys, certificates, and passwords used for logging into online services are stored safely.  If your Chromebook gets lost, you don’t have to worry because sensitive data is stored on a microchip and not on your hard drive.

Price

The budget friendly price of Chromebooks makes them an excellent choice for anyone looking to buy a new notebook.  Before you take off on that trip of a lifetime or attend a major conference, check out the best Chromebooks for travel.  For just shy of $200 you can slip a Chromebook into your carry-on and leave that expensive laptop at home.

Check Out the Top 5 Best Chromebooks for Travel

ASUS C201 11.6 Inch

Weighing in at 2 pounds, the C201 comes with an 11.6” screen and HD resolution.  The 4GB RAM and 16GB hard drive make the C201 ideal for browsing the web or creating a Google doc.  You get WiFi, Bluetooth, two USB 2.0 ports, and one 3.0 port.  Use the micro HDMI to hook up to larger display screens.  The 128GB SD card reader makes data transfer a breeze.  This solid little Chromebook really shines when it comes to battery life with up to 13 hours of performance before a recharge.

Pros

  • You can buy a C201 for under $200.
  • The touchpad picks up taps and pokes while still being smooth and responsive.
  • It’s designed to be durable with rubberized molding around all four corners.
  • A TPM security microchip adds an extra layer of protection against data theft.

Cons

  • The charger port is unique to ASUS and may be difficult to replace.
  • The keyboard is not backlit and it may be hard to type in dim lighting.
  • The screen is not anti-glare so wide-angle viewing may be difficult.

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6″

A solid entry to the ruggedized Chromebook category, the reinforced, rubber-wrapped edges and non-slip grips add extra protection to the C202.  Weighing in at 2.2 pounds the C202 is built to survive drops from almost 4 feet and physical stress and vibrations.  The battery lasts up to 10 hours, and there are WiFi and Bluetooth to keep you connected. The 1366x768HD display is bright and crisp, but what makes the C202 stand out is the screen that rotates 180 degrees.

Pros

  • The price is budget friendly, and you can find a C202 for just under $200.
  • Key parts like the keyboard, thermal module, and motherboard are easy to replace.
  • The Anti-glare screen is good for working outside or in a brightly lit space.
  • The spill-proof keyboard can withstand up to a quarter-cup of spilled liquid.

Cons

  • Lacks a touchscreen so surfing the web iPad style won’t be possible.
  • Browsing can be sluggish when you’re using multiple tabs.
  • Doesn’t have TPM security so your sensitive data may be vulnerable.

Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible

At 2.8 pounds and about $300, the R11 is available with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM. The R11 uses an Intel processor and, like all Chromebooks, gives you access to the web and everything Chrome offers.  The touch screen is handy, but what really impresses me about the R11 is how convertible it is.  The 360-degree hinge allows it to flip, swivel, and rotate into a computer, tablet, stand, or tent mode. The touch screen supports 10 finger touch which makes it very responsive and accurate.  The battery can last up to 10 hours.

Pros

  • IPS display allows a wide range of view without reduced image quality.
  • The connection options are excellent and included both a USB 2.0 and 3.0 port.
  • A full-size keyboard with comfortable spacing makes typing easy.

Cons

  • The high-gloss finish can be distracting if you’re in bright sunlight.
  • The built in hard drive can’t be replaced.

Acer Chromebook R13 Convertible

The full aluminum frame and the slightly textured finish gives the R13 a solid feel that’s associated in higher priced notebooks.  Weighing in at 3.3 pounds with a 13.3-inch LED-backlit screen, the R13 has a good display with excellent color.  The R13 has a 360-degree convertible hinge like the R11 but adds a USB-C port for charging and data transfer.

Pros

  • The battery can last almost 12 hours.
  • The trackpad is large and reacts quickly when you touch it.
  • 32GB of internal storage so you can download more apps.

Cons

  • The speakers may not be loud enough when you’re watching a movie.
  • The hinge is plastic, which can make it feel flimsy.
  • The R13 can feel bulky if you use it in tablet mode for a long time.

Lenovo Chromebook N22

Another entry in the ruggedized Chromebook category, the N22 has reinforcement on the screen, sides, corners, hinges, and I/O ports.  The keyboard is water-resistant, and the touchpad is sealed against spills.  Typing on the chiclet-style keyboard is comfortable, and the keys are anti-peel.  Weighing in at 2.7 pounds the N22 is less than $250 but still sturdy and dependable.

Pros

  • Bright screen resolution.
  • The N22 will boot-up quickly from a cold start.
  • The touchpad responds well when using two-finger scrolling and three-finger swiping.

Cons

  • The body is made of textured plastic and may feel cheap.
  • The speakers can sound distorted when the volume is high.
  • The camera can be difficult to rotate, and pictures may look grainy.
[table “8” not found /]

With all the options available, these may be the best Chromebooks for travel.  They have the security features that provide excellent protection for surfing public WiFi and are still light and easy to carry.  When it comes to battery life, coverage can last most of the day, and you can choose a rugged design to protect your Chromebook from accidents while on the go.

If you already own a Chromebook and need to upgrade, or are buying one for the first time, this video will show you how to switch from Windows or Mac to Chromebook.  Once you’ve taken one of the best Chromebooks for travel on a trip, you just might find it makes the best traveling companion.

Choosing the Best Chromebook for Developers

By | Reviews | 90 Comments

Can you use a Chromebook for development tasks?

I see lots of questions on Reddit and Quora asking whether a Chromebook can be used for coding and web development. The answer is YES. Not all Chromebooks are appropriate hardware for your use case though, and this article helps you find the right Chromebook for your programming use case.

Skip to Recommendation (Just tell me which one to get)

It’s easy to understand why there is so much interest in Chromebooks for productivity. Chromebooks are more portable and have better battery life than many other laptops. Chromebooks can be very inexpensive, which makes them attractive for travel.  Google would like you to do everything in the cloud, and the nice thing about that is if you lose your laptop, you don’t lose much work. If you have your browser settings configured to sync, then you could log into a different Chromebook and start working immediately.

Programming-Specific Requirements

To evaluate the which is the right Chromebook for programming, I took into account that web and application developers have a special software toolset, including:

  • syntax-highlighting text editor
  • secure shell and file transfer programs
  • team communication tools like Slack or IRC.

Some of the tools you’re used to may not be available on Chrome OS. In order to use your favorite tools, you may want the flexibility of running Linux either side-by-side with or instead of Chrome OS. You will likely also find that you need to use a cloud-based IDE.

You should choose a Chromebook that has a processor that will make it easy to install Linux, in case you decide to do that immediately or down the road. That’s because if you want to use Crouton on your Chromebook to have OS-switching at a keystroke, you need an Intel/AMD x86/64 processor, or you will not be able to run certain programs. You could also dual-boot your Chromebook with Linux variants like Ubuntu.

Besides the processor requirement, you will also have specific hardware needs. When you want to work on images or in the command line for long periods, you need a:

  • high quality screen
  • comfortable keyboard
  • powerful processor
  • full-sized HDMI video output port.

Crouton- and Linux-Compatible Chromebooks

In this review, I’ve taken all the software and hardware considerations together, and there are come clear winners. Let’s meet the contestants. All of these models have 4GB RAM, as that’s just table stakes for programming on Chromebook. Any of these would be a good Chromebook for Ubuntu or Crouton.

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.

11-Inch Chromebook

C720 popular chromebook for developersThe Acer C720-3404 is quite popular for turning into an inexpensive developer laptop. Its decent battery life upwards of 8 hours and weight under 3 pounds makes it the best portable option. The tradeoff with the lightness is that the build quality is so-so. The 11.6″ anti-glare screen with 1366 x 768 pixels is adequate for travel and coffee shop usage. With a larger (by Chromebook standards) 32GB SSD, you may not need any externally attached storage. The Acer C720’s keyboard is not bad but “a little shallow and spongy” according to PC Advisor. This little laptop can be very inexpensive, but for development purposes, you should really spend the extra $40 to get the Intel Core i3-4005U 1.7 GHz processor, which has an Octane score* of 14600. That’s the version I’m recommending here.

*Octane score is a benchmark that measures JavaScript performance, a measure particularly suited to comparing the relative power of Chromebooks.

13-Inch Chromebooks

Google Pixel is the deluxe option for developersThe Pixel is Google’s premium Chromebook offering. It is know for its top-of-the-line hardware and build quality similar to that of a Macbook Pro. Similar to Apple hardware, you will pay a premium for that quality. The Pixel really delivers, boasting a battery lasting 12 hours in an all-aluminum body weighing 3.3 pounds. The 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage are overkill for the purposes of Chrome OS. This is the one Chromebook that you could run VMs on, but with only 32GB of local storage, you would need to carry around an external drive. The Pixel does come with 1TB Google Drive cloud storage for 3 years. Because Google is using USB-C for everything, you would need an HDMI adapter to plug this in to an external monitor. Since the screen is a 2560 x 1700-pixel 12.85″ touchscreen, you would likely want to attach it to a monitor at times. The 2.2GHz Core i5-5200U processor results in an Octane score of and incredible 25000.

Toshiba Chromebook 2 - best overall chromebookThe Toshiba Chromebook 2 (model CB35-C3300) is an excellent value at under $300. The 9 hour battery life is great, especially considering the laptop only weighs 3 pounds. The build quality is slightly better than others in its price range, and the keyboard is backlit and “plasticky but satisfying to type on,” according to ComputerWorld. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 comes with the standard 16gB SSD for internal storage. The 13.3″ IPS display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Toshiba’s Intel Celeron 3215U 1.7 GHz Processor gives this Chromebook an Octane score of 17600.

Dell Chromebook 13 is an excellent choice for developersA little more expensive but still less expensive than an average laptop, the Dell Chromebook 13 comes with a 12-hour battery life in a sturdy 3.2 pound package. The Dell has a carbon fiber lid with a magnesium alloy keyboard deck and aluminum base. The build quality is different from but equivalent to the Pixel. The internal storage is a 16GB SSD. The IPS screen is 13.3 inches and 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Dell Chromebook 13’s keyboard is backlit and “comfortable typing feel, with pliant if plasticky keys and good travel” according to ComputerShopper. You could get this Chromebook with the Celeron 3205U, but for just $60 more you can get far more power, which is why I’m recommending the Core i3-5005U model with a fantastic Octane score of 20300.

15-Inch Chromebook

Acer Chromebook 15 has the biggest and best screenFor its size and weight (4.8 pounds), the Acer Chromebook 15 actually has a good estimated battery life of 9 hours. The price is certainly right, and I would consider this for use as a main (non-portable) laptop. The Chromebook 15 has “okay build quality, but it flexes and creaks under pressure,” according to one reviewer. The standard internal storage is 16GB SSD, but 32GB is also available. The screen is good – a 15.6″ IPS Screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Keyboard is “quiet and comfortable to type on,” according to the Verge. The processor in the Acer Chromebook 15 is a Core i3 that produces an Octane score of 20300.

Here is a table to quickly compare the features.

[table “6” not found /]

Out of the running

Some Chromebook models were easily eliminated. The Lenovo 100S, HP Chromebook 11 G4, and Acer Chromebook 11 have unimpressive performance. Both Samsung Chromebook 2 and ASUS C201 were eliminated because they don’t have the right processor type. These models all have their good points, especially in the price department, but they are not suitable as developer laptops. I love my 11-inch Dell, but the screen is not comfortable for long sessions.

Differentiating Features for Programming on Chromebook

All the aforementioned models meet the requirements. Why would you choose one over another, especially when it comes to the three different 13″ options?

Best overall Chromebook value – The Toshiba Chromebook 2 (CB35-C3300) is the best combination of price, portability and power.

Best Portability – considering weight, battery life and durability, The Dell 13 is the best price-to-portability value. Google Pixel performs great in this category, but of course it’s twice the cost of the Dell. If you are only concerned about weight, the Acer C720 is the lightest, and the Toshiba is second lightest.

Best screen – The screen won’t be the most important factor for people using mostly command line applications and web browsing. It might be the most important factor if you don’t have an external monitor to hook up to when you need to do some intensive work. Google’s Pixel is reported to have the best available screen, although at 12.85”, it doesn’t have the most screen real estate. Also, the Pixel’s touchscreen will not be necessary for your work. If both screen size and quality are the most important, then the Acer Chromebook 15 is your best choice.

Most powerful computer (by Octane score, as reported by Zipso) – Google Pixel at a score of 25000 is the best-performing Chromebook. The Dell Chromebook 13 with a score of 20300 is excellent, as well, making it the best price-to-performance value.  The Acer Chromebook 15 ties with the Dell 13 because it uses the same processor. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35-C3300 is close behind with 17600, compared to next models down, the Acer models, both in the 14000 range.

Which is the Best Chromebook for Developers?

That depends on the developer, of course!

If you want a secondary cheap and ultraportable Chromebook, the best choice is the Toshiba Chromebook 2. If you really want an 11″ Chromebook get the Acer C720-3404 – it won’t blow you away, but it gets the job done.

If you want the Chromebook as your main development machine, the most powerful and durable are the Dell Chromebook 13 for the budget price and the Google Chromebook Pixel for the splurge. If you do not have a separate monitor, consider the Acer Chromebook 15.

What’s the most important feature for you when choosing your Chromebook? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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.

Acer Chromebook 13 – In for Review

By | Reviews | 7 Comments

With every PC maker trying to get a piece of the Chromebook action we see lots of new models enter the market place. What all these Chromebooks have in common is that they are inexpensive, have long battery life, run on Google’s Chrome OS, have a small screen and (most) have a very decent performance. With this high level of uniformity there’s not a lot to differentiate one from the other, which makes picking one to buy a difficult endeavor. But, every now and again there’s a model that stands out and makes that choice a bit easier.

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.

Meet the Acer Chromebook 13

Today the Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311 arrived on my doorstep. This is one of those models that stands out. It has a bigger full HD, 1080p, 13.3 inch screen, it runs on the Nvidia Tekra K1 chip which promises much better visuals and it has up to 3 times faster wireless connectivity thanks to the 802.11 AC WiFi standard. All very interesting stuff pushing the Acer Chromebook 13 past the competition, or at least it does so on paper.

To find out if it delivers and really is that great in real life I will be doing an extended review the coming weeks. I’m going to see how it performs far way from the test bench and theoretical comparisons by taking it with me into the real world. So for the coming weeks the Acer Chromebook 13 is going to be my primary computing device, only to be replaced by something else when it cannot get the job done.

Acer Chromebook 13 - In for Review

Acer Chromebook 13 – In for Review

I’m in the fortunate position to be able to test out Chromebooks not only at home but in a demanding work environment as well. I manage several sales teams and a technical support team for a client that is 100% Google (as in ‘Gone Google‘), using nothing but Google apps and Chromebooks. My employer on the other hand is a Microsoft based company. Juggling between these two worlds is fun and sometimes frustrating but it does make for a great place to test out new Chromebook models. I’ll get back to you with my findings in a few weeks from now.

Initial thoughts on the Acer Chromebook 13

The first fun moment was when I went to claim the free Drive storage that comes with it. It turned out I didn’t get the advertised 100GB storage, but a full 1TB. Talk about over delivering! I don’t know why I got that much though, so don’t take it for granted that you will as well.

Looking at the Acer Chromebook 13 it’s hard to deny that it is an inexpensive laptop. In terms of looks it is quite nice, though in terms of build quality it could do better. I won’t say it leaves a lot to be desired because that would be overstating it, it is after all only a $300,- device. I do however think that seams that are wide enough for me to put my finger nail in are a no-no. It’s just not nice looking. When closed the Chromebook 13 has a slick design appearance that makes it look more expensive than it really is. The hinges are flush with the base and feel sturdy and strong. Although the screen easily flexes in every possible way when a little pressure is applied the base is strong and inflexible giving the whole a solid feel.

With the 13.3 inch screen the overall size is slightly larger making room for a bigger keyboard compared to 11 inch models. Which is great as the keys are regularly sized, well spaced and cushioned creating an instant familiarity when typing. The arrows keys work well and are not encased by page -up and -down keys, which is a good thing if you ask me. One thing I’d like to have seen different is the power button on the top right. That should have been a delete key, this is just annoying.Acer Chromebook 13 keyboard

On the port selection side of things I can only be happy. It has two USB 3 ports, one on the left and one at the rear. An SD card slot is placed on the left as well, positioned right under the center line of the base which makes operating it a bit hard. You have to lift up your Chromebook to be able to place or remove your SD card. Good thing is that the card doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb but sits nice and flush with the body. At the rear you’ll also find the HDMI port. The combined audio/mic jack is placed at the right.

A Full HD 1080p screen, that has got to be something on a Chromebook! Turns out that full HD and 1080p on their own don’t make for a blow-your-mind experience. You need more than that alone. First the good things: It is super sharp and after typing and web surfing on it for hours on end I haven’t developed a headache yet, nor do my eyes feel strained. I did however change the display settings. It’s quite bright, but you need to set it at the highest setting for that. Then the not so good things: It lacks popping colors. For some reason colors on this screen look somewhat flat. And that is a real shame if you consider that the screen is one of its unique selling points. Another big problem for me is the goldilocks zone, you have to sit right in front of it to enjoy it. As soon as I lean to the left or right the screen darkens fast and past the 45 degree angle it becomes unreadable. Vertical viewing angles are equally poor. I hope this doesn’t become an issue while testing it out in real life.

The one thing I’m really stoked about is the Nvidia Tekra K1 chip. I did a quick test to see how it performed and it did very well, stellar really. I opened 17 tabs with regular websites, did one hangout and opened and streamed two 1080p YouTube videos all at the same time and guess what.. no lag. No stuttering, nothing. Both videos played as if nothing was going on and the Hangout didn’t show signs of an overly active processor either. I admit, this is in no way scientific, but it impressed me nonetheless.

Roundup

Looking at and playing around with the Chromebook 13 for the first time left a positive impression with me. Yes, the screen colors did underwhelm a bit, but considering that it is a mere $300,- dollar device and that the flat colors is the only real point of criticism I have so far I’m still very excited. If I had bought it to be my second or third, or maybe even first computer, I would not be disappointed. It is fast, does really well on graphics like the WebGL Experiments, has a great keyboard, a nice looking design and features a 13.3 inch screen. A great choice Chromebook that isn’t quick to disappoint you.

In the weeks ahead I’ll find out how it performs in real life. A particular point of interest will be the build in microphone and camera. Question there is if an external microphone and camera is needed or if the onboard ones are good enough. Battery life is equally important as is how the touchpad functions.

Anything else you would like me to look at testing this machine? Let me know in the comments below. I’ll definitely do my best to come up with an answer for you.

Thanks for reading this far, till next time,

Kain

New HP Chromebook 11- A Meta Review

By | Chromebook, Reviews | One Comment

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.

For quite a while now ChromebookHQ has been convinced that the Chrome OS revolution will take place. From Google’s announcement of the CR-48, the first Chromebook ever built that got a lot of flack for everything about it, all the way through the Samsung 5 550, the Google Pixel and up to the HP Chromebook 11, I’ve been watching. And guess what, I’m still in love.

If the beautifully designed HP Chromebook 11 has done anything to change my love for Chromebooks then it has deepened the belief that Chrome OS is an OS that fills a need and that Chromebooks are the type of laptop computer that families and students happily spend a little money on. The numbers back me up. I called this post a meta review because I wanted to gather all the experts opinions on this new device and see what the views are of pundit filled tech media land. I’ve used the reviews from CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Forbes, PCWorld, PCPRO and Techradar.

But First, We Take A Look

CNET – full reviewHP Chromebook 11 CNET Chromebookhq

Pros

The HP Chromebook 11 has a sharp design, comfortable keyboard, bright IPS display, and loud speakers; it also works with Chromecast for living-room media sharing.

Cons

Nothing much new under the hood: only 16GB of storage, no SD card slot, and it drops the regular HDMI port that the otherwise similar-priced Samsung Chromebook had. No touch screen. Chromebook still not great as offline-ready device.

The Verge – full reviewOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pros

The device designed to unseat last year’s Samsung Chromebook at the top of the Amazon best-seller list, is the HP Chromebook 11. This 11.6-inch laptop is priced to move.
[And] if it’s “just a web browser,” it’s a beautiful one. The keyboard is solid, too: clicky and comfortable despite the cheap, plasticky feel of each of its keys.

Cheap, Solid keyboard, Chrome OS is impossibly easy to use

[ChromebookHQ comment] The Chromebook has become, and is for a long time now, the number one selling laptop out there. Both the number one and number two spot on the Amazon bestsellers list are taken up by Chromebooks. And you know what? The number two spot is already taken up by the new HP Chromebook 11 and right now you can only pre-order that one!

Cons

Without a touchscreen, or a better display, or better battery life, the Chromebook 11 doesn’t make a great case against tablets like the Nexus 10 or the iPad. And without more power and better performance, it’s really hard to recommend to anyone as their primary laptop.

Stuttery performance, Build materials can feel cheap, Problematic touchpad

Engadget – full reviewHP Chromebook 11 Engadget Chromebookhq

Pros

A well-built laptop with a bright IPS display and a decent keyboard for under 300 bucks is certainly worthy of a place on your comparison-shopping list. You’ll also be treated to several freebies: a free 100GB of storage on Google Drive for two years, a 60-day trial of Google Play Music All Access and 12 free sessions of Gogo in-flight internet.

Cons

Aside from the flaky touchpad, the biggest disadvantages — only 16GB of SSD storage, an operating system largely limited to Google’s own ecosystem — are part of what makes a Chromebook a Chromebook.

Forbes – full reviewHP Chromebook 11 open screen view Chromebookhq

Pros

With an improved screen, a solid feel and a very handy new charging system, this Chromebook has a lot going for it. HP uses a MicroUSB cable to charge, just like all Android phones and most other phones and cables.

Cons

Unfortunately there is no SD card reader and the only way to hook it up to an HDMI TV or monitor is with a special cable.

PCWorld – articleHP Chromebook 11 PCWorld Chromebookhq

Pros

The display has 176-degree viewing angles. The Chromebook’s speakers are “finely tuned,” and placed under the keyboard so the sound projects toward the user. In another nice touch, the new Chromebook charges via micro-USB

Cons

The tech specs are unchanged from last year’s model. There’s also no official word on an availability of an LTE model. We’ll have to see how the new Chromebook 11 performs in the real world, but it’s unlikely to work miracles for under 300 dollars.

[ChromebookHQ comment] Google was quick to say that a LTE model is coming soon. They couldn’t yet say anything on they pricing though.

 

PCPRO – full reviewHP Chromebook 11 PCPRO Chromebookhq

Pros

This 1.04kg laptop feels impressively tight and well-constructed for a bargain-basement price. The 11.6in IPS display is a huge leap forward. The bright, saturated colours and wide viewing angles are a significant step up from previous cheap-and-cheerful Chromebooks.

Cons

The burning question is whether Chrome OS can hold up its side of the bargain, and we’ll be giving it a thorough workout over the next week or so to find out. Keep an eye out for the full PC Pro verdict.

[ChromebookHQ comment] All in all PCPRO had a very positive tone in their review. No negatives were mentioned, as I would agree with of course. The only negative they could see is the above mentioned matter of Chrome OS being good enough, or not. And to that I say ‘fair enough’, conclusion is that if you like Chrome OS as much as I do, you’ll love the HP Chromebook 11.

Techradar – full reviewHP Chromebook 11 Techradar Chromebookhq

Pros

Simply put, this is the best Chromebook to have pitched its pearly-white tent in this price bracket. It looks great. It sports a sharp 11-inch (1366 x 768) display that provides wide viewing angles (176 degrees, to be exact) thanks to the inclusion of an IPS panel, which provides deep blacks and makes colours ‘pop’.

Great screen, Micro-USB charger, Design, Price

Cons

It certainly didn’t blow us away[keyboard and trackpad], and it may be the case that we would have to spend longer with the machine before making our mind up proper.

Average battery life, Keyboard, Chrome OS may be too limiting for some

The Meta Conclusion

It is a remarkable laptop, by all accounts. It is clear that in this joint effort by HP and Google they’ve tried to bring the awe inspiring design and experience of the Chromebook Pixel to an inexpensive device. The screen is the best you’ll find for a 11 inch display and even beats those of laptops four times more expensive. The HP Chromebook 11 scores big on its great keyboard, its USB charger, wonderful screen, 100GB free two year Drive space, cheerful design and of course, its ridiculously low price.

If you are looking for a second computer for at home, if you are a student that needs a cheap, good and safe laptop or you like the ultra fast booting Chrome OS experience than this machine is might just be what you are looking for.