Tag: Chromebook

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Acer Chromebook 15 Display is More Than Just Big

As if my Pixel LS review isn’t enough, another Chromebook demands attention. Last week, Acer offered its maxi-model for review. FedEx delivered yesterday but I only cracked open the box this afternoon. The screen is motherfraking huge. Everything is humongous, actually.

The other big thing about the display—maybe that should be plural: IPS and 1080p. It’s the first Chromebook that my aging eyes can handle at full, native resolution. I keep the Pixel jacked down to 1440 x 956, like Toshiba Chromebook 2. Acer smartly chose a matte rather than glossy screen, which works surprisingly well. Viewing angles aren’t exceptional, but they are surprisingly good. Very, very good. Colors and contrast please, too.

Chromebook 15 isn’t the first Acer to user a matte display, but the others tend to be dim TNs. I like the company’s approach of going back to move ahead. Matte should make the IPS screen viewable just about anywhere—even outdoors in the sunlight. Reflective screens arguably give greater contrast but are overrated and way overdone. 

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Contextual Cloud Computing is for Everyone

Keeping with my recommendation that “Writers, Own Your Content!“, I cross-post many, but by no means all, of my BetaNews tech stories here. As explained two months ago, much of my readership engagement takes place somewhere else, which is major reason there are so few comments here. Some of them occasionally deserve additional attention.

Late yesterday I posted my review of Chromebook Pixel LS, which Google released in early March. The write-up is purposely rah-rah to impose the importance of embracing contextual cloud computing and to shake up preconceptions about Macs being the tools of the creative elite. I also call “dumb” developers who may receive free Pixels during Google I/O later this month only to then sell them online.

One reader comment, from SmallSherm, to the BetaNews version caught my attention, for accusing me of calling him (or her) stupid and for insulting readers. After writing my response, I wondered how few people would ever see the interaction, which I regard as being quite valuable, there and absolutely none her. I present our two comments for your Tuesday thought train. 

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Chromebook Pixel LS Review

Nperfect is how I describe Google’s newest, and only, computer. If you’re going to manufacturer one thing, then it should be exceptional, which is the other way I describe Chromebook Pixel LS. The company introduced the original in February 2013, available in two configurations. Twenty-five months later, the notebook refreshed—refined rather than revolutionized—beating Apple to market shipping a laptop with USB Type-C, which brings new connectivity and charging options.

FedEx delivered the costliest Chromebook configuration to my door on Friday the 13th, in March. I ordered the newest Pixel from Google two days earlier, within hours of the laptop’s launch. I use no other computer. It’s more than my primary PC and could be yours, too. This laptop rests at the precipice of future computing, for those open-minded enough to welcome it. This review is purposely preachy, which reasons hopefully will be apparent should you read all 1,800 words.

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‘The Last Link You Will Ever Click’

Google got me. Not because I didn’t get the joke but for how far it actually goes. Perhaps you saw the April 1st post, “Re-rethinking computing“, which introduces the project from a “rogue team of engineers…Today, we’re excited to announce a way to make your Chromebook self-browsing”. Of course, it’s an April Fools gag.

I first saw the post on my Nexus 9 tablet while exercising on the stationary bike. Later, thinking to post a quickie to Google+, I pulled up the URL from synced History on Chromebook Pixel LS. On the N9, I had clicked the post’s last link, which did nothing special but when opened on the Pixel took me to the Chrome Web Store with option to install the self-browsing extension. Now that was unexpected. What to do, what to do? 

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It’s No Joke: $149 Chromebook

If Google made its big Chromebook announcement today instead of March 31st, I would think it’s an April Fools prank. Seriously? One-hundred-and-forty-nine dollar models, from Haier and Hisense, with one available from Walmart? I know some of these laptops sell for $199. But this is a new low.

Meanwhile, ASUS will, in summer, start selling something for even less: Chromebit, a $100 candy-bar size carry-all computer. Plug it into a HDMI display (say, the TV), and your Chromie lifestyle is even-more mobile. The company also will release Chromebook Flip, a tablet-convertible wannabe, sooner. Someone tell me: This isn’t a Foolie prank? 

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Toshiba Chromebook 2 Review

My family plays musical computers today, as mom receives my wife’s Toshiba Chromebook 2—to replace the end-of-life original Microsoft Surface RT. Last week, my beloved took possession of my Google Pixel after I received the newer model, which released on March 11, 2015.

While writing the above paragraph, my mother phoned to let me know the laptop arrived. “Oh do I like this Toshiba! This can’t be a 13-inch screen. It seems so much bigger”. The reaction is more than just because of the move from the RTs 11.6-inch panel. Among the Chrome OS category, the Toshiba’s screen is exceptionally bright, and crisp, setting it apart from every model other than Google’s own. 

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Chromebook Pixel LS First Impressions

Around Noon yesterday, FedEx delivered the 2015 Chromebox Pixel, which I set up late afternoon. Nearly 24 hours later, time is right for some immediate reactions before my eventual full review. My perspective presented here is two-fold: General first impressions for anyone combined with what are the benefits for existing Pixel owners. For many of the latter group, I say this: Consider your budget and needs wisely. What you’ve got may be more than good enough.

For everyone else, I will contradict the majority of reviewers, and even Google. Pixel is not a computer for developers or limited number of laptop users. Anyone shopping for a quality notebook that will last years should consider the new Chromebook, most certainly if looking at any MacBook model or Windows PC, such as Surface Pro 3. Everyone living the Google lifestyle who can afford a laptop in this price range should consider nothing else. Now let’s get to the drill down, point by point. 

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Yes, Chromebook Matters

Yesterday, commentary “Do Chromebooks matter anymore?” popped up in my Google+ feed. Preston Gralla rightly wonders, when looking at how the laptops have fallen off Amazon’s top-seller lists, IDC shipment forecasts, and what happened with netbooks. While being a Chromebook fan, I must admit to sharing similar misgivings,

So today, I emailed Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis: “Are Chromebooks just the next netbook wave? Low-cost, lean configurations, and education adoption all look similar to me. Do you see any parallels to suggest Chromebook is little more than the next netbook and it’s headed for the same destination: Short-term appeal that vanishes? Or is there longevity here, based on sales numbers? His answer is reason for this post. 

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The Measure of Chromebook’s Success

Last year, I disputed ridiculous assertions, based on widely misquoted NPD data, that 2014 would be “year of the Chromebook”. It wasn’t. But that designation does belong to 2015—at least in the United States. Measures: Number of new models; adoption by K-12 schools; and overall sales, which are surprisingly strong. Read carefully the next paragraph.

Through U.S. commercial channels and retail, Chromebooks accounted for 14 percent of laptop sales last year, according to NPD, which released data at my request. That’s up from 8 percent in 2013. Commercial channels, largely to educational institutions, accounted for about two-thirds of 2014 Chromebook sold. Year over year, sales soared by 85 percent, and the trajectory continues to climb. 

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Rethinking Chromebook Pixel

Yesterday marked my second full day using Chromebook Pixel, following a nearly 7-month hiatus and pointless journey to Windows 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. Last summer, I sold my 64GB LTE Pixel to a student from Brazil; I had purchased the laptop new off Craigslist, substantially discounted. I feel foolish for letting it go. I type on the 32GB WiFi model—used, and I’m grateful to have it.

Google unveiled the Pixel two years ago next month. The hardware is unchanged, while competitors—and even most Chromebook manufacturing partners—have moved on to newer hardware. The only real difference is Chrome OS, now at version 40, up from 25 when I reviewed the computer in late February 2013. My questions today, rethinking the computer: Is there still a place for the Pixel, and, if so, should Google release updated models? 

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Waiting for Nexus 6

My Apple exodus and return to the Google lifestyle progress at rapid pace. I am full-time back on Chromebook after buying the Toshiba model one week ago. Whoa, it feels so much longer. Selling my MacBook Pro paid for the laptop, and another for my wife, with some proceeds remaining. I also use Nexus 9 tablet, replacing iPad Air (which is Craigslisted but not sold). Today, I await delivery of Nexus 6, which replaces iPhone 6.

A law-enforcement officer bought the Apple smartphone, which sale exactly covers cost of the N6. This morning, I am without any handset, waiting for UPS to deliver the Motorola-made Google phablet, which I purchased from T-Mobile. Google Play and Motorola are sold out, although during the time yesterday when placing my order, Play Store had the 32GB N6 in stock; both colors! 

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Chromebook Returns

Yesterday afternoon, a San Diego State University student bought my MacBook Pro—13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD—for $1,100. I purchased the laptop from local dealer DC Computers in late-August 2014 for a few hundred dollars more. The buyer’s interest was my own: Mac, large SSD, and extended warranty (expires April 2017). The photo is one of several from my Craigslist ad.

The proceeds go to buying Toshiba Chromebook 2 (two, another for my wife) and Android phone for her. She moves from iPad Air, which has been, since September 2014, her PC—and that experience should be another story (be patient). If time travel was possible, I would keep, rather than sell, my Chromebook Pixel early last summer. The Chromie lifestyle suits me best, and I am excited to be back to it. However, in December, when reviewing the tech products that changed my digital lifestyle last year, including the switch to Apple’s platforms: “I can’t imagine using anything else”.  I lied to myself, and unintentionally you.