It’s been exciting few days playing with Cr-48 - the new Google Chrome OS laptop. I’ve been playing with it, trying out various features, doing my usual browsing, some development even. I must say I have not felt very restricted yet. But it’s been only a few days.
From the past few days’ use, here’s my impression about the Cr-48.
Anyone interested in Cr-48 has already seen many pictures and read about its hardware. I am going to write about only the points that I thought were significant.
- The 12.1in screen is just right for casual web browsing. I find the resolution optimal.
- Keyboard - even with missing function and caps-lock keys - is nice and big. Keys feel good to the fingers when typing.
- Battery life is amazing! I haven’t drained it completely yet, but I won’t be surprised if I get 9+ hours
- Doesn’t look like this thing heats at all. Even after many hours of use, it barely gets warm. This is so much better than the Sony Vaio VGN-T140P I use currently
- Intel® Atom™ CPU N455 @ 1.66GHz (1 core, 2 threads, integrated graphics) seems to fall short, in my opinion. Especially when playing videos. From what I found, YouTube does not offer HD videos (480p+) when accessed from Cr-48. If I play an HD video on Vimeo, it is choppy as hell. Intel touts HD performance of their integrated graphics, so I was a bit disappointed there
- I may be still getting used to it, but the touchpad is not quite there yet. It supports 2-finger scrolling, it is big, nice and sensitive. But I think it may be a bit too big and sensitive. While typing, I invariably touch/tap it causing unintended things to happen.
Some detailed hardware info, for the curious:
If you can’t see the embedded Gist, head to GitHub
I got this from
Chrome OS has evolved very well. I played with it a bit in VirtualBox when it was initially announced about a year ago. But the user experience of Chrome OS on Cr-48 is a totally different thing - it is much better.
Like I mentioned, I don’t feel restricted at all when it comes to casual browsing - news, social networking, blogging, shopping etc. Watching videos was not very pleasant, but I think it should get better with better hardware (or drivers?).
There is not a lot of scope for local development. But if you have a remote
machine, where you could
ssh and do some development, that is sure possible.
I did not try starting an X-application on the remote host, but I did some
terminal stuff - editing PHP/HTML/JS/CSS in Vim. Here’s what I
found. ALT+CTRL+t takes you to a terminal - a tty. It starts
a shell called
crosh. If you type
help it shows all the commands it
ssh is one of them. Once you are in the
ssh session, you can do
pretty much anything you do in a terminal - on the remote host. You can
start multiple terminals with ALT+CTRL+t. You can circle through
terminals and the browser with the next tab button.
Much More to Come
There are a lot of things I haven’t tried yet - local storage (which seems like a 16GB SSD), external memory (USB/SD card), VGA connection to the TV/monitor, other peripherals via USB, etc.
When it comes to consuming shared content, Chrome OS has not issues. But I am curious to know how easy/difficult will it be to share content with Chrome OS. I’ll find out when I share my next set of pictures.
I’ve kept my 100MBs of December data from Verizon Wireless for later in the month, when I’ll be away from home. So I am not sure how the 3G connectivity works. WiFi has been very stable and was easy to configure.
I’ll post more as I find out.
So, at the moment, I think the Cr-48 is a neat device. Will I buy it? It depends on the price point. For now the price is free, so I am loving every bit of it. In my opinion, commercial Chrome OS devices will have to be cheaper than the cheapest netbooks out there to fly. Even better, subsidized by wireless carriers like Verizon - hopefully not with service contracts.
Until later, Cheers!