I’ve had the Chrome laptop for six whole hours now. What do I think of it so far? Well:
* The black, matte “no distinguishing marks” look of the computer really appeals to my baser nerderati impulses, i.e., “oh, you have a Mac Air, do you? How nice for you. Excuse me while I pull out my Cr-48, whose very blackness will consume your pathetic hipster soul.”
* That said, in low light the keys are hard to read; more difficult to read than the keys on my Acer One, which are the same color. I guess the matte black really does suck in all available light to it; either that or the screen is really bright, which means there are contrast issues for my feeble 41-year-old eyes.
* The keyboard is of the chiclet type which I have generally not liked on other computers but which seems to be working fine for me here. This may be an effect of the “you just got a free computer, don’t complain” phenomenon.
* But allow me to complain anyway about the trackpad, which is twitchy and also requires you to use two fingers to right click, which I apparently do wrong all the time. I will have to practice more and/or look through the settings to see if I can change it and/or say “screw it” and use a mouse.
* The CAPS LOCK button being replaced with a search button? Awesome. I never used the Caps Lock button, ever, so now the button is assigned to something that’s functional. In real world terms the search button opens up a new tab, from which you may do a search; the search aspect of that is fine but in fact it’s the “opening a new tab” function which is useful for me. All the function buttons are gone, replaced with buttons that address specific computer functions. Oh, look, here’s the “lower brightness” button. Aaaand now I can see my keyboard better. Excellent.
* Speaking of the screen, it’s fine. Nice and bright, except when I use that button to make it less bright. On another note entirely, it’s amazing how much more comfortable a 12-inch screen is than a 10-inch screen, which is what my Acer has. I think I’ve found my laptop sweet spot in terms of screen size.
*Other small build notes: The screen doesn’t go back quite as far as I’d like it to, hinge-wise, but that’s not a dealbreaker. The battery is not quite flush with the bottom of the computer, but again, like I care. The slightly rubberized plastic of the Cr-48, which makes it feel like my Droid X has been experimenting with growth hormones? Excellent. Fan is mostly quiet.
* I know the Cr-48 is not going to be a computer that’s going to sell on the general market, so in some sense all the above is just neepery. But you know what? I would buy a laptop like this. I like the form factor and design a lot. And I love not having branding on it. Love it love it love it.
* On the software side, the thing boots up as quickly as advertised. From off to totally up and running definitely in less than half a minute (I didn’t have a stopwatch on it). Additionally the initial setup took almost no time at all; I turned it on, signed into my Google account, and whoomp, there it was. Close-to-instant power on is a good thing.
* And other than that? Well, someone said to me that if you want to experience what the Chrome OS is like without having to use the Chrome OS, all you have to do is open the Chrome browser and run it full screen. This is in fact a pretty accurate assessment. Basically, the experiencing of using Chrome OS is like having the browser up all the time. The good news here is that I already use the Chrome browser on a frequent basis, so there’s not too much of a learning curve. The bad news is all the annoying things about the Chrome browser are here too. I’ll have to go through and fiddle with the settings until they are to my liking.
* I used the Cr-48 to update the blog and also to write a movie column via Google Docs. Verdict? Again, like updating the blog and writing a column via Google Docs on the other computer. Mostly. I did have to do a couple of workflow workarounds, including using a slightly alternate means to get pictures onto the blog. We’ll see in the future how much this has to do with me, and how much it has to do with the Chrome OS dictating a different workflow.
So in all, not a bad first six hours with the new toy.