11 November 2013

HP Chromebook 11 unboxed + features for writers (for NaNoWriMo)


I entered a Google contest in October called Give A Chromebook, and I won a $279 Chromebook! I actually won it by submitting this photo:







And I’m writing my NaNoWritMo novel on this Chromebook (which is why I’m calling this ChroNoWriMo).


So, first, the good. Here’s what I love about it:
  • The speakers are amazing, loud and crisp. Better than my MacBook Pro’s.
  • It doesn’t have a fan or a spinning hard drive, so it’s silent. It also stays cool.
  • It’s super lightweight. It’s great for traveling or just casually hauling from room to room in your house.
  • It charges with the same cord as my phone—a mini USB! I love that. Saves me having to bring an extra charger with me. It also means I can borrow a cord most places I go.
  • Because it doesn’t have a regular operating system, I have fewer distractions.
  • The keyboard has a different feel than my MacBook (which has an awesome keyboard), but once I got used to it, I really like this one. It’s super light to the touch and causes zero stress on your fingers. (Some people might be bothered by a zero-resistance key touch, but now that I’m used to it, I love it.)

Now, the bad:
  • The trackpad sucks. There’s no getting used to this difference. It’s a great size and shape, but the pointer movements are jerky and hard to control (I suspect this is a problem with the OS, but I’ve never used the high-end Chromebook Pixel). There’s also a little too much surface texture which creates friction with your finger and enhances the jerkiness. Every time I go back to my MacBook, I feel relieved to touch such an amazing trackpad.
  • The lack of a hard drive means that sometimes when I’m looking for pictures and other files I find myself wishing I had a full system. But why am I complaining about being forced into minimalism? I’m supposed to champion this sort of thing...
  • This beast doesn’t have much processing power. It starts lagging when you have about 9 tabs open. Again, it forces you to minimize, which isn’t necessarily bad. (A weak processor also means it drops frames, especially during action scenes, when you’re watching movies on YouTube. That doesn’t ruin the experience, but the Chromebook definitely loses a few points for that.) I’m also past 10K words on my novel, and the refresh-rate on that Google Doc tab is starting to lag a bit too. 

In conclusion: I really like this Chromebook. For $270 bucks (or for free), it’s a great computer. I’m excited to see them get better in the future too—I’m confident that they will. It works great for writing. And it’s the perfect travel companion.



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