The following are my first impressions and a short gallery showing the Chrome Cr-48 notebook being unboxed after receiving it earlier this year as an early birthday gift from Google. Honestly, it arrived the week before my birthday. However, I doubt Google understood the significance when sending me the pilot notebook to test out and give consumer feedback.
Overall the OS is pretty barebones as it’s essentially a browser to connect to the web and not much else. The notebook boots quickly (~10 seconds on average) and wakes up almost instantaneously from sleep. I found myself early on looking to minimize the browser to get access to the desktop and other apps only to realize you cannot do that; it’s a browser, no more no less. There is a decent selection of apps in the Chrome Web Store, but until there are better high-quality apps “in the cloud” the power of the Chrome OS won’t be realized.
I’ve learned the multi-finger touchpad for the various gestures, but would benefit from dedicated left & right-click mouse buttons; especially the right-click button as the double finger press oftentimes doesn’t work well for my fat fingers. The finish of the hardware is rather sleek for a beta/pilot product, but does end up being a bit heavier that I would have expected. Given that there’s no hard drive or optical drive, I was expected it to be around (or under) two pounds, but it clocks in just under 4 pounds. There does seem to be an SD card slot, but I haven’t been able to get access to the test card I put in. While testing the hardware I decided to test the ability to display the screen via an attached projector. I found there was no setting to display on both the monitor and the projector which makes presentations difficult if you can’t see the projected image clearly. Also, when I detached the projector I found that I was unable to get the display to reappear on the monitor; I only succeeded when I took out the battery and replaced it — certainly not something a “normal” user might be able to figure out.
Chrome OS vs. Android OS
I also wonder how Chrome OS will do compared to the Android mobile OS. The Android 3.0 release (aka Honeycomb) that’s built for tablets appears to be rather light-weight and benefits from the Android app marketplace. Wouldn’t a consumer rather have the fuller OS features of Android than Chrome? Why not focus more on the Android OS as a mobile phone, tablet & notebook option for hardware makers?
I’ll continue to test the Cr-48 (it is my main machine these days) and will post more updates as my experience continues. Now, on to the unboxing photos…