First introduced in 2011 the Chromebook has been around for a while and I have to say I’ve never managed to get my hands on one so after being given the chance to use an Acer Aspire C720 Chromebook, I jumped at the chance. It’s quite a nifty little machine, the boot up of the actual book is amazing (takes roughly about 2 secs to boot). The battery life seems to last forever which means no more leaving your device on charge 24/7. Signing in via your Google account is quite helpful as well.
Keeping in mind I’ve never used a Chromebook before, I have to say it only took around 2 minutes to basically discover and master all the handy little features on this. Google also gave a really informative help window which starts up when you log in for the first time, but don’t worry, if you want to visit again after closing it or shutting down, it’s simple to get back again, all you have to do is go to the bottom right of the screen, click on the mini toolbar and click on the question mark symbol. It had everything I needed to learn about when using it.
The touchpad shortcut features are extremely helpful. I’ve made a list to explain the features.
|Move the Cursor||Move your finger across the touchpad.|
|Click||Press or tap the lower half of the touchpad.|
|Right-click||Press or tap the touchpad with two fingers. You can also press and alt and click with one finger.|
|Scroll||Place two fingers on the touchpad and move them up or down to scroll vertically or left and right to move the page horizontally.|
|Move between pages||To go back to a page you were just on, swipe left with two fingers. To go forward to a page you were just on swipe right with two fingers.|
|See all open windows||Swipe down with three fingers.|
|Switch between tabs
|If you have more than one browser tabs open, you can switch between them by swiping left or right with three fingers.|
|Drag and drop||Click and hold the item you want to move. while holding, move the item and release your finger to drop the item to its new location.|
This Chromebook comes along with a lot of great features including, video chat and phone calls, you can also have up to 10 members in Common hangout (a better version of the app Google Hangout). Which is perfect for business when you have clients and team members to work with.
There is also a free storage app called Google Drive which gives you 15 GB of storage if personal but for work and school accounts you get 30 GB! Although you have to pay for more, you do get free, two years of 100 GB storage when you purchase a Chromebook which is nice.
A music app which can use Spotify and sync with your iTunes by transferring your iTunes music, called Google play. It also comes with a Chrome app-store which you can find thousands of apps which can tailor to your needs (working, gaming, personal, etc). Chromebook also has its own built in photo editor and can print wirelessly using Google Cloud Print, also using Google drive you can access your own files saved locally via this app too! Another unique feature with the Chromebook is its own virus protection software and layers of security which means you don’t have to get any anti-virus software (which is always a pain, in my opinion). Plenty of customizability as well from your own wallpapers, browser theme, profile picture and the Google app store also has many apps which work with Chromebook to allow you to customise your device even further. But the best feature has to be working offline, if you have one of those rare, or not so rare, incidents where your connection drops then you can use many of the Chromebooks apps offline which means even the lack of internet connectivity won’t disturb your work. You can use Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Google Keep, Play movies and edit photos, there are also many apps you can use offline that you can find in the store as well!
There are a couple of things I can’t get on with like I feel the keys are quite small, I end up pressing the wrong thing half the time and the power button is centimetres away from the backspace which I have been close to pressing a bunch of times. The backspace is too small as well, as when I’ve mistyped something I’ve ended up putting a load of pluses in front of the word instead of going back, which might just take some getting used to but it is incredibly annoying.
The power and smoothness is really quite good it has an Intel Celeron 1.4Ghz processor which seems to be alright for this Chromebook, the start-up as mentioned before is amazing, loading web pages, apps and games. Although some higher spec games ran at 20fps, I preferably wouldn’t run games on this anyway as this isn’t what it was built for, but little games like Matching Jewels and whatnot works perfectly fine and that’s all that would be needed for this as I would use this for work and possibly novels/little stories. The memory is a 16GB SSD which is extremely low but storing documents on the web is a lot better as they back your documents up which means you don’t need to waste time doing that and if anything went wrong with this Chromebook you would lose absolutely nothing! One other thing I’m not 100% keen on would be, most applications for this open via the web, I would rather just use Microsoft Word or Google Docs as an application, if your internet is slow I’m sure this would affect it.
My overall opinion of the C720 Chromebook is its pretty good, it’s not for everyone but in a workplace this would be extremely suitable, start up times are perfect, loading documents and apps fine. It seems to respond fine to typing and all shortcuts on the keyboard and the touchpad. Plus, the battery life is extremely long and perfect for work time it can last over eight hours!
I think this is a nifty little machine and depending on your job a Chromebook could be perfect for you. There are dozens of Chromebooks available out there from a variety of manufacturers, some well-known, others rather obscure. The specifications vary as much as the prices, but most are a cheap computing solution for consumers and professionals alike.