Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Chrome’

Acer Chromebook C720 (Review)

July 25, 2014 1 comment

Acer C720 ChromebookAcer Chromebook C720
Acer, Inc.
Price varies from $179 to $379 depending on hardware and features.
$199 for the C720-2800 Reviewed model

My Acer Chromebook C720 is just cool. I know that’s not a very good review, but it is in fact, cool. I love it. If there’s one computer that I always grab for writing, Internet browsing, buying stuff online, watching YouTube videos, or connecting to remote server systems to do some heavy work, it’s my trusty, little C720 Chromebook. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written on ZDNet in my Consumerization column, you know that I sort of have a love affair with Acer. Yes, I’m afraid that it’s a one-sided affair, but it’s one that I’ve carried on for years.

I’ve purchased many Acer products and have recommended them (successfully) to my in-laws and others. Someday I’ll provide a full list of the still living models, although I can tell you that I have one, a Linux system living in my personal data center (garage) that has to be ten years old. I digress. But you see my point? I love Acer products. And the C720 hasn’t changed my mind.

The C720 is what Chromebooks aspire (Watch that pun, Acer has a line of Aspire systems) to be. They’re lightweight, powerful, stable, durable, high quality, full of features, and competitively priced. What more can you ask for? Great support, probably. Well, Acer has that. Although I’ve never had any serious problems with any of my Acer products, the two or three times I’ve used Customer Support, the agent has helped me until the issue was resolved. I’ve never disconnected from one of the online chat sessions with anything but satisfaction in my head and a smile on my face.

My Acer C720 surpassed my Acer One Netbook as my favorite computer about a week after I got it. The C720 is so fast and responsive that rivals even the most souped-up computer that I’ve ever used. There’s never any hesitation, freezing, or “Not responding” messages. And I really don’t have the patience for “Not responding” messages.

And say what you will about Google, but the Chrome browser and the Chrome OS are the best things to happen to computers since Linus released Linux back in the mid-1990s. Google aced it, in my humble opinion, with Chrome and Chrome OS.

C720_SideViews

The C720 comes in a variety of models from the most basic to the very elaborate with a touch screen, super fast CPU(s), 4GB RAM, and a larger (32GB) internal SSD. The touch screen is the big bonus feature for the Chromebook. Chrome OS isn’t Windows 8, but the operating system and computing environment is still enhanced by touch screen technology for those of us who have become accustomed to tapping and swiping our phones and tablets. Alas, my C720 doesn’t have a touchscreen, but the trackpad is very good. Sometimes, if I’m working at a desk instead of on my lap, I plug in an external mouse and I’m fine.

  • 11.6’’ (1366×768) display, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 0.75 inches thin – 2.76 lbs/ 1.25kg
  • Up to 8.5 hours of active use 1
  • New Intel® Celeron™ processor
  • 100 GB Google Drive Cloud Storage2 with 16GB Solid State Drive
  • 30-day free trial with Google Play Music All Access
  • Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • VGA Camera
  • 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • Full size HDMI Port
  • Bluetooth®4.0 Compatible

One thing to note about your Chromebook is that its operating system, Chrome OS, has been deemed the “most secure operating system” by Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker turned security expert. He’s correct. I’ve performed multiple security scans over the network against the Chromebook and I can’t break into it. There’s just no available attack vector. In other words, you can feel safe using your Chromebook out in public because no one can scan your system, break into it, and grab your data.

Why it’s Frugal: The C720 is frugal for many reasons, but the most important one is features per dollar. You get a full, powerful computer for $200 that won’t require you to spend on hardware upgrades because of a newer operating system version every two years. There’s no spinning hard drive to fail on you. There’s very little heat generated from it. It requires very little electricity. It really requires no additional accessories to make it useful. And it’s an Acer product, which means that it will last for years. That’s frugal.

The C720 comes equipped with a camera (top center of the screen) and a built-in microphone located just above the function keys above the keyboard, so that you can use Google Hangouts with audio or both audio and video. If you’re a videocaster or podcaster, you can use Google Hangouts from your Chromebook and easily upload the finished product to YouTube. And you can perform those casts from anywhere that you have access to Wi-Fi or a wired network.
While your C720 doesn’t come with an Ethernet connection, you can purchase a USB-to-Ethernet network interface for under $20. There are no drivers to install or any issues. Plug it in and it works.
Using a Chromebook is a little different than using a “regular” computer. You don’t typically save anything to your local computer. You save your documents and pictures to Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other cloud-based storage service and you work 100 percent of your time on web-based applications, whether you’re editing photos, writing your memoirs, or listening to music. You’ll get used to it. Plus, if the darn thing dies and can’t be repaired (very rare), you’re only out $200. Go buy another one.
You login to your Chromebook with your Google account, which means that you have Gmail, Hangouts, YouTube, and customized search via Google.com at your fingertips. Other users can login to your Chromebook, if they have a Google account, but they can’t look at or alter any of your settings or data. This means that if you have a friend who needs to check her Gmail, you can let her do that and both of you can feel secure in the fact that both your data and hers are protected from each other’s prying eyes. The same goes for a stranger who wants to login. For this reason, Chromebooks make excellent shared/public kiosk type computers.
The C720 is lightweight at just over two-and-a-half pounds, which makes it very portable. It also features a very long battery life of up to 8+ hours. Under heavy usage conditions, such as audio/video or constant on, I’d figure on four to five hours. As with most laptop/notebook computers, it charges while you work, if plugged in.
You can look at and test the C720 at Office Depot and other stores in sort of a try before you buy fashion. I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed with the C720 regardless of configuration. I love mine. It’s my favorite computer.
Rating: 10/10
Recommendation: Buy it and love it.
Advertisements

The Dell Chromebook 11 (Review)

March 12, 2014 2 comments

Dell Chromebook 11Dell Chromebook 11
Dell
$299.00

The Dell Chromebook 11 is an educational Chromebook, although, in my opinion, the Dell Chromebook 11 (11) is a Chromebook suitable for general use as well. At three pounds, its weight is in line with other Chromebooks. The 11 feels solid and good in my hands. It doesn’t feel cheap like some Chromebooks do. It feels more like a regular laptop than an inexpensive Ultraportable computer.

The 11 sports the new 1.4GHz Intel 2995U Celeron Haswell processor (CPU) with 2MB of cache. For you less technical types, that’s all good stuff. Just think speed and low power usage. The memory is 4GB DDR3, which means you have plenty of memory (RAM) to handle a large number of Chrome browser tabs with ease.

The Dell Chromebook 11 Technical Specifications:

  • Processor – Intel Haswell 2955U processor 1.4GHz
  • Operating System – Chrome OS
  • Memory – DDR3 Memory 4GB (internal) Advanced
  • Chipset – Intel Integrated
  • Video Card – Intel Integrated
  • Display – 11.6″ LCD Min 1366×768 HDMI 1080p
  • 720p Front-facing Camera
  • Audio and Speakers – 4W Internal Stereo Speaker (Min 2W x 2)
  • Hard Drive – 16GB SSD storage (SATA)
  • Power – Internal 220 Watt Power Supply (PFC. nPFC. EPA)
  • Primary Battery – Greater than 8 hrs.
  • Warranty – 1 year depot repair/service; 1-4 years warranty extension options
  • Security – Browser based security with hardware TPM: Phishing and malware. SSL certificates content settings Kensington Security Lock
  • Wireless – Dell DW1901 (Atheros). A/B/G/N 802.11
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Bluetooth 4.0 support

The two things that the 11 doesn’t have as features are a standard 15 pin video out interface and a standard wired Ethernet interface. They aren’t essential features, but they are nice-to-haves. In their place, the 11 has an HDMI interface and, of course, wireless networking. You could use a USB Ethernet connector in one of the 11’s two USB slots.

Why it’s frugal: For $299, you get a fast, solid computer that will easily last you three to four years and possibly longer. The Dell Chromebook 11 is well-built and features a lot of RAM for a Chromebook at 4GB, a 16GB disk, and a fast CPU. Unless the Chrome OS bloats drastically (not likely at all) within the next 4 years, you’ll have made a very wise computing investment.

Dell Chromebook 11 ScreenThe Chromebook 11’s sound is clear and noise free. The camera is a front-facing 720p (YouTube quality HD) and is as good and clear as I’ve seen on any laptop–not just a Chromebook.

Because this model is targeted toward students and education, I should note that the 11 feels sturdy enough to withstand being carried to and from school in a backpack without damage. And the battery has enough life in it to last an entire school day, if plugged in to charge overnight before the school day begins. It’s small enough and lightweight enough to fit into all but the smallest purse, messenger bag, or backpack. Students will love the “instant on” feature that places them at a login prompt upon opening the computer.

Unless you really love trackpads, buy a wireless mouse for your Chromebook. You can buy small ones that are roughly half the size of a regular desktop mouse. The reason for the external mouse is that Chromebooks, including the 11, leave out essential mouse buttons from the trackpad. To right click, you have to press the ALT key while tapping the trackpad. A minor annoyance, but still an annoyance.

The only major drawback to the Chromebook 11 is that it only has two USB slots and they’re both located on the left side of the computer. They’re both next to the HDMI slot, which makes using external HDMI video and two USB devices somewhat cumbersome or impossible, depending on the USB connector widths.

I like the Dell Chromebook 11. What’s not to like? It’s a fast and furious Chromebook with a bright, clear screen that would be perfect for students and just about anyone else regardless of learning status. It’s a good value and you won’t be disappointed with its performance, styling, or durability.

Rating: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it for a student, for yourself, or for anyone.

False Pretense Films

Films with a Twist

I'm Just Trying to Help

Helpful Hints, Tips, Tricks, and Info

5K a Day 2017

Our 2017 fitness goal

The securityNOW Podcast Show

Cybersecurity News and Interviews

LoneStarFreedomPress

Phoenix Republic - The Lone Star Gambit / Sovereign's Journey

%d bloggers like this: