Last year before the release of the 1st generation Chromebook I wrote a guest post for Chrome Story, Why You Should Not Buy A Chromebook – 9 Reasons. In that post I outlined the disadvantages of Chromebook from a user’s point of view. Today, I found a review of the latest Samsung Chromebook by liliputing, with a section named “What Chrome OS can’t do”. Here are the major points I got from this post:
- No internet, 2000 percent less useful
- Limited local storage
- Cannot run apps that have no web version (Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Stata, Final Cut Pro, Diablo III, Portal 2…)
- Not all hardware supported (e.g. printers)
- Only DisplayPort output, no VGA, HDMI, or DVI port
I cannot agree with everything said above. Points 2 and 5 should be hardware limitations only. And the “2000 percent less useful” claim seems to be exaggerated. Nowadays if you have a smartphone without internet connection, you could probably enjoy around 40% to 50% of the power of the phone. The figure may be even lower for Chrome OS, but with more and more offline support built into web apps (mainly Google Apps), I think Chrome OS is a nice computer with basic function when offline.
Point 3 is also irrelevant because Chrome OS is not designed for playing Diablo III, right? Making such a statement is like complaining the lack of World of Warcraft on iPhone. Remember Chrome OS is made for casual daily use or lightweight office use (in my opinion), we certainly shouldn’t expect to do everything on a Chrome OS device.
I do agree with liliputing’s final verdict about Chrome OS, “you can do many of those things better with a Chromebook if the web browser is your most important app“. This simplicity of Chrome OS, the peace of mind thanks to auto-update and virus proof design and the responsiveness make Chrome OS an outstanding cloud OS. No matter Chromebook or Chromebox, I believe Chrome OS device could make surfing the internet much more easier and funnier. It is not an almighty machine but a handy and helpful tool for all internet animals.
Original review by liliputing
So Samsung Chromebox is released and hot-selling (being the best selling desktop computer in Amazon). Do you like it? Considering buying one? Before you hit the buy button, let’s have a look at what people say about this little Chrome device:
Size and Look
- 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches big, it can fit into any drawer unnoticed
- Outer appearance and feel is not bad, but it’s not great. It has an “overly plasticly appearance” – GearWERKZ.net
- Boots in 5 to 7 seconds, ready to surf the internet in about 10 seconds. Probably only tablets could be faster.
- “It’s very fast and very stable, and I never encountered a crash or slowdown…” – TheVerge.com
- “The Chromebox handles 1080p video playback without hiccups or drama — watching YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu or Netflix is no longer a gamble… with 4GB of RAM it’s now possible to open a few dozen tabs before noticing any performance hit.” – Engadget.com
- Setting it up is easy, just connect to network via Wi-Fi or ethernet, use (or create) your Google account, and you are good to go
- Multi-tasking is improved in this version of Chrome OS, putting windows side-by-side is great
- Everything stored online, auto-update and virus-protection, this PC is virtually maintenance-free
- Limited to using the apps in Chrome Web Store
- It’s great for simple casual use. “If you want to spend hours on productivity programs, video or picture editing for instance or constructing complicated office documents, then the Chromebox is probably not for you.” – TechRadar.com
- Using your own keyboard is OK, because you can map most keys of the keyboard to the Chrome OS specific keys, EXCEPT Caps Lock (according to theverge.com)
- There are plenty of ports (6 USB ports!!!)
- However, there is no VGA or HDMI port, so you need a separate DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect to your HDTV
- It supports dual-display output, but right now it only mirrors the desktop to two displays
- There is only 16GB flash storage on board, so if you want to use it as a media center, you may need an external harddisk
- It recognizes many common webcams, however, USB-based microphones are currently not supported – CNET.com
- At $329.99, it’s more like a net-top, good for low-end use
- Much cheaper than Apple’s Mac Mini (but of course, Mac Mini is more powerful)
So what’s the verdict? Most reviewers thought that Chromebox is good for some simple and lightweight use. Given it’s limited local storage and fair CPU speed, one should not expect to use it for heavy tasks. It has the potential to be a home theater PC, but the lack of HDMI port and web-only user interface make it not the perfect choice (think Apple TV if you only want streaming media, and it’s much cheaper). If you are looking for a device for light-weight web surfing in the living room, occasional document editing and watching online video in YouTube, Chromebox is something you may consider.
Hello all! Cloud High Club was started in March 2011, it is almost 10-month old now. Writing on this blog has been enjoyable, I like sharing great web apps and Chromebook tips and news with everyone. This would be my last blog post in 2011, let me take this opportunity to forecast the development of this blog in the coming year.
Chrome OS 101 Updated and Expanded
You heard me right. I’m preparing an updated and expanded version of my Chrome OS 101: Beginner’s Guide to Chromebook FREE e-book. 6 months after the release of Chromebook, the Chrome OS of this computing device has received quite some changes. I have spent the last couple of weeks to refine this e-book and add new contents (this is why you found less frequent updates to this blog lately, my apology). This time I added some useful tips and selected web apps to make the e-book useful to not only Chromebook users but Chrome browser users as well. I plan to release this updated e-book in early 2012.
More on Tutorials and Reviews (and Less on Breaking News)
This is a tough decision to make. There are new web apps news everyday, Google is releasing Chrome and Chrome OS updates once in a while. As a part-time blogger, I found it uneasy to keep my blog up-to-date everyday. If you are a long-time follower of this blog, you should have noticed that I have been writing less news and more web app reviews and tutorials.
I believe that sharing makes the community stronger. In 2011 I have written a number of articles for some other blogs such as Chrome Story, Chrome OS Site and AppStorm. I will be guest writing more for other blogs and web sites. On the other hand, I also welcome other bloggers to sync their blog posts here (write to me if you are interested!). I hope this blog could provide more and more useful information for cloud users.
Last of all, wish all readers a happy new year!