Chromebooks tell me about them

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  • Chromebooks tell me about them
  • cultsdave
    Member

    Looking for a new laptop and Chromebooks interest me but will they do what I want?
    Mostly surfing web, playing music, some word processing and using it while travelling. I realise that I will either need to use a cloud or an external hard drive for storing photos music etc but then for my budget that would almost be the same for a proper laptop.
    Can you edit word documents on a Chromebook?
    For comparison I like the look of this proper laptop apart from the measly 32gb storage which is probably less than 10 after windows has been installed!
    Any comments?

    Stoner
    Member

    Can you edit word documents on a Chromebook?

    yes.

    Once working in the google apps suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides etc) its very easy to open MS files, edit and then output either as pdf or back to word files if you are feeling old fashioned 😀

    Docs are continuously synchronised and saved to your cloud account allowing you to open them from anywhere on any platform.

    We only have chromebooks/chromeboxes in this house (5x at the last count) and I would never go back to a bloated OS again.

    Battery life is epic, hardware is lightweight, robust enough, but inexpensive enough that you dont get too precious about it.

    More importantly IMO, if I kill a machine or leave it on the train, I simply pick up another, log-in, give it a moment to sort itself out, and all my life is back where I left it, everything sync’d – layout, bookmarks, extensions, apps, printers etc.

    The lost laptop is encrypted, my login is safe, although I can also purge it from any sessions (active but locked) remotely through google.

    I have some 2,000 tunes uploaded to google music from my old collection, and add albums as I wish, although I also use spotify premium.

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    our family’s all chromebooked up. yes they’ll do what you want as long as its not extensive office editing youre after. docs/spreadsheets be a bit of a pain in the ass for me, but that could just be cos i dont fully understand the ‘saving’ process, i get confused between docs and ‘googledocs’. much prefer saving things to a hard drive rather than in the cloud, but as most of my usage is internet based, im happy enough.
    theyre good little machines for that.

    Stoner
    Member

    The new R11 looks good. The previous version was okish, but only 2gb RAM and the screen wasnt ace so I bought a Asus Flip which has been phenomenal.

    I strongly suggest you go for 4GB minimum, dont really sweat the drive space you wont be using it much unless you’re doin it rong.

    I also suggest you get a touch screen version. They are surprisingly useful, even sat at a desk you find yourself flicking the screen to navigate quickly. It also means that the CB works much more like a tablet/phone when you run Google Play apps on it (now the chromeos/android runtime crossover is out of beta). It means you can use android apps like BBC iPlayer to download and play BBC programmes offline. (I know that has always been poss with WinOs etc using a standalone application, but the standalone application aspect is not possible under chromeos for security reasons and so has not been possible until now)

    this feature works on the R11 so thumbs up!
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10707/new-chrome-update-enables-google-play-on-acers-and-asus-chromebooks

    but check your buying options against this list to ensure you do get one that will have google play on stable channel
    https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/chromium-os/chrome-os-systems-supporting-android-apps

    cultsdave
    Member

    Cheers, it is looking like a toss up between the Acer R11 and the Asus flip. Will need to see if I can find them both in a shop to compare.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I’ll echo everything that’s said above. I love my Chromebook. It’s inexpensive computing that serves the majority of the needs of the majority of computer users, and the more you’re engrained in the Google ecosystem the better. I love Google Docs for example.

    Downsides?
    It’s not as pleasant to use as a more expensive laptop. For example I will by default reach for my MacBook as opposed to my Chromebook, but the former cost 5 times as much as the latter. The Chromebook tends to be used if I’m concerned the MacBook will get damaged or stolen.

    I’ve also come across situations where I can’t get software to do what I want on a Chromebook. Either Google Docs is light on functionality for what I need or Chrome doesn’t have suitable extensions for stuff I’m trying to do. For instance Google Docs is fab for basic test-based work processing and the odd image, but for more sophisticated docs I prefer Word or Apple’s Pages. Likewise photos: I much prefer the better quality monitor and offline photo editing of my MacBook than trying to manage and edit photos on the Chromebook. That situation may now be better with Google Photos.

    They’re great for the money and are certainly not 5 times worse than a laptop that costs 5 times as much, but you may find you can’t quite do everything the way you want and prefer. Still highly recommended though.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    My daughter has a Windows netbook – like a Chromebook but with a Windows OS. For a cheap machine with only a small amount of memory it works very well and is swift with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I would say Windows netbooks are worth a look.

    I had the Acer R11 2gb version, which was good but not quite fast enough with a lot of tabs open. I actually found everything else great though, no need for Full HD on an 11″ screen – it’s used differently to a tablet. It’s been replaced with a spendy Dell Chromebook 13 I found on the outlet website.

    As above, I love the fact it’s just a login to get it up and running. No installing apps etc.. (part of the reason I’ve not used the Play store on it). Huge battery life, instant “boot” time. I still have one proper PC with a big HDD though, mostly because it’s worth naff all so no point in getting rid of it.

    If you want to try out what it would be like, just try using Chrome / Google Docs for everything now as that’s pretty much all it is.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I realise that I will either need to use a cloud or an external hard drive for storing photos music etc

    You can (or you could) get them with bigger hard drives for local storage. There’s also usually a card slot.

    I bought a 4gb R11 about 2 months back. It’s taken me a while to get my head around it but i love it now. Especially with android apps on it.

    Only downsides are:

    – i sometimes get the feeling the developers are still testing things on me
    – i can’t run non-market apps so i can’t use the Amazon video app and download Prime videos offline
    – the apps aren’t able to access the sd card. They are working on this though (see first point…)

    wooobob
    Member

    Also got the R11 a couple of weeks back. Really pleased with it so far. My use was pretty much the same as you describe above. It’s great, really handy, quick, and straightforward to set up. There will be limitations, but the system is still evolving and improving. I’m glad (so far) that I didn’t spend a load more on a normal laptop.

    Premier Icon StirlingCrispin
    Subscriber

    Can you edit word documents on a Chromebook?

    Wife uses Office 365 on our Chromebook – so yes.

    That said, she’d be better off using Google Docs for what she does, but what do I know.

    oldschool
    Member

    Do I need an internet connection to use google apps for word/excel? Or can I work offline and then sync when I reconnect?

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    Offline editing has worked for quite some years.

    Mines just gone out of support. 🙁 one of the first Samsung’s which I bought in 2011. Still works fine though, (albeit with a slightly weird issue where it doesn’t recognise the password until the second attempt) and the battery life seems to be down to about 5 hours of continuous use now.

    Not bad for a £200 computer.

    oldschool
    Member

    Thanks tthew, assumed so but had read some reviews to the contrary.
    Cheers, I’ll get ordering.

    Interesting as looking at the Asus C302CA flip and trying to figure out if it’s good value given it’s c£550 as that buys a decent laptop. Have a Surface Pro for work and not feeling much love for it tbh.

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