Two weeks using a Chromebook

For some time I have been considering a Chromebook.

So a couple of weeks ago I took the plunge with a Lenovo N22 at around £100. At a price point less than many android tablets it seemed good time to try it out.

The intention was to use it for my personal use, not as a business tool and the comments below are based on that intent.

First Impressions

First impression out of the box was that it was smaller and lighter than my current laptop, not too surprising as I was going from a 17 inch screen to 11.6. The next major difference is the keyboard, no function keys and no caps lock key!  The function keys are replaced by browser controls, brightness and volume controls, caps lock is a combination of alt + search key.

On startup it was a straightforward process to set up the wireless connection and Google account.

After the initial setup the Chrome browser had synched and was ready to go,

Not surprisingly the majority of my day to day activities were now up an running with no fuss, gmail, Google docs, Office365, Evernote web.

First priority was setting up access to Dropbox. So the first app installed was File System for Dropbox which mounts your dropbox files as a file system in the Chromebook file manager.

Useful applications

Secure Shell :- Terminal Emulator and SSH client.  Still in Beta but works for what I need which is connecting to Raspberry Pi.

Teamviewer :- Limited to outgoing connections only but still useful to connect to a variety of other systems such as laptop running Linux, Desktop on Windows 10 and the Raspberry Pi.

Anyfile Notepad :- Similar to Notepad++ with syntax highlighting.

Working offline 

To be honest I have not had a lot of need to work offline but I have enabled offline working for gmail and Google docs which works well, I have also installed Google Keep which can be useful for taking notes offline.

Biggest plus

The chromebook is portable, light, plenty fast enough and, for me, a better option than a tablet.

Biggest downside

Not a show stopper but the lack of Java has sent me looking for alternatives to some old favourite applications.  So far this has been successful and I don’t foresee any big issues in the future.

Overall impression

I am a convert to chromebook, experience, to date, has been positive.  Would I discard my laptop and desktop?  In a word no.  They all serve a purpose for me but the chromebook is the one that, for the moment, will be my companion most of the time.


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