Today, mostly on a whim, I grabbed my Google Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook with me to take on the train into work. At home I use the device infrequently for two reasons: 1) My first experience was with an early build that still had trackpad issues - causing my use of the device to be highly frustrating and un-enjoyable. 2) You can't beat the power of a MacBook Pro.
Still, one area that the Cr-48 excels is its lightweight and portability. I don't know how much a Cr-48 weighs but it is most certainly less than the ~4lbs of my 13" MacBook Pro. And that's something that I greatly value. I hate carrying around my bag all day, and when it's heavy I hate it even more. So having a lightweight notebook in tow is absolutely delightful.
Right now I'm on train somewhere between Stamford and Grand Central station. Definitely closer to Stamford as it's not even 9am. When I first got on the train I threw my bag onto the overhead storage shelf and sat with my phone - but after less than five minutes I got up and dragged out this here Cr-48 that I'm writing on right now. I brought it to try it out didn't I? So I might as damn well give it a try!
I forgot how damn fast this thing starts up. After taking the notebook out of my bag and opening the cover I was greeted to the Chrome OS logo and then ~10 seconds later I was putting in my Gmail password and then ~10 seconds later I was greeted to a blank tab page.
After switching on the 3G mobile data I was on the Internet and having a regular ol' surf-fest. In terms of getting going from nothing this thing is a speed demon. It's light, turns on in the blink of an eye, and if all you need is to surf some websites then this device is your beau-to-be.
However it's not without its faults. For starters when I was writing this post my palms would unconsciously rest on the trackpad and my cursor would jump from one line of text to one three lines up. This happened often enough to prove not a mistake and a design flaw. To be fair writing on a crowded train forces the use of alternative writing postures which could be held responsible however I reserve my doubts.
In terms of hardware the Cr-48 is nowhere near a speed freak. Any website that is too image heavy or CPU intensive causes it to choke and stall. This is something I've grown to not accept thanks to my MacBook Pro and to experience this anywhere causes great sadness within me. Spec wise the Cr-48 isn't close to a MBP but the overall experience is poor.
Third and last for now is I surprisingly noticed the bottom of the Cr-48 heating up after a little use. The only reason I make note of this is I had previously thought the Cr-48 to always run cool and quiet. It ran quiet this morning but it began to uncomfortably heat up my lap and eventually I switched to my iPhone to finish this post. I can't type as fast on my iPhone but it does keep my lap nice and cool.
Alas I would love to revisit the Cr-48 on a less crowded train ride to see if my overall experience improves. Maybe that'll be later today but there is no way to predict the popularity of a train on any given day. I suppose that holds true for new technologies. No way to predict if in 6-months time I'll walk onto the train seeing a Chrome OS on people's laps. Only time will answer that for me.