Until quite recently I had always been a PC type-of-guy. You know, those big tower things, with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer/scanner, external hard drive and external speakers. Everything running from multiple plug sockets, with cables going everywhere, which sat on a dusty desk with an uncomfortable chair. I had one of those for years, constantly upgrading and adding to it. Buying an antivirus, (Norton). Downloading updates. And dealing with crashes and compatibility issues. It was this that made me decide that I needed a change. Since I have a Google email account and use Google Chrome for internet searches, I thought I would try a Chromebook.
I opted for the Samsung Chromebook series 3, in silver, with an 11.6 inch screen. Boot-up takes just 8 seconds, so I am online in no time at all. With instant updates, which take just 15 seconds, built-in virus protection, dual band Wi-fi (and an optional 3G port), 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, Bluetooth compatible, a 16GB solid state hard drive, so I can connect almost anywhere. With its built-in VGA camera, microphone and speakers I can ‘Hangout’ with anyone at any time, too. And, weighing just 1.1kg and being less than 17.5mm thin and with a battery life of over 6.5 hours, I can go anywhere. And, because it requires no fan to keep it cool, it runs silent.
All the Google features that I use, come built-in, so there is no need to download anything. I literally switched it on and off I went. Any app that I did need to add was downloaded in seconds through the Chrome store. The Chromebook does not have a desktop in the true sense of the word, but then there is nothing I do on the desktop, so that is no loss. All of my music, which was stored on the external hard drive, was uploaded to Google Play, which I can access via any PC or mobile device. My photographs and files were uploaded to Google Drive which, again, is accessible via any PC or mobile device. (My videos had already been uploaded to You Tube.)
Because my files are kept in Google Drive, I don’t have to download them or send them as attachments as I can share them publicly, on the internet, or allow access to whoever requires it. This is a lot simpler than zipping the file and can allow for greater sharing.
The Chromebook does have space to save files, photographs, video, music, etc., but this seems pointless when you can save them straight to the cloud drives. Plus, if I lose my Chromebook, or it gets irreparably broken, then I haven’t lost any important information.
Another great time saving device is the Google+ photo app. Whenever I take a photo with my camera, the photograph or video is automatically placed in a private folder, on Google+. Then I just have to open the folder and share whichever photo/video I choose, while keeping the rest private. I can also move the selected photo/video to another album or Google Drive or download it, if I need to. One of the best things about Google+ is its Auto Awesomeness feature. This feature automatically enhances any photograph for the optimum picture. Plus, if you have taken a selection of shots from the same place of the same object, Auto Awesomeness can make these into a moving image (GIF), while still leaving the original photos as they were. This feature can also edit a selection of photos. For instance, I took a set of 5-6 photos of Erin and Keilyn riding on some swings. Some of the photos had blurred faces and others had people walking across the background, so there wasn’t one truly great shot. Then Auto Awesomeness kicked in. It took the best of each photo and seamlessly made one great shot, even removing the people from the background.
The Chromebook is the perfect tool for anyone looking to upgrade or move forward and, at around £200, it is quite inexpensive.