It’s no secret that I have a very intense love affair with Google. I use all their apps and services, my phone is a Google Pixel 3a (swoon) and I’m onto my second Chromebook now. I could be a Google ambassador. And let’s face it, one day, they will take over the world (even bypassing Apple who seem to getting left behind these days).
I always wanted a netbook from the very first time I saw one. They just looked convenient, and (dare I say it) trendy. I felt like I would look really business-like and important (shallow, I know), but they were so expensive for what they were and at the time you could only really surf the net on them. Google Docs etc didn’t exist and I had my smartphone so it seemed a bit of a luxury, but unnecessary purchase, so I held off.
Around four years ago I was perusing my online catalogue (the bane of my life, don’t ever get one if you don’t already have one) and I saw a beauty of a Chromebook. I’d heard a little bit about them, how they were bringing them into schools because the security on them was really good and they were easy to learn and use.
The Very catalogue had this particular Acer one on sale. It was supposed to be £259 but was on offer for £175. It was far too much of a bargain for me and I wanted something small that I could sit on the sofa and write blog posts on whilst watching documentaries. With my glass of wine. And cheese. Idyllic right? So I bought it. And I’ve never looked back.
The first Chromebook I bought had a stunning battery life of fourteen hours. It was super lightweight and small enough to fit in my handbag. The WiFi connection was amazing and I took it everywhere with me. My only gripe was the lack of a backlit keyboard, which meant blogging in bed was a tad on the difficult side.
My latest Chromebook, also an Acer was slightly more expensive at £279 but this is primarily because it has a touch screen. It folds all the way back on itself and so can be used as a tablet (the keyboard disables when it’s folded back so far so you can’t accidentally press keys). The battery life is understandably shorter due to the touch screen but it still a handy nine hours on average. It does also weigh slightly more than my old one and still does not have the backlit keyboard I so desired but it’s an awesome piece of kit, with a 720p webcam and whilst there is only two USB slots this isn’t really an issue given the additional cloud storage space you get, for free, just for buying the Chromebook.
A great little beauty for those on a budget.
It seems a little slower than my previous Chromebook and I’m constantly forgetting to use the touchscreen (which is occasionally a bit laggy) and in all honesty I only use it as a tablet if I’m reading an eBook. It’s still an awful lot sleeker and more aesthetically pleasing than the previous one.
As Google has expanded its limitations and brought in its own MSOffice-type suite (the GSuite) I find I can open, edit and create documents that are not even native to the GSuite thanks to its compatibility with Office. I can surf the net with ease and use ninety-nine percent of all the apps and games in the Play store. I chat to my friends in video call on Discord with relative ease and blog to my heart’s content with the handy WordPress app, which works fine.
Sadly, as with everything, there are some small issues I have. Aside from the occasional lag, the occasional app crash and that some apps (including Apple Music) flat out refuse to co-operate (I blame Apple entirely), I struggle with the lack of remote desktop access. I am able to work from home via Windows RDS on my desktop computer, however sadly, I find I’m unable to use my Chromebook for this. It just isn’t possible. Maybe in a future update it will be something they will introduce, as it is possible to connect to another desktop, just not in the way I currently need.
Overall and especially for the price, the Chromebook in general, not necessarily these ones, is a must have for modern day. Lightweight and small/thin enough to fit nicely in your handbag, great wireless connection and the capability of even working offline if you have no signal. The touchscreen Chromebooks are handy if you don’t want to fork out for a tablet as well as a laptop and if you’re on a budget and just can’t afford that MacBook Pro, these little gems are definitely worth a look into.
Both Chromebooks have come down in price since I bought them and you can find them at best value here:
Acer R11 Touchscreen – £261.98 – from Amazon
Acer Chromebook 11 – £165.44 – from Amazon