Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
This is the best laptop I've owned.
on April 14, 2014
I bought this to replace an aging laptop that I bought in 2004. The old laptop was slow, it ran hot, and it barely got over 2 hours of battery life.
I was skeptical of the Chromebook idea from the start. After all, what good *is* a device whose operating system is "just" a web browser, anyway?
Even though the Chromebook is a relatively recent thing, the idea of an operating system centered around the web is not. In fact, in the late 1990s, Netscape Communications Corporation (the predecessor of Mozilla) envisioned the exact same thing.
Microsoft, fearing what such an innovation could do to their stodgy, bloated, malware-riddled, and error-prone Windows operating system, developed Internet Explorer and made it an irremovable part of the "Windows experience".
Although support for the web was bolted onto Windows after-the-fact, and Microsoft products "just aren't engineered for security" (-Brian Valentine, senior vice-president in charge of Microsoft's Windows development, 2002), people used this awful system with the web, even though its bloat always requires expensive and incredibly powerful hardware, just to keep up with the poorly designed operating system.
Enter Chrome OS....
Chrome OS is an operating system designed by Google, from the ground up, and based on a stripped down GNU/Linux operating system. It is very lightweight, stable, free of malicious software, and it doesn't require fast and expensive hardware in order to run its apps, which are all based on the Google Chrome platform.
In Chrome OS, you have super fast web browsing, excellent extensions, support for video games, an office suite, etc. It really doesn't feel like "just a web browser", because it's not.
Who is Chrome OS for?
Google says "everyone", and that seems to be the case. I'm a techie, and I feel right at home in Chrome OS, and do not feel like I'm missing the functionality of my desktop PC for most tasks.
But, Chrome OS is also the easiest operating system to use that I have ever seen. You literally just take it out of the box, turn it on, and sign in using your Google account. It's simple enough for your grandmother.
Best of all, since your apps, settings, preferences, and extensions are all stored in the cloud, the settings you already have for your Chrome browser on your computer are imported automatically. Anything you do on your Chromebook will just be there any time you sign in on any other Chromebook, or into any other Chrome web browser.
This Acer Chromebook has a very solid construction considering the price point. It doesn't feel like a cheap laptop at all. It is very thin and light. The battery life is 8-9 hours of normal use. The system boots in under 7 seconds, but there's really no need to turn it off. Just close the lid, and it goes into a deep sleep mode. The Haswell-based Celeron and 2 GB of RAM really packs a punch running Chrome OS. On Windows, this would be a bad experience, but Chrome OS is light and efficient. The Solid State Drive contributes greatly to the incredible battery life, the fast boot up, and the almost entirely silent operation. Chrome and its apps launch instantly.
The screen is fairly bright, and easy on the eyes.
The only learning curve for me with this laptop was getting used to the touchpad. I really recommend going over the "New user" guide that pops up the first time you sign in.
Although Google and Acer state that the "free goodies" (60 days of Google Music All Access, 100 GB of free Google Drive Cloud Storage for two years, and 12 in-flight GoGo internet passes) are not included on refurbished Chromebooks, I got lucky. When I visited the following link, Google gave me all of these perks.
All in all, I don't think you can ask more from this device at the $149.99 price from Acer's refurbishment outlet. I also put it on my Amazon.com Rewards Visa and got an additional 3% off, making it $145.49.
You're not going to get a Windows laptop anywhere near this price. The cheapest Windows laptops that do anything useful are nearly $400, and they get terrible battery life thanks to their sluggish hard disk drives, and run hot because the processor has to run at full speed all the time just to keep up with Windows, which is obese, and to run antivirus software that Chrome OS doesn't need, which slows down your Windows computer even more.