This is my first Chromebook. Previously I have used Macs and laptops from Toshiba and Lenovo. I decided to go with a Chromebook because I mostly email, browse pages, Zoom, and watch Youtube. Anything I need to do document-wise can be covered by Google. The compactness and long battery life is a big plus. I’m tired of big, heavy laptops wearing holes in my bags.
This Chromebook weighs 2-1/4 .lbs, which is excellent. It is about the size of a magazine, so I would not hestitate to take it anywhere. The body is plastic, which is durable and easy to keep clean. It’s not as nice as metal, but it is generally solid. The bottom panel is a teeny bit loose, but that is a nitpick.
Battery life is as advertised. Depending what you do you get around 10 hours or more, which is more than double any laptop I have used.
The screen opens to 135 degrees (or 45 degrees against the tabletop). I was disappointed it did not open to a full 180, but I can work with it. Screen brightness is listed at 220 nits (on the low end), but don’t let that deter you; it is as bright as my 8 year old Macbook and my Lenovo laptop assigned by work. For indoor use, it works just fine. If you work outside, you will have to find shade. The display quality is not the best, but perfectly useable. It is an IPS display, which provides better viewing angles and color rendition. The 11.6″ screen is enough real estate for watching videos and reading the news. I can type this review and read my email side by side. This is also a touch screen, which seems to work fine in my limited experience. When laying down with the Chromebook on my chest, it’s nice to just browse using the touchscreen. I have downloaded a few Android games, and they work great on the touchscreen. IMO spend more for the touch screen if you want to use Android apps.
The keyboard is a comfortable size. I am typing efficiently without making lots of mistakes. Most of the keys are where you expect them to be. The specialized Chrome keys don’t interfere. The keys themselves have a nice, positive response. Equally responsive is the trackpad, which comes with a full repertoire of gestures for scrolling, zooming, and viewing apps. One thing I noticed is you can only physically click on the botton half of the touchpad, but I usually tap to click.
The on-board speakers are a nice surprise. They are loud and clear. An audiophile might find them slightly tinny, but I can listen to music for hours using just these speakers. There is minimal distortion when I crank the volume up to max. Of course, there is a headphone jack and bluetooth capability.
32 gigs of memory may be challenged if you install a lot of apps. The Chrome System takes up about 13 GB on its own. I have inserted a 128 GB Micro SD card, which can be used as storage for Android apps that support it. For example, I can download music from Youtube Music to my SD card. Documents from the Text editor and Camera app can be directed to the SD card as well.
Regarding the processor, I don’t do anything that has taxed this system yet. I usually only have a couple of tabs and apps open, and I play a few games. Keep in mind this is the same processor on the almost universally lauded Lenovo Duet Chromebook, so it is no slouch.
The 720p webcam is adquate for web conferencing, taking snapshots or recording videos. It’s a little grainy with indoor lighting. People seem to hear me fine using the internal microphone, but works best if you are sitting right in front of the computer. The mic input can be adjusted if you expand the volume options in the wifi/battery/time options.
One last cool thing is you can charge this Chromebook with a phone charger (with the right cable). It is slow, and must be done while the Chromebook is not in use. I was able to get 15% per hour using a basic phone charger. It might be nice if you are traveling and don’t need to lug around the clunky power supply that comes with this Chromebook.
Overall, I am happy with my purchase. This is a nice value package that delivers.