First Impressions with Google’s Cr-48 Chrome OS Netbook
On December 7, 2010, Google announced their Chrome OS Notebook reference hardware, the Cr-48 (a bit of a chemistry joke). They also announced a pilot program, by which participants would receive a free netbook running the release version of Chrome OS, with the understanding that the user would provide Google feedback about the operating system. I immediately signed up, since I was listening to the live broadcast of the announcement.
When they announced the pilot program, they put a QR code on the screen at 1:20:24 on the applicable slide. I scanned the QR code using my iPhone and it took me to a signup page. After filling in the information it thanked me for my information and said they would follow up or something. I didn’t think I’d actually get a notebook, but on the following Thursday, people all across the United States started receiving Cr-48s; I hoped I would be one of them. By the end of the day, I was very disappointed.
However, late in the afternoon on Friday, December 10, 2010, I went out to the mailbox to check the mail and a Cr-48 was sitting on my porch.
Here is my initial video right after unboxing:
Additionally, I took pictures of the unboxing, in case anyone cares, because I was so excited (click to see the album):
- The setup process confused me because I kept tapping to click. I didn’t know you needed to press down hard to click the actual trackpad itself. The entire trackpad is a physical button. This is apparently common to Apple notebooks, I have been told. After the setup process, you can change this in settings to allow “tap-to-click”.
- It boots up from a power-off state really quickly.
- It came with at least half a charge. Thanks Google!
- It takes awhile to set up the free Verizon 100MB data. They really need your information first; I assume this is to address DMCA/child pornography type violations, so they can associate an IP with a physical person.
- It wakes from sleep instantly, just like in the presentation.
- The keyboard is insanely good, and all the letters are lower case: an odd touch, not that I spend most of my time looking at the keyboard.
- In the car at night, I did find myself wishing the keyboard was backlit, so I could see some of the new buttons they’ve replaced, like the function keys.
- It bogs down really hard on internet videos that are not from you-tube. Comedy Central works fine. Hulu and NBC do not work well at all. They get very choppy. None of these are in HD.
- YouTube has no option to enable HD. I even tried to force it with “hd=1” in the URL and it ignored it, forcing 480p. I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I wanted to test it and they won’t let me.
- Logging into the netbook logs you into your Google Account. You don’t have to log in anymore for things like YouTube, Gmail, Reader, Voice, and all the other things that Google runs in my life (Latitude, etc).
- It’s heavier than it looks; I haven’t weighed it yet, but I’m sure that info is already out there.
- There was nothing I wanted to do on it that I wasn’t able to do with a webapp or a webpage yet. I even set up IRC through IM+ and IRC through Mibbit.
- The back on the bottom gets a bit warm after extended use.
- The battery seems to last forever, but takes awhile to charge.
- You don’t seem to be able to login with Google Apps accounts. My girlfriend could not login, even when I’d added her ID as a valid ID for use with the Netbook in settings.
If anyone has any questions I haven’t addressed, please ask them in the comments and I’ll answer in my next blog post.