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  • Nov 1st, 2019 6:57 pm
[OP]
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Sep 29, 2008
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chromebook advice

I'm looking for some advice on chrome books.
I've used macs for about 25 years. i have a very nice mac desktop and i did have a MacBook pro until my wife took it as i haven't needed a laptop for years.

I'm now in need of a laptop, basically all I need it for is web access to use my university D2L website for online quizzes and access to lectures slide in ideally PDF format that I can download and view. Also i need microsoft word for papers, I have office 365 through uni. and then email and maybe occasionally netflix.

I was going to buy a new MacBook pro, mainly as the pro versions last so well. my other one is 2010 and still works perfectly. but the new keyboard is so bad i returned it after a day. I held off as rumours said a new one would be released in October but it looks like not now. I can't wait any longer so i was thinking of getting an 11" chromebook.

will it do what i need? what's a good spec 11" one? i see lots of the 11" are low end celeron chips, is there a good 11" model for a reasonable price? i don't need a powerhouse but i don't want to be frustrated by lag and I'd like it to last as long as possible. I'd rather pay for a good one than find it slow, it's a hell of a lot less than a MacBook anyway.

will iCloud, office exchange email work on a chrome book? is microsoft word good on one? are they very not private and send all your info to google? i really don't like google for that and avoid them as much as possible.

so any tips? i think 11" would be great as it's very portable, my alternative right now is maybe finding a used MacBook 12" but they are still expensive and the terrible keyboard.
thank you
Last edited by crunchiespg on Nov 3rd, 2019 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Skynet Institute of …
Don't buy chromebook
To the moon
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If everything you need can be accessed via browser & MS Word via MSOffice online or 365 Android (provided you're fine with the lesser version/s of Word), then IMO you're the perfect candidate for a Chromebook. Infact you can easily use Google Docs or Linux Libreoffice (which I feel is as good as MS Word if not better) as they are both free Winking Face.

As for media consumption, again if it can be accessed via browser (eg. Netflix, Hulu if vpn allows, Kodi Android + a whole slew of albeit dodgy but free Asian drama/movie sites), a Chromebook does it like no other. ie no viruses, no malware, no spyware, no adware & last but not least, no bloatware means your CB will almost always be as quick as the day you got it til whenever you feel like upgrading although google only promises ChromeOS updates for up to 6.5yrs (which IMO is more than the life of most Win lappies). Heck it also means the wifey (if she ever uses it) will likely never wake you up at midnite for tech help.

For longterm satisfaction, I recco a core i3 (& up), 8gb ram, 64gb (&up) storage, FHD display & touchscreen (2in1 convertible if budget allows + 3:2 display if tablet mode is critical). I have a 2-3yrs old 12.3" Asus C302ca (which is now relegated to the bedside) & a 1+ mth old HP x360 14. The HP has all of the above mentioned specs & I love it. It's as fast as my i7 (actually as fast as the wifey's i9 or so it seems) lappie. A full reboot takes 7 secs (yes I timed it) & wake up from sleep takes <1 sec both which are much quicker than any tablet/lappie I've used. Battery life is atleast 12hrs - yes I've timed it! The only beefs are the bezels could be lesser & the screen while vivid could be brighter so I don't recco for outdoors. FWIW I paid $50x for the Asus 2-3yrs ago & also about the same amt $509 for the HP last mth.

Besides the HP, there's the new Google Pixelbook Go, original Pixelbook & Slate & but mind u, they're expensive IMO. I also like the very well received Asus C434. HP also has the X2 with detachable tablet/display if you can find it still. Acer's chromebook spin 13 has great specs but mucho deniro. Dell, Lenovo, etc have their own versions. Samsung's Chromebook Plus/Pro are very good with amazing 2k displays (3:2) but you might have to shop US for them.

Do some homework & perhaps drop by a Bestbuy to test out what they have to give yourself an idea of what performance can be had so you know what specs suits you. Buy it right & short of destroying it, it's very likely you'd be happy for the next 6yrs atleast.

ps: BF/CM is coming up shortly so its a good time to be shopping Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
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I have found that there are way to many Chromebooks out there -- with more arriving all the time -- to easily suggest a particular one. I find ChromeUnboxed to be very useful, as well as any Lon Seidman Chromebook reviews.

I myself have numerous Chromebooks and Chromeboxes from eBay, most of which I also dual-boot into Linux when I need/want to do so. As with everything else, you usually pay more to get the better options (e.g. memory, screen res, touchscreens, CPU speed, etc.). My old Acer C740 chromebooks just have 'Celeron' processors -- but they are plenty fast enough! Just make sure that their Octane ratings are reasonable (say, about 12000 or so). Touch-screen is nice. The newer models have a longer support life, and can do both the 'Android' thing as well as the built-in 'Linux' thing.
[OP]
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thank you.
the lenovo c330 seems to get some fo the best reviews for 11.6" models. any reason to contradict that idea?
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I've had 3 or 4 Chromebooks because I'm apparently a sucker for punishment thinking "this will be better than the old one!"

There really isn't one I really like yet.

Now... based on OP's description they may be able to be fine with one because most of what they are doing is web based and office based.
That said if it were me in OP's shoes, I'd pick up a "regular" notebook and just stuff Ubuntu on it or something. Or leave it as Windows but that's another can of worms.
My reasoning is that one of my older versions JUST got killed in terms of updates. If this was a "regular" computer I could load a different OS on to it and be up to date. Ubuntu doesn't care how old your hardware is.
The hardware itself is still fully functional but it's never going to get an update again which is kind of concerning in today's world.

I'm still not 100% sold on the OS either. There's a bunch of quirks that I can't get used to.
Even the Caps Lock is missing but you can rebind search from it quite easily.
My latest one (that can run Android) is obviously the best of the bunch since now I get all of Android's things but even than stuff like rooting is quite difficult. I haven't even successfully done it yet.
Linux containers are also an option now too but that's just another "layer" I have to interact with. I'd rather just native linux and call it a day.

At the end of the day I'm probably not going to buy another one unless there's some significant changes.
ChromeOS is just too limiting and Chromebooks are getting expensive.
As an example, I just bought a Lenovo 14w for a "shitbox" for $200 and change. A chromebook is about the sameish price but the difference is I can do whatever I want instead of being locked in.
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death_hawk wrote: I've had 3 or 4 Chromebooks because I'm apparently a sucker for punishment thinking "this will be better than the old one!"

There really isn't one I really like yet.

Now... based on OP's description they may be able to be fine with one because most of what they are doing is web based and office based.
That said if it were me in OP's shoes, I'd pick up a "regular" notebook and just stuff Ubuntu on it or something. Or leave it as Windows but that's another can of worms.
My reasoning is that one of my older versions JUST got killed in terms of updates. If this was a "regular" computer I could load a different OS on to it and be up to date. Ubuntu doesn't care how old your hardware is.
The hardware itself is still fully functional but it's never going to get an update again which is kind of concerning in today's world.

I'm still not 100% sold on the OS either. There's a bunch of quirks that I can't get used to.
Even the Caps Lock is missing but you can rebind search from it quite easily.
My latest one (that can run Android) is obviously the best of the bunch since now I get all of Android's things but even than stuff like rooting is quite difficult. I haven't even successfully done it yet.
Linux containers are also an option now too but that's just another "layer" I have to interact with. I'd rather just native linux and call it a day.

At the end of the day I'm probably not going to buy another one unless there's some significant changes.
ChromeOS is just too limiting and Chromebooks are getting expensive.
As an example, I just bought a Lenovo 14w for a "shitbox" for $200 and change. A chromebook is about the sameish price but the difference is I can do whatever I want instead of being locked in.
i refuse to use windows... haha... i can't stand how they slow down by the day.
this will literally be a companion for my desktop which i can do everything on. i can't see why id need anything other than web access and email plus word for writing. my desktop is a very high end mac so that can do more than i need it to.

i am talking to someone about a MacBook 12 2017 for about $650. if i can get that for that it'll be perfect.
if not the lenovo c330 is $290 with my student discount... it seems like it will do what i need..
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crunchiespg wrote: i refuse to use windows... haha... i can't stand how they slow down by the day.
I'm getting there myself which is why I pitched Linux.
Linux is installable anywhere Windows is, which is why Chromebook is out.
Hell if you want familiarity, you could hackintosh it with some notebooks.
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death_hawk wrote: ..Even the Caps Lock is missing but you can rebind search from it quite easily.
Honestly that quirk used to be one of my beefs as well until chromeOS came out with sticky keys. Now the 4 keys (alt, ctrl, shift, search) are stickied either 1x with single tap, or always on with 2x tap &or all variations of the 4keys can be stickied similarly. Now I love it even more than the normal kbs as I can do all combos of shortcuts with a single hand (or finger in this case).

As for running out of updates, to be honestly don't every OS out there run out eventually? At least we can 6+ yrs here & also, even without updates, it isn't like the OS is crippled or non functional. All the original goodness remains, just not the newest latest goodness as all. I'd say updates are more critical with Win (& to a lesser extend Mac) due to the humongous amount of hacks on it which is a non issue here.
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scotsum wrote: As for running out of updates, to be honestly don't every OS out there run out eventually? At least we can 6+ yrs here & also, even without updates, it isn't like the OS is crippled or non functional. All the original goodness remains, just not the newest latest goodness as all. I'd say updates are more critical with Win (& to a lesser extend Mac) due to the humongous amount of hacks on it which is a non issue here.
Yes, but would you walk into a new car dealership to pick up a 2015 car as "brand new", for the same price as a 2020?

I wouldn't really call it a concern over receiving the latest updates, but the end date is a good indicator of when the machine was manufactured.
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scotsum wrote: Honestly that quirk used to be one of my beefs as well until chromeOS came out with sticky keys. Now the 4 keys (alt, ctrl, shift, search) are stickied either 1x with single tap, or always on with 2x tap &or all variations of the 4keys can be stickied similarly. Now I love it even more than the normal kbs as I can do all combos of shortcuts with a single hand (or finger in this case).
Hmm. I didn't know you could do that.
As for running out of updates, to be honestly don't every OS out there run out eventually?
Sure, but I don't have the option of loading something better when it does run out.
As an example, my CB5-311 just got this notice. I don't know when the launch date was, but apparently 2014 has a review so I'm going to use that.
It's been 5 years and it's been sunsetted.
Compared to the nearest old notebook I have that's next to me that I could find a model number on, a Latitude E4310 which has a review date of 2011 or 8 years.
I'm screwed with the Chromebook but I can easily put something like Ubuntu or Windows 10 (yeah right) on my Latitude because there's nothing stopping me from utilizing the hardware as I see fit, unlike the Chromebook where it's ChromeOS or nothing (without a giant fight)

At least we can 6+ yrs here & also, even without updates, it isn't like the OS is crippled or non functional. All the original goodness remains, just not the newest latest goodness as all. I'd say updates are more critical with Win (& to a lesser extend Mac) due to the humongous amount of hacks on it which is a non issue here.
I don't really disagree today, but look where Mac ended up.
The userbase was so small that they weren't worth attacking. They were known for not ever needing antivirus because no one would write a virus for them because there's only 15 total users in the world.
This "idea" stuck around so more people started buying them. Now this idea is still present despite Mac having quite a large market share. Not as big as Windows, but it's not trivial like it was.

Now... I have no idea how ChromeOS actually works to be honest. I know it's based on Chrome with some "magic" to make it work as a full blown OS.
What I don't know is that if ChromeOS stops getting updates, does the browser stop getting updates too?

Granted... as you mentioned the attack surface is quite a bit smaller on ChromeOS compared to Windows, but I'm fairly certain it's not zero.
This will get worse with sunsetted devices that are fully functional but just old. My Latitude which is 8 years old now is still used quite often for example.
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@death_hawk sticky keys can be accessed under the "accessibility" menu. Don't remember exactly when but I think it's a feature that came in V7x. It's great & made up for most if not all the dysfunctionality (if we can call it that) of the ChromeOS kb.

I don't disagree that it would be to ChromeOS's gain if they could support it ad infinitum but the reality is are we surprised that google's NOT in the business of altruism. ChromeOS is open sourced so the value comes from data mining (for google) & hardware sales for all the rest of the mfgrs/vendors. Because Chromebooks doesn't really get "obsolete" in the sense that newer & latest apps require more&more HP & corresponding resources with latest OS updates nor does it get bloatware, it essentially means that one can use a chromebook forever provided one is satisfied with its present performance. From a biz POV, doesn't that mean they're shooting themselves in the own foot for new hardware sales if its supported forever? I don't know if this supposition is true but common sense says....Black Question Mark Ornament. Sides, for me personally, 5yrs a lonnng time for hardware (esp for battery degradation) so for another $500 (meaning <$100/yr), I don't mind getting new & better hardware. Good for me, good for them & perhaps good for the free market economy.

As to the ANTI everything that ChromeOS enjoys, it's not so much as its lack of market share (& hence lack of hack attacks) but more so because of its intrinsic ability to SANDBOX. Basically, every open tab & app (including android & Linux) are treated as a VM ensuring no common source are shared btwn them. I believe that this means no malicious code can "jump tabs/apps" nor get access to the OS neither via embedding or corrupting its source code. When the tab/app is closed, everything within is "killed" for all intent & purposes.

Also another intrinsic ChromeOS feature is Verified Boot. Every time a Chromebook starts up, it does a self-check against a backup copy & if it detects that the system has been tampered with or corrupted in any way, typically it will repair itself without any effort, taking the Chromebook back to its last/latest update.

Caveat: I'm not a programmer nor am I superversed in ChromeOS magic & I can easily be wrong so the above statements are just my take from the research I've done on it. Perhaps a ChromeOS guru can chime in.
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jwslam wrote: Yes, but would you walk into a new car dealership to pick up a 2015 car as "brand new", for the same price as a 2020?

I wouldn't really call it a concern over receiving the latest updates, but the end date is a good indicator of when the machine was manufactured.
While I don't disagree with your car analogy, IMO a better one would be our phones. How long are Android updates "guaranteed" for? Even Google states upfront that their Pixel device will be officially supported for 3yrs & I think we all know that the rest of them are much less (if ever).

Also, how many of us buy new phones because of obsolescence but more instead of upgraditis & lust for newest greatest? IMHO 5-6yrs is atleast 2gens (& I'm really understating it) so I don't feel its ridiculous to expect a shelf life esp for mobile electronics.
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scotsum wrote: Also, how many of us buy new phones because of obsolescence but more instead of upgraditis & lust for newest greatest? IMHO 5-6yrs is atleast 2gens (& I'm really understating it) so I don't feel its ridiculous to expect a shelf life esp for mobile electronics.
But the difference is that a phone upgrade is noticeable.
Chromebooks (and other shit tier notebooks) still "work" just fine even years later.
Don't expect to play Crysis, but even my Latitude E4310 despite being 9 years old still functions decently (relatively speaking, I'm not gonna 4k anything but it works for web browsing)
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death_hawk wrote: But the difference is that a phone upgrade is noticeable.
Chromebooks (and other shit tier notebooks) still "work" just fine even years later.
Don't expect to play Crysis, but even my Latitude E4310 despite being 9 years old still functions decently (relatively speaking, I'm not gonna 4k anything but it works for web browsing)
I agree totally with you but that said, its from our perspective which ofcos is skewed to our benefit/s. As we know, there's atleast 2 sides to every coin & I was just playing the devil's advocate. I get paid because my employer profits from my work & his business so how can I then begrudge a profit oriented free market business model.

Google spends resources (& I'm assuming it isn't minor) in developing ChromeOS so they can datamine for profit & mfgrs/vendors build/sell equipment to run it for profit. That how the free market works. I used cellphones as an analogy only because its even more blatantly biased against the consumer than what the Chromium Project does. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I like it but I am saying I understand their business model. Profit is what drives innovation & ultimately what makes the world go round no?

Sides, to be fair, a sunsetted Chromebook is much less hamstrung than most other OS's as by design, it's only a browser. A more flexible multiuse browser on steroids perhaps but fundamentally, its only a browser. Sure the android aspect may face compatibility issues in due course but its raison d'etre remains the same. A sunsetted Chromebook should still perform its designed function, just without the latest patches & features. The baked in security remains & so should be much much more secure than Chrome on other platforms.

I also don't have any argument on Chromebooks shaat specs & wish that mfgrs would provide more premium equipment as they do on Win. Again that said, I can also understand that the free market business model will almost always dictate the lowest common denominator for maximal profit. But then based on the performance of my HP x360 14's shaat specs of only a dual core i3, 8gb & 64gb storage (lousy eMMC to further rub it in), I can understand why. So long as it does the job I want & puts a smile on my face doing it, I honestly don't care how lowly the specs are.

Just my $0.02 as I'm sure others might feel differently & I do respect that as well.
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Interesting points.

I actually kinda forgot that money had a part in it.
Me keeping my 9 year old notebook going for example means I'm not buying a replacement to directly replace it.
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If you want a really nice Chromebook that will look and feel like a higher-end laptop, get a Lenovo 500e. It's nice looking, fast, has a touch-screen, battery life is insane, it will fold to a tablet, and is very, very tough.

https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/laptops/le ... 8ELC1S9994
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