Chrometastically Ever After… Living the Digital Life on an Asus C201 Chromebook

After talking with a friend about the benefits of using a Chromebook as your out and about, in the backpack laptop, I became very curious about the idea and found myself thinking…

Could I really live with the limitations of the device?

Some of the positive points he highlighted were:
  • The responsiveness of the OS on minimal hardware
  • The incredible 10+ hours of battery life
  • The stellar integration of the Google ecosystem
  • The fact that it could handle 90% of what you would need to do on a PC at a fraction of the cost

The timing was right.  I received a bonus from work and was bored with my existing tech.  I needed to dip my feet into something new.

I did my research and came to the conclusion that the Asus C201 Chromebook would be one of the better cheap pieces of hardware on the market.  The C201 has excellent battery life (13 hours), is somewhat rugged, and most important to me – it’s cheap.

Asus C201 Chromebook in Action

Asus C201 Chromebook in Action

What I like:

The keyboard is reasonable for an 11.6 inch laptop.  It takes some getting used to the different keys on a Chromebook, but I found this article which helped me – plus you can invoke all the keyboard shortcuts with Ctl-Alt-? and of course there is the Chromebook help app found by pressing the search key and typing help.

Chrome OS is fast and within 2 days, I learned how to install and uninstall apps, pin tabs in the browser and apps to the shelf (taskbar).  I’m learning more all the time.  On my laptop, there is no right click, but you can press Alt-Touchpad to invoke it which is how you can pin/unpin/uninstall apps.

Speaking of apps – there are a good number of them and I’m finding I can do most of what I want to do – just in a different way.

Limitations:

Of course all is not completely rosy – you can’t do everything on Chrome OS. Forget about editing video, or recording music or doing complex photo editing. But… If you are willing to learn a few new tricks, and adjust to the Chrome OS’isms, you may just find most of what you do on a computer, you can do on a Chromebook.

Writing this post on my chromebook

Writing this post on my Chromebook

Hardware differences:

Where did Caps Lock go?

Where you would expect to find the Caps Lock key, you can find a search key.  This search key brings up a search box that searches for chrome apps and the web.  You can still invoke caps lock by pressing the Alt key and the Search key simultaneously.

Where is the delete key?

I find myself missing the delete key (not to be confused with backspace).  I use that a lot on a regular PC.  I should say that I haven’t read much documentation as yet; there may be a way to enable it via keyboard shortcut.  Feel free to comment on how if so.

Closing thoughts:

For me, I wanted a device that I could remote into my PC at work to get things done when I was out and about that had great battery life at a price I could afford. This meant I didn’t need a Windows Laptop, just something with good battery life that I could use anywhere there was WiFi. It is fulfilling this need well.

I’m also finding it’s a pleasure to use, I’m not firing my desktop very often I’d say that says a fair bit about it right there, however I am still in the honeymoon stages at this point.

Stay tuned – I’ll be posting a list of my favorite apps next. 🙂

 

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