I have read a lot of your questions in the Q&A section below. Before buying, you need to educate yourself on what a chromebook is and does.
Basically, the chromebook is an internet-browser that looks like a small laptop. It contains the operating system called "Chrome OS" which was created by Google. This is a cloud-centric device. You CANNOT download software onto it; you can only use web applications and exensions available through the Chrome Store. Many are free. For those of you who have apple products, tablets, BlackBerry, or android smartphones, you are already familiar with "app stores".
You must be connected to the internet to utilize the majority of the chromebook's functions. This particular Acer chromebook has Wifi it does not have 3G. That means you must be in a Wifi hotspot...either via your router, or in a public place that allows you to connect to Wifi many coffee shops, libraries, hospitals, airports, and other public areas offer free Wifi for guests. When you turn the machine on, it will scan for Wifi, and offer to connect to the strongest signal. The chromebook does have a few offline capabilities. For example, you can read and respond to Gmail while offline offline #this function is available as an app#. And there are some other offline functions. But for the most part, internet connection is needed to perform most functions. So keep that in mind before purchasing.
For those of you who are already using Google's products and services , i.e. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive#, the chromebook will be an easy transition for you. You MUST have a Gmail email address in order to activate the chromebook , but Gmail is free, so you can easily set up a Gmail account.
Some of you are asking about Facebook, YouTube, Skype, etc. There are specific web apps for Facebook and YouTube in the Chrome Store, and YouTube app is already installed on the chromebook when you receive it.
As far as Skype is concerned, you can access Skype by signing up for an Outlook.com account. On Outlook you can have Facebook, Twitter, and Skype integration. But there is also a comparable web app to Skype called "Google Hangouts" which you can install via the Chrome store. That said, your friends would also have to be using Google Hangouts in order for you to talk to them using this app.
The chromebook is simple, and has built-in virus protection. That means that you don't have to worry about installing anti-virus software. And since you cannot download anything onto it, you can't get a computer virus. That said, there are still some web apps/extensions you can download to protect yourself while internet surfing and browsing. Chrome OS also updates itself everytime you turn on the machine; so you don't have to worry about running updates.
In order to print from your chromebook, you need to use Google Cloud Print, which is also an app. But you also have to have a cloud-ready printer. If you have a classic printer, you might still be able to use it, but you will need to check with your manufacturer to see if it is compatible with Google Cloud Print. Some models are, and some aren't. When I bought my chromebook, I chose to purchase a new printer that has built-in wireless, and is specifically compatible with Google Cloud Print. They are not expensive, and you can find them on Walmart.com.
As far as storage is concerned, Acer now has a 16GB SSD #solid state drive#. But as a perk, this chromebook also comes with 100GB of free storage in Google Drive for up to 2 yrs. It's "cloud storage". Once you get your chromebook, you need to go to Google Drive to activate it. This chromebook also comes with some free interent passes to use while flying.
If you use Chrome on multiple devices, you can "sync" everything. For example, if you use Chrome on your PC and save something to Google Drive, you will be able to view it on your chromebook, and vice versa. Chrome is also available for android, so if you download Chrome on your android, you can also view everything on your phone. Because everything is stored via the internet, you can always access your info on multiple devices with an internet connection. This sync feature is ceratainly handy.
The chromebook has USB ports, so you can use an external mouse if you wish, as well as a portable hard drive. It also has an SD card slot, so you can save things to an SD card if the card is standard format. The chromebook does NOT have an optical drive. Battery life is about 4 hours during normal use.
Remember, the chromebook is small; it only has an 11.6" display. One can argue that it's simply a glorified tablet with a keyboard. But I find that a chromebook can do MUCH more than any tablet can do, at an unbeatable price-point. In fact, since I've owned chromebooks, I don't even like using my Windows PC's anymore. 90% of what I need to do on a daily basis, I can do on a chromebook.
Samsung and Acer are the two popular manufacturers of chromebooks -although HP also has some offerings. Acer just removed the 320GB hard drive and replaced it with a 16GB SSD...that is the model I am reviewing here. I deem this Acer a great value, as they added the SSD without raising the price. In my opinion, the Acer has a more vivid display than the Samsung, and a sturdier chassis. You can also expand the memory and SSD. I think this Acer gives you more bang for your buck.
Why is it so cheap you ask? Again, it is not a conventional PC. It has more limited functionality. And you cannot download software. However, I find that I can do just about anything on the chromebook that I normally do on a Windows PC. There are work-arounds, and you just need to find a comparable app or extension from the Chrome Store to assist you.
If you go to Google's Play Store, and then go to "Devices", you will see the chromebooks that are available, and get a good overview. You can also go to the Chrome Store and look at the apps available before you purchase.
Personally, I highly recommend this Acer Chromebook with the 16GB SSD. It's convenient, portable, user-friendly, has a super-fast startup, and will free you from the burdens of Windows. Cloud computing is the way the world is headed. Ditch your slow, outdated PC and get on trend.
If you have any questions, I can try to help you. Just post a comment under my review and I will respond.
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