Without warning, a Google Cr-48 showed up at my apartment the other day. This is going to be a bit unfocused, but here are my thoughts on the thing.
The laptop is so stealth. It’s matte black, has no logos, no CE warnings (externally, at least), no nothing. It is probably the most amazing aspect of the experience for me — the complete lack of branding is amazing. It absorbs light. It’s awesome.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I received 100MB free on Verizon 3g for two years. 100MB isn’t anything, but it’s a nice touch. Google’s making this compelling on purpose.
The battery life of the laptop is amazing. It’s reminiscent of the iPad in how overkill it is.
Mobile apps are stupid. They’re just web pages. The Chrome web store is a complete joke.
The trackpad is the worst I’ve ever used. It’s absolutely horrid. Using the laptop without an external mouse is impossible. Luckily, most external mice just sync up and work, so it’s not all bad. I’d kill for a finger nubbin.
The thing is slow. Damn slow. Google maps is slow. If you’re doing more than two things in two tabs at once, the thing just completely dies. Google Reader feels sluggish. There’s just not enough hardware here to make this work. It’s a shame.
OS updates are trivial and effective.
Watching a random video on the Internet “worked” but only displayed a frame or two a second. It was absurd.
Listening to an audio stream, the laptop fell asleep. The automatic sleeping makes this particular use cas a bit of a problem. I was using the laptop to display recipes and listen to This American Life, and the latter case was a bit problematic. On the upside, the sound quality was surprisingly decent, especially for free.
I miss keyboard backlighting, but it’s not really a big deal.
The laptop is the perfect party laptop. Just hand it to anybody with a google account, and they’re in. Pass it around.
There are some nice touches — a gentle tap of the power button shrinks the screen, a little more of a push logs you out, a longer push shuts down.
It has a webcam. I don’t know how to use it for anything except taking pictures of myself on the google profile page.
It has an SD slot, but you can’t do anything with it.
I wanted to listen to an mp3, it downloaded, but I couldn’t do anything with it. All you can actually download and use are screenshots, which don’t really seem to work properly, thought he help seems to work okay.
Popup windows are goofy; they appear sort of overlaid on the screen, the slide in and out when you need them. It’s neat, but sort of requires a paradigm shift.
There’s a terminal with ssh. It’s mostly useless. I wish this worked better, but I acknowledge this is not the typical use case.
Multiple windows work really well, including fast addressing of windows.
Overall, I think it’s neat, serves a purpose (party/kitchen computer) and if it was fast, would be compelling.