What are your experience with Chromebook

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I am trying to replace my mom's dead PC with a Chromebook or Chromebox. The chief reason is that I have been really unhappy with the stability of Windows update for the past year or so and want something that is easier to maintain. She is also a good candidate because she usually just use it to surf the web. The problem is that I don't really have any personal experience with Chromebooks. I looked at them briefly when they were first introduce and thought they were a terrible idea that Google will kill off after a few years. Instead it has stuck around.: Use Cases * Browse the web, log into website like the bank. * Video chat using Skype or other type of software. LIke to have about 720p or 1080p video chat. I have a Logitech C920. * Play youtube video. * Print to printers * Scan document. Some questions: 1. What sort of hardware will I need? I was thinking of just getting one of the cheap celeron with about 4 Gb of memory. Her oldcomputer was an ancient AMD-350 with 4 GB, everything these day would be faster. My concern is that Celeron may not be able to handle video conferencing. 2. How much storage will be needed? I was under the impression that most of the files gets store in the cloud, which means very little local storage is needed except for may be storing apps. 3. How do you print or scan? This is somewhat less important, there is still a headless PC sitting around her apartment, it can be repurpose to do print and scanning. 4. How important is a touch screen, especially if you need to occasionally run an Android app? 5. What's your experience with running Android App on chromebook? Is there a way to experience a chromebook? I tried to play around with my kid's chromebook from their school, but it's too heavily locked down. I have installed Neverware on a VM, but it was too unstable to use. My thought is that I could try running things off Chrome and install chrome app to simulate using a chrome book, What do you think? Paul
 
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These are pretty much the uses for my wife, in addition, documentation related to her job, which is on a HIPAA compliant server. We got an HP Chromebook from Costco (for $199 during Black Friday). This is not the touchscreen one, because she needed the longest lasting battery and touchscreen halves the battery time. So if you ask me, the touchscreen is not needed. What you can do with touch, can be done with a mouse. It works perfectly for her needs. It still feels a little slower than my Pixel XL (probably due to the processor). It handles video conferencing perfectly well. While she has not used Skype, they have their own HIPPA compliant video conferencing software, I have used zoom (which is a resource hog on android) that works perfectly well. I was actually pleasantly surprised. Printing and scanning is not an issue, at least for the printer/scanner we have. Just install the software and everything is a breeze but it can be different depending on how old printer/scanner is, but it should be fine with the cable. Android apps work without any issues, at least the few I have tried, just a little lag. Remember, the battery of the Chromebooks can not be replaced. I heard that it is soldered on the PCB. If that is the case, you would want the longest-lasting battery, so less charge-recharge cycles. One more thing if you can find out, how long the specific model will be supported for the updates. If I remember correctly, my wife's Chromebook is supported until the end of 2021. Lenovo is coming out with a newer 10" tablet-Chromebook with Helio P60 processor, maybe you should check that out if the screen size is OK.
 
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Everything you want to do, you can do using a Chromebook or box. The big one thing I like is, once you have everything set up and configured the way you want it, you can log into ANY Chromebook or box and be 95% ready to go. So, it is very easy to replace a broken computer by buying a new one and simply logging into your account. Also, if your computer gets corrupt for some reason, simply do a factory reset, update the OS (which takes only a couple of minutes), and you are all set. I like Cromeboxes because of a potentially larger display, multiple displays, and expandability. When you shop for a Chromebook or box, get a 2020 model. Longer OS support.
 
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BIG fan of chromebooks. Especially for older people who may not be experienced with technology. You get a very simple interface like Apple products have , except even more so. And the cost is usually much lower. They can't really be screwed up, and if they are, recovery takes 5 minutes. Find one that can take an SD card and save documents to that if needed. I have been using one as my primary computer for 4 or 5 months. And during this pandemic where we learned a lot of people don't have home computers, we have been recommending chromebooks.
 
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Daytona Beach
My friend uses one for everything and it works just fine for her. Unfortunately, she has a habit of signing up for every free offer and ad that ANY website can dish out, Facebook, Yahoo Promotions, all of them! This got her into trouble last month because she also allows these sites to install browser extensions! End result was a completely useless computer. After digging around in the settings for her, I found that the Chromebook has a reset feature built in. I had to use that to get her stuff working again. Moral of the story is if you're reasonably careful (she isn't) the Chromebook will do just fine.
 
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I love my Chromie. My wife is in charge of computer operations at a multi billion $$ company in Silicon Valley. I am a programmer specializing in custom, large scale apps. We may have 50 notebooks in our house. We buy them to learn technology. I have purchased probably 10 Chromebooks, mainly as gifts for kids and others. I am currently using a Pixelbook Go, which is nice but pricey. For the last few years I used an Asus Flip C302A, which was simply wonderful. The new version is one of the very best laptops you can buy; it is over $500 I believe. If you want a 15", Acer makes a great Chromebook. There are many good choices. The HP line has improved over previous years. Costco tends to offer great prices and warranty, but choice is limited. Personally, the Asus C434 is a fantastic machine. If I were buying... Chromebooks, with their cloud architecture, are the future. Chrome Unboxed on Youtube is a great source for information. Best Chromebooks
 
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I think printing can be an issue. A lot of printers do not mention Chromebook support. While one may be able to get it to work if you are technical, the main reason people buy a Chromebook is cost and simplicity which implicitly says they don't want to have to be technical to use it. But for people who limit what they do to email and browsing it should be fine.
 
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One of my responsibilities in the school districts I work with is implementing 1:1 devices for students. Chromebooks have been way more reliable and user friendly than iPads or laptop PCs ever were for this situation. They update automatically and are easier to manage from an enterprise standpoint with Google console. From a user perspective, they are hard to screw up, boot up very quickly, and since everything on them is web-based they won't slow down over time. For casual users like elderly folks just wanting to check e-mail/web surf, or younger kids, I think they are the perfect solution.
 
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The biggest issue of Chromebooks is the main selling point is cheap and hardware/durability is such. I have purchased a few normally for $200+ for $99 and they last one year of daily use before keys break, screen fail. Otherwise they work quite wel! I am unclear if the quality built ones last longer without excessive cost since there is little competition to bring prices down amongst the makers. My family cheap machine $250-$300 has used former IBM internal Lenovo Thinkpads as "cheap" machines T-series and they run flawless with Windows 10 and one with a Ubunutu. The warranty is actually 15months too!
 

NO2

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Just get a Mac for them. My 85 yr old Mom loves hers and she was a windows user for years. Apple support is excellent and certain applications (e.g. photo/video) are much harder to use without local processing power and storage. For basic users an iPad is probably a better fit, and they will be very familiar with it if they have iPhones. I think an iPad is a better choice than a Chromebook.
 
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Paul_Siu

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Thanks, The appeal of this is the simplicity of restore. Right now, I have setup an automated backup that continuously backup her computer and then have my sister visit every once in a while to get a copy of the image. A few times, I had to have my mom restore from backup after a windows update rendered her computer unbootable. This is not a trivial process. Now Maybe she can do a powerwash and have it restore from the cloud. She's currently using about 10Gb of disk space, so I won't even have to buy additional cloud storage. One issue is that Windows provide a much longer lifecycle. Her computer is from 2011 and still receives updates. However, the chromebox or chromebook can be purchased for under $300, so it's acceptable if it will receive about 5 - 6 year of life. After 5 or 6 years, it won't stop working, but just be insecure. Thanks for clarifying the video conferencing, that was the only component that I knew nothing about. The printer may be an issue. The printer is old and probably won't work, but we will see. I don't think the Mac would be a good idea. Everyone learn differently. She definitely had problems using a MAC or iOS devices. It would be a rather expensive door weight. Any device must have a provision for me to remote to it, or I will be spending hours trying to walk her through stuff over the phone. Paul
 
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You can get one from Costco and see if you like it. Their return policy is aces. Plus, her "image" is on any Chromebook she uses. Cloud baby! My 1st Chromie replaced my iPad, which I fire up once in a great while. It goes everywhere with me. About 10 hours on a charge.
 
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A Chromebook will work just fine for her. On your points # 4 and 5, I wouldn't even worry about them. She's not replacing an Android or Apple device (tablet or smartphone), right ? She's going from a laptop to another laptop so if she's never had a touchscreen laptop before, she won't see any difference. On # 3, this is actually more of a function (or limitation) of the printer, not the laptop. The printer has to support "airprint" or similar. If it does, and I think any printer from the past ~4 years will, you can print to it.
 

Paul_Siu

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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
I love my Chromie. My wife is in charge of computer operations at a multi billion $$ company in Silicon Valley. I am a programmer specializing in custom, large scale apps. We may have 50 notebooks in our house. We buy them to learn technology. I have purchased probably 10 Chromebooks, mainly as gifts for kids and others. I am currently using a Pixelbook Go, which is nice but pricey. For the last few years I used an Asus Flip C302A, which was simply wonderful. The new version is one of the very best laptops you can buy; it is over $500 I believe. If you want a 15", Acer makes a great Chromebook. There are many good choices. The HP line has improved over previous years. Costco tends to offer great prices and warranty, but choice is limited. Personally, the Asus C434 is a fantastic machine. If I were buying... Chromebooks, with their cloud architecture, are the future. Chrome Unboxed on Youtube is a great source for information. Best Chromebooks
This is more for myself, but do you use your chromebook to do development work. In this case how? Since everything runs from a vm these days you would remote to the vm? Paul
 
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There is a VMware Horizon Client that we have been using on all of the Chromebooks we're deploying. It works pretty well. If you hook up a normal keyboard to the chromebook, you'll get all of your normal windows keys too. Some hardware (the intel based stuff) even works great with docking stattions.
 
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Originally Posted by Paul_Siu
This is more for myself, but do you use your chromebook to do development work. In this case how? Since everything runs from a vm these days you would remote to the vm? Paul
I do not use a Chromebook for development. I do SQL Server DBMS and Visual Studio development. Large scale database and analytics. Stuff you cannot get outta SAP Oracle. I use a Dell i7 with 16GB and a turbo fast SSD 7000 Series notebook.
 
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Originally Posted by Paul_Siu
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
I love my Chromie. My wife is in charge of computer operations at a multi billion $$ company in Silicon Valley. I am a programmer specializing in custom, large scale apps. We may have 50 notebooks in our house. We buy them to learn technology. I have purchased probably 10 Chromebooks, mainly as gifts for kids and others. I am currently using a Pixelbook Go, which is nice but pricey. For the last few years I used an Asus Flip C302A, which was simply wonderful. The new version is one of the very best laptops you can buy; it is over $500 I believe. If you want a 15", Acer makes a great Chromebook. There are many good choices. The HP line has improved over previous years. Costco tends to offer great prices and warranty, but choice is limited. Personally, the Asus C434 is a fantastic machine. If I were buying... Chromebooks, with their cloud architecture, are the future. Chrome Unboxed on Youtube is a great source for information. Best Chromebooks
This is more for myself, but do you use your chromebook to do development work. In this case how? Since everything runs from a vm these days you would remote to the vm? Paul
Fortinet makes a vpn client for chromebook, there are various RDP clients. You can get to a vsphere interface and get on any server. Also there is a vmware horizon app. I can do my whole job from a chromebook in my home for sure. Chromebook even comes with a bash terminal.
 

Paul_Siu

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Thanks for the info, A while back, I had some ambition of setting up a vmware homelab that I could access from anywhere using a chromebook or a laptop. The big issue is that setting up a vmware lab isn't that easy and public open wifi aren't that reliable. I am surprise that no one has try to add more cellular link to Chromebooks. As for my mom, I think I narrow down replacement with a 24" basic monitor for about $105 with celeron chromebox for about $280. Keyboard and mouse is reused from the old system. It's a rather terrible keyboard so spongy that I would find it unusable, but I notice she hunt and peck, so she does not notice how terrible it is. I thought about a touch screen in case she uses android apps and because she has more affinity toward touch interface, but decided against it since she would not have the arm reach to touch her monitor. Paul
 
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Originally Posted by Paul_Siu
Thanks for the info, A while back, I had some ambition of setting up a vmware homelab that I could access from anywhere using a chromebook or a laptop. The big issue is that setting up a vmware lab isn't that easy and public open wifi aren't that reliable. I am surprise that no one has try to add more cellular link to Chromebooks. As for my mom, I think I narrow down replacement with a 24" basic monitor for about $105 with celeron chromebox for about $280. Keyboard and mouse is reused from the old system. It's a rather terrible keyboard so spongy that I would find it unusable, but I notice she hunt and peck, so she does not notice how terrible it is. I thought about a touch screen in case she uses android apps and because she has more affinity toward touch interface, but decided against it since she would not have the arm reach to touch her monitor. Paul
You can buy a server with a trial license of ESXI on it and use that for a lab. You can't do anything fancy with it like vmotion, but you can put a bunch of VM's on there, and use RDP to get to them. I did that when I was getting my microsoft certs.
 
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