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body.html 2017-09-25 10:33 5.1K

Maybe more random opinions than reviews.

Contents:

Android Oreo

Quick settings area is now white, because most people wouldn't notice that anything changed. Also because Google hates my eyes at night as they proved previously by removing night mode.

When quick settings are visible the battery percentage is shown near battery icon at the top instead in quick settings area. Instead of energy stats battery icon in quick settings is now a battery saver toggle.

Picture in picture is neat at least for maps. It would be nice if I could prevent screen from sleeping while map is shown in PIP mode.

Emojis do not deserve whole paragraph, but here it is. Globalization made this. Android has the biggest market share in the world, but unsuprisingly American company cares the most about American market. In the USA it seems that emojis were invented by Apple. So in the name of interoperability all emojis should look like on iPhone. They look horrible upclose, but somewhat agreeable when they are tiny. Anyways I usually see Facebook's set, which is nice.

Acer Chromebook 13

In May 2015 I wanted to buy a cheap, quiet and lightweight laptop with lots of battery life. Also after dealing with Windows and Linux I wanted it to be hassle free.

In a way it is also a review of Chrome OS.

I wanted to buy Toshiba Chromebook 2 with a nice IPS screen, but it was not available in my country. There were only Acers so I picked the one with 13 hours of battery life. It came with 4 GB of RAM. It was a bit more pricey than I liked - around 380 USD at that time.

Updates really are hassle free. Except this one time and one issue that this device will probably have to it's ChromeOS end of life.

I like the keyboard. It's the best keyboard I ever had, but I usually used just anything cheap. It feels nicer for me than Thinkpad T42p, but that's me. The lack of insert/delete/home/end/page up/page down was something that I've got used to. I would still prefer to have them. I do not miss function keys, because even on regular systems those are the keys that become dirty.

Touch pad is generally good. Two finger scroll and it has tactile click. But probably because it's not airtight and I sometimes eat around keyboards after the tactile click it can get stuck in depressed state. Than I usually have to smack the bottom of the naughty Chromebook and than it works again. It occurs sporadically, but when it does it's inconvenient. It's not bad enough for me to try to clean it.

At the beginning of 2017 videos have got pixelated in seemingly random fashion. Same issue happend to other people. There is no fix, only a workaround. nVidia's GPU drivers for their Tegra K1 suck. I have to use chrome://gpuclean trick many times during the day to watch unpixelated videos. Their quality is apparent also during boot-up. Often the white background of the splash screen is slashed by many short black horizontal lines.

The mouse cursor can get randomly garbled. They have also committed a cardinal sin of treating mouse cursor like any other common graphic element. So when the system is under a heavy load the mouse cursor is sluggish. I assume it's also the GPU driver issue.

One update in July 2017 broke the system. It would not boot properly showing only black screen. However when I attached a monitor via HDMI it would show the background and even allow to log in. But most graphical elements were not visible - among them the mouse cursor. I could quite easily restore system by using Chrome Recovery Utility. Quite an easy process if you have a spare machine to download and flash the pendrive with the recovery image. Now I have a pendrive with recovery image in my tool set. I would recommend anyone giving a Chromebook to someone not versed with computers to give it to them. At least if they are not living close by. Although probably with Intel SoC the need will never arise.

After recovery and update it broke again, thus after flashing the laptop again I did not restart or shutdown it for a few weeks. Then I risked and restarted the machine to update it. The issue did not occur again.

I will not receive Android apps support which is sad. Because as nice as the concept of NaCl is it seems like a dead end. The NaCl Development Environment went nowhere. Crouton on ARM seems to be an exercise in futility. Hurrah for the SSH client. At least I will get updates till September 2019.

All in all I am still happy with this laptop. If I would buy a Chromebook now I would stay away from nVidia SoCs and maybe any ARM SoCs which is sad, because I wanted to like it. I would go with Intel, maybe Rockchip if I would feel adventurous. It would be nice to have an AMD Chromebook.

Currently I'm a bit distasted with Google and I try to dig myself out of Google dependence. Maybe if this Chromebook would gain Android app support I would talk different.