If you are a regular reader of this blog, the chances are pretty good that you know your way around a computer. In fact, chances are that you are a teacher or parent who looks for educational resources online on a fairly frequent basis. Am I right? Actually, I just described myself. I spend a lot of time searching for printables, activities, and other resources online to supplement my children's education. And as you well know by now, I spend a lot of time writing. So I'm very dependent upon my computer and laptops.
Today's review is not of a kid's product, but for a teacher or parent who is looking to invest in a new laptop. Middle and high-school students who write a lot of essays can certainly benefit from this post also. I was asked by Staples to write an honest review the new HP Chromebook. So here ya go!
The HP Pavillion 14 Chromebook
Retails for $299.99
The new HP Pavillion 14 Chromebook is my first experience with any of the Chromebooks, but it took me all of two minutes to realize that this laptop was built for someone like me since I use a lot of Google products online (gmail, Google docs, Chrome browser, Google Hangouts). It is really designed for use with internet access because all of the software is stored online in the Google Drive. So if you are someone who doesn't have regular access, this might not be the best choice for you. However, you DO have the option of working with many of the offline-enabled web apps, like gmail offline, which I thought was a really neat feature. It stores your responses and automatically syncs/sends them whenever an internet connection is detected. The same is true for Google Docs, Calendar, Scratchpad, photo editing, and more.
With the new Chromebook you also get 100 GB of Google Drive free for two years. I really loved seeing that since I use the drive a lot after having lost files on my home PC. And since I haven't been able to afford to buy the new Microsoft Office software, and thus I have so much trouble opening .docx files, not to mention no access to Excel or PowerPoint, I can now use/open all of these with my Google Drive access.
I have to admit that it took me a while to figure out how to take a screen capture. The menu I mentioned above told me how to take one (what combination of keyboard shortcuts), but I couldn't find them at first until I went back and reread the Save and Access Files section in the menu I mentioned above. I was so relieved that this menu remains in your Apps icon under Getting Started for easy reference. I quickly figured out I needed to download (for free!) the Screen Capture (by Google) app. This allowed me to take a lot of the pictures you see in this post.
Now for the down side: For me, the not so good part is that this is really a full-size laptop, so I'm uncomfortable traveling with it. My smaller notebook is better for travel. I also didn't like how the Getting Started menu isn't available unless you are connected to the internet.
The other thing is that I cannot download any of my old software that I use for creating printables on this laptop. But I do realize that is not the purpose behind this particular model. Do I wish I could sit and design while watching a movie with my family? Sort of. But on the other hand, work-free family time is so important, I guess I am not really complaining. Plus, I could simply use the Google Drive to create the documents instead. But I haven't ventured into that realm...yet! (Baby steps, People!)
Norton Anti-Virus Software. To see their full line of laptops and tablets, as well as anti-virus software, visit Staples.com.