Grandma Buys A Chromebook
Published January 28, 2021
The following article, although old, might help folks decide whether or not the Chromebook is the answer to their computing needs. (Spoiler alert...I’ve subsequently purchased an iPad which serves my needs better than the Chromebook).
Here’s the old article:
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here so I thought I’d share my latest happenings. This grandma went and bought herself a Chromebook. It’s a relatively inexpensive Levono Chromebook (Amazon affiliate link). It has 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, touch screen, wifi, Bluetooth, an 11.6- inch screen and can be used as a laptop or tablet. It’s really kind of cute if tablets can be cute.
Analyzing My Computer Needs
I had to do some hard-core soul searching and habit-watching to see how I truly used a computer/laptop and what I needed from it. Gone are my tech writing days and days attempting to learn real hardcore coding and compiling. No longer do I create intricate image designs or videos that require lots of editing. In other words, I don’t really need a lot of computing power.
Nowadays, I surf the net, blog, create static HTML websites, and watch the occasional YouTube video. Once in a while, I’ll play with a little video recording, but not much. As you can see, I do not need a powerhouse of a computer so I felt a Chromebook would fit the bill.
Features I Needed in a Computer
After realizing I didn’t need a computer powerhouse, I analyzed the rest of my needs/wants. Since I intend to do more traveling (this was pre-COVID), I also wanted something small and lightweight to carry around, but large enough so I could read the screen. Additionally, it had to have long-lasting battery life. I didn’t want to charge it every 3 to 4 hours.
Last but not least, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Fortunately, after a few hours on the internet, I was able to find the device that had what I wanted. Yep, my little white Levono Chromebook.
Initially, I had concerns about using a Chromebook as outlined below:
- Google, Google and More Google - Google rules the Chromebook so they’re even deeper involved in my digital life.
- My files are automatically backed up on Google Drive. I have some files that I want to remain locally, no Google Drive
- Can I find the right apps that will allow me to code websites and upload them to my server?
- How easy is it to edit photos to upload to my blog?
Here’s My Take on the Chromebook
First, let me say, I’ve only had the Chromebook for a little over a month, but here’s my take:
- I love the size and weight. It and all of its accessories (or should I say my accessories) fit perfectly into my bag without making the bag too heavy to carry.
- The keyboard: It’s a full-sized keyboard and comfortable for my hand placement.
- Quick startup. It takes about 8 seconds or so to go from off to ready to roll. Unlike a Windows PC that takes quite some time to boot up.
- No computer hostage-taking updates. I don’t know how Chromebook updates its software, but I do not have the nearly daily surprise of turning on or off my computer only to find that there’s another update.
Chromebook Features to Get Used To:
- The keyboard. I’m not too crazy about the plastic material of the keyboard so I ordered a silicone cover. The tactile feeling of the silicone makes typing much easier for me. No slippage of my fingers off of the keys. Also, I think it makes typing quieter. The tips of my nails do not come into contact with a hard service so it tends to muffle the sounds (no, I do not have long nails). The silicone cover solved the keyboard issue.
- Adapting to a whole new keyboard culture. There are different shortcut keys to accomplish tasks than on a Windows PC. This was a con at first, but I believe as I get used to it, it won’t be so bad.
- Finding the right apps (ad free) to accomplish things like creating/editing HTML/CSS files. So far Caret seems to do fine when it comes to coding, but previewing the coded page is still a challenge.
- Learning the new file structure. I’ve been a windows person for eons (yes, even back to windows 3.1). I have to learn where and how Chromebook sets up its files.
- Auto Backup of files. Since I use Docs and Sheets, my files are automatically backed up which is good. However, I do have a file or two that I did not wish to have backed up. So I used the “explorer” to create a folder named “nobackup” in which I place my files that are not to be backed up to Google Drive. They reside on the Chromebook only.
Things I Don’t Like about the Chromebook
- Freezing: On several occasions, I’ve had the Chromebook freeze. It seems to be a bit persnickety when it interacts with other apps. For example, every time I get a Messenger notification, if I don’t drop the notification icon into the “X” to get rid of the notification and then open the Messenger app, the screen will freeze. I’ve learned to delete the notification then go to the Messenger app.Another time I had to do a hard reset in order to get the device to work. It froze at the sign on screen and wouldn’t budge. I tried the Windows three-finger salute of Ctrl+Alt+Backspace (there’s no Delete key) and nothing. What worked was long-pressing the refresh button while tapping the on/off button on the side of the device.
- Frequent Crashes: Fortunately, a Chromebook crash consists of the browser unexpectedly closing then a second or two reopening again with the notification of “browser was not properly shut down, restore?” I’m paraphrasing the error message, but you get the drift.
Chromebook Bottom Line
The Chromebook wasn’t a good fit for me. It was a short-lived relationship. My grandchildren, however, are enjoying their “new” computer.
Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.
Last Modified: 10 February 2023