A full day with the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook – Samsung #Chromebook  update #3

Well it hasn't been a full day yet, in fact it's pretty much only been half a day, but I thought I'd share with you how it's going so far. In case you missed it, I usually use a laptop on a docking station hooked up to multiple monitors with a wireless mouse & keyboard, but in the interest of seeing how a Chromebook might be able to fit into my workflow (and hopefully allow me to spend more time away from my desk), today is my first day spending the entire day solely on the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, and here's what I've found so far…

1. Offline: I was hoping that I could select my most often used Google Drive folders and have them saved on my Chromebook so I can access them anytime, offline or online, but it doesn't seem to work that way. I've hunted around and there doesn't seem to be an easy way to make this happen, so if anyone knows how to make this happen, please let me know because it's painful not having this work as I had expected it would.

2. Battery: It's hard to judge so far because I've been using it on and off for the last few days, but add that to 4 hours solid this morning, including music playing all day today, and I've just had to connect the charger again, so it seems pretty good to me, but I'll keep an eye on this as I use it more often and see how it performs.

3. Skype: There is no Skype app for the Chromebook, but I've checked out imo.im and it works just fine – in fact I'm using it right now to chat with someone on Skype and it works just fine.

4. Pandora: Love Pandora, I listen to it all day and night whenever I'm on my computer and on my Chromebook it works perfectly. The sound coming through the speakers on the Chromebook is good – better than I expected – and plugging in my Plantronics USB headset works without the need for drivers to be installed/updated etc that Windows does. Nice! UPDATE: The issue mentioned in #7 below does cause issues with Pandora refreshing while music is just playing in the background – I wonder if there's a way to stop this auto-refresh from happening??? 

5. My workflow: Gmail, Zendesk, ActiveCollab, various Developer Console websites (i.e. Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Samsung Apps etc) – this is where I do most of my work and it all works perfectly well on my Chromebook. I do sometimes need to do some basic image editing which I haven't had to do yet today, but between the native app, Pixlr Editor and Aviary, I'm sure I'll be able to do what I need to do. UPDATE: I just checked out Pixlr editor and it does exactly what I need to do. Great!

6. Shortcuts: I found a good source for Chrome shortcuts that I'm trying to get familiar with. In case you're interested, here it is -> https://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=157179

7. Refreshing: On my laptop, I usually have a LOT of tabs open at any given point in time. I have 2 separate instances of Chrome running on 2 different monitors, with about 25 tabs in 1 and about 15 in the other. On the Chromebook I've had to be more careful due to it not being as powerful, so I currently have 11 tabs open and it's performing just fine. I'll push it a little harder and see how it goes with more tabs open. The one issue I have found is that when I return to a tab after a little while, it refreshes when I select it. I assume (feel free to correct me) this happens to free up memory while the tab isn't displayed, but it could be a real nightmare if I have typed a whole lot of content and not saved it, only to return and find it's gone. It hasn't happened yet so I guess I should test it and see if it does happen, rather than being upleasantly surprised.

8. Trackpad: The trackpad is probably as good as trackpads in general – I'm not a fan and will definitely use a wireless mouse in the future, but wanted to spend the day with JUST the Chromebook. The only gripe I have with the trackpad is selecting an item by single press in the middle of it isn't very sensitive, so it takes a good tap to make it recognise my selection, or I have to press the bottom left 'button' to do the same thing, which isn't quite as intuitive. It's not a major drama, more of a minor inconvenience that I'm sure I'll get used to, or avoid altogether by getting a wireless mouse.

9. Keyboard: Typing on this keyboard is a breeze and doesn't feel unnatural or weird in any way. In the reviews that I read before buying the Chromebook, everyone loved the keyboard and said it was very easy to get used to – I agree. Having only used it for a few hours, I'm definitely comfortable with it and can probably type almost as fast on this as I do on my wireless keyboard, so I'm sure with some more use, I'll be even more comfortable with it. In fact, looking at the Chromebook keyboard compared to the wireless keyboard I usually use, the size isn't all that different – see photo attached.

So, all in all, my first half-day using only the Chromebook has been enjoyable. I do miss having multiple monitors (which are also much larger than the 11.6" screen on the Chromebook), but it's a fair trade-off to allow me to get away from my desk.

Any questions or suggestions, fire away in the comments.