First Time Using Chrome OS: Here’s What I Learned
Chrome OS has been around for a decade now and yet this laptop marks my first time using Chrome OS. Throughout my weeks with this device, I have had such an eye-opening experience that I want to share with you by making this video dedicated to Chrome OS. So let’s get started.
So Chrome OS is already over 10 years old at this point. I’m surprised that Google still keeps this product alive. And as the name suggests, Chrome OS primarily revolves around the Chrome browser.
However, I think it’s because of the way the OS was designed with touchscreens in mind, the interface works really well here. The bar at the bottom – Chrome calls it “the shelf” – is essentially the same as Windows with the “start menu” button in the left corner, active or pinned apps in the center, and system items in the right corner.
But, the whole bar is interactive via mouse or touch. The entire app drawer can be dragged up to reveal the entire app drawer and search bar. This search bar can be used to search the web through Google search, system settings, or even apps. You can even press the “search” button and the “tablet” comes up halfway like this.
This entire shelf can also be moved left or right – which cannot be done on Windows 11 – but the swipe gesture no longer works. You can always press the “start” button.
There are also a few touch gestures. Switching between Chrome tabs can be done using a 3-finger gesture going from left to right, and there’s a highlight that moves from tab to tab. To switch between apps, it can be done by a 3-finger gesture up and down. You can even open multiple offices!
But…keyboard shortcuts are awesome. It doesn’t have the F1 to F12 keys, it doesn’t have a key between the CTRL and ALT keys, it doesn’t have caps lock either. But, in place of that caps lock button is the so-called “search” key.
It also means that the keyboard shortcuts are totally different. The screenshot is pressing CTRL + Shift + whatever button it is supposed to be F5. Chrome OS also integrates the clipboard manager functionality, which can be invoked by pressing search + V.
And oh – switching between tablet mode and laptop mode is quick, fast, and much faster than Windows too.
But if I have to be honest with you, the whole Chrome OS experience is very different compared to Android tablets with desktop mode – like Samsung DeX for example. First, it is the full-fledged Chrome browser that can be found on Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems. All Chrome extensions work, especially since some of the Chrome extensions I have are also used for work.
The file manager on Chrome OS is actually pretty decent too. There’s a downloads folder for everything we downloaded – obviously, and another dedicated Google Drive path for cloud storage.
Overall, I really like how Chrome OS works. Most of the time I just write scripts for reviews like this or respond to your comments in our videos. I pretty much live on the browser anyway, so Chrome OS is perfect for that use case.
Combined with the efficiency and snappyness of Chrome OS, I can do so much work and the battery barely goes down. It’s just an amazing operating system. I just wish it could be easily installed on more devices.
Installing Chrome OS is… Tricky
You see, Chrome OS runs smoothly on a laptop like this which only has an Intel Celeron N4100 chip. Due to the lightness of Chrome OS, such a low-end laptop performs surprisingly well on this operating system. If I were to install Windows on this laptop, it just wouldn’t be the right time. Take the ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED for example.
My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t have a dark mode. Seriously Google, it’s 2022. Give me a system-wide dark mode.
So if Chrome OS is so awesome, can we just download and install it on all the devices we have? Well not really. I thought that was how we installed Chrome OS at first. It turned out that it’s not as easy as installing Windows or Linux distros.
I googled how to install Chrome OS on any PC and found that it wasn’t particularly legal to do so.
Alright, let’s back up a bit. Chrome OS is based on Chromium OS. Chromium OS serves as the base, so it’s free and open-source for anyone to use. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is built on top of Chromium OS and includes a few more extras.
For example, you get the full-fledged Chrome browser in Chrome OS so you can sign in to your Google account and sync all your data. You can even access the entire Google Play Store on Chrome OS!
And for all these Google services to have the privilege of being integrated into Chrome OS, we basically have to pay for it. We’ve basically already paid the price in the price of the Chromebook.
This situation is the same with Chrome OS vs Chromium OS, and Android Open Source Project (AOSP) vs full-fledged Android with Google Mobile Services.
Are there other Chrome OS distributions, like Linux?
Not particularly. Chrome OS isn’t exactly a “famous” operating system. There is a special case called Neverware – a company that has developed a Chromium distribution called CloudReady. I think CloudReady is more like a service that converts all your PCs and Macs to Chromium OS and with Google Services but without the Google Play Store.
Another fun fact, Google also acquired Neverware.
So Neverware CloudReady seems like the best way to try out Chrome OS, right?
Depending on your use case, the Google Play Store may or may not be useful to you. For me, I find the ability to install random apps like the X-plore file manager so I can transfer files via FTP with my other devices, or even the native Netflix app so I can download shows to watch offline. line.
Another alternative to install Chrome OS
There is only one other distribution of Chromium OS, but it has no Google-related services, and that is the Fyde operating system developed in China. But other than that, Neverware CloudReady is your best bet.
But at the end of our ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED review, we said we’d install Chrome OS on it and give it a try – why isn’t this device running CloudReady? This is because of driver issues. WiFi and brightness control don’t work yet – so we’ll have to put that project aside for now.
Where to buy a Chromebook? (Affiliate links)
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