In the world of IT when you find a tool thats right for you, you embrace it. this could be software, peripherals, web service. Hors and hours of time and wasted columns in magazines, blogs and on youtube videos have been spent justifying peoples choice of tooling. Is it a Mac or a PC, is it Linux or Windows, is it KDE or Gnome?
I'm not a writer, i'm a nerd, my grammar is terrible, I can't spell properly, and these are me piping the words from my head to the page via a keyboard. Donet whine about it, become my copy editor..
My ecosystem of choice is Google my OS of choice is ChromeOS, it suits my needs and asks of a device perfectly. Its only been this year that I have gone all in with ChromeOS having used Brunch on a Dell XPS 13 for a month or so I was able to successfully get all the things I've needed to do working in ChromeOS and in doing so also uncovered some nice tweaks to make life a little easier.
So having understood I was able to make the jump, I'm setup with what I needed I turned the Dell XPS into a Proxmox server (don't let that 16Gb ram i7 go to waste) and had a look out there at what top end Chromebooks were offering and what the popular press thought was the peak of Chromebook at the start of 2021.
What was I looking for?
To find the right chromebook I needed to know what I was looking for, its all too easy to ask "Whats the best Chromebook?" or "I have n to spend on a Chromebook, what should I get?" Personally I don't think thats the right approach for me..
My asked boiled down to
- Something to be my daily driver, so i needs enough grunt to deal today and in 3 to 5 years time.
- A good screen preferably in a 3:2 ratio as this works well for me.
- Ports, a good selection, as Dongle free as i could be on the move
- Updates long into the future
- Able to run applications in the linux container (not ARM)
- Nothing gimicky
Having gone through a fair few website reviews on places like Cnet, TrustedReviews, ChromeUnboxed and lot and lots of youtube videos my asks seemed to be pointing me to the Acer Chromebook 713 based on the Hatch board.
I went for the i7 version
Chromebook Spin 713 CP713-2W
- Chrome OS™
- Intel® Core™ i7-10510U processor Quad-core 1.80 GHz
- Intel® UHD Graphics shared memory
- 34.3 cm (13.5") (2256 x 1504) 3:2 IPS Touchscreen
- 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
- 256 GB SSD
Why this one?
I've always found Acers laptops to be a good build qualilty. This is. Its not the nice red of the Samsung top end ChromeOS devices, its not the ASUS brushed metal, to be honest its not actually that pretty, but then neither an I.. Looks are not everything.. The screen is nice and bright and the device is well supported. I like the fact that if/when flying becomes a thing I could get 10hrs out of the battery (got 9.5 out of it on the first day, forgot to plug it in) and do so with the tablet like mode..
Whats it like?
Now this is an interesting question, because i've got an HP Chromebook X2 tablet and I spent time running the Brunch framework on the Dell XPS 13 which had an 17 processor and 16Gb RAM.
I'm also covid housebound so not had the opportunity to field test it yet, however its run everything I've thrown at it over the last week. Linux containers, Docker, Ansible, Android Apps, Teams, Outlook, Zoom, Virtual Desktops, photo printing, buring ISO's to USB's
Setup at home its driving all the peripherals well, the screen is nice and bright and clear on the device. the 2nd screen fed by HDMI is working fine. I've seen no glitching or other issues.
Stadia runs beautifully on it on Tom Clancy games or F1 2020
So no issue yet.
Today as well its just got a chrome 88 update to Chrome OS 88.0.4324.208 on the day of release. Even the HP X2 isn't that quick at delivering updates.
While the price might seem a lot for a Chromebook, its an investment into the future I'm buying here. Its my primary device not a second screen and its a driver for many things from development to media consumption..