We've taken the CR-48, Google's netbook running the Chrome OS, on a two-month test drive to see how it performs in real-world conditions. Here are nine things we like and nine things we don't like.
Like: Long battery life
On a full charge, we found that the CR-48 ran up to eight hours. Of course, this duration depends on how much you use the computer to view/listen to streaming video or audio, how long you have the Wi-Fi or 3G modem on, or whether you run whatever else on it that puts the computer's processor through its paces (in other words, doing almost anything on it that makes using any computer fun).
Still, if you use the CR-48 to do offline, low-processing activities - such as writing - it is possible to squeeze out a work day's worth of juice from its battery.
Don't like: The touchpad is too wide
The sensitivity of the CR-48's touchpad can be levelled down, but we found that the touchpad itself may be too wide for such a small laptop. You have to be careful not to rest your palms upon the CR-48 while typing. Otherwise, your palms will probably make contact with the touchpad and send the cursor flying off to another part of the screen.
Like: It's thin and light
The CR-48 is no MacBook Air, but compared to most laptops that sport 12.1in screens it's quite light at 1.75kg. And with a thickness of 0.875in, the computer fits nicely into a backpack like a couple of magazines (or one thick fashion magazine) would.
Don't like: No line-in audio connector
There is a pin-hole microphone on the CR-48, set above the screen, to the left of its webcam, but the computer lacks a line-in connector. So you can't use a headset that has its own microphone. If you're using a webphone service, such as Google's own voice chat, you'll have to speak loudly at the CR-48 - and everybody around you will hear you.
Like: The sound is pretty good
The built-in speakers are sufficient, but you experience better sound quality from the CR-48 when you plug in a decent pair of earbuds or earphones. We found that listening to streaming radio stations or jukebox sites like Grooveshark to be flawless.
Don't like: It gets stained easily
Even with our hands clean, fingerprints and skin oil would stain the computer's rubberised housing as if we had touched it after we ate fried chicken. Using a cotton towel dampened with water to clean the CR-48, lightly scrubbing in circular motions, helped somewhat, but our oily DNA remained.
Like: The rubberised housing
Despite its stain-soaking properties, we still do like the feel of the computer's rubberised exterior. You get a good sense that your fingers are securely gripping onto the Cr-48 - it doesn't feel like a cheap, plastic toy.
Don't like: No ethernet
You'd think including an ethernet interface would be a trivial cost, but there is none. The only way to get on the internet with it is through its Wi-Fi or Verizon 3G modem. We're guessing this is Google's intent to encourage you to think of the CR-48 as a mobile device.
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