February 02, 2011, 9:14 AM — When Google first started giving away the Cr-48 in early December, lots of reviewers posted their first impressions after driving the Chromebook around the block a couple of times. We've taken the Chromebook out on a two-month test drive to see how it performs in real-world conditions.
Here are 9 things we like and 9 things we don't like about the Chrome OS-based netbook.
Don't like: No "CAPS lock" key (but you can turn it back on)
There was a minor controversy over Google not including a "CAPS lock" key on the Cr-48. In truth, they simply re-assigned it to work as a "search" key. But you can turn on CAPS lock functionality for this key by clicking the wrench icon in Chrome OS, choosing "Settings," "System" and then "Modifier keys...".
Like: The learning curve of Chrome OS is easy
There's actually no new operating system you have to learn in order to use the Cr-48. Chrome OS is essentially the Chrome Web browser. The only difference between the two is that the settings menu of Chrome OS includes adjustments for things specific to the Cr-48 hardware (like its Wi-Fi, 3G and touchpad).
Don't like: Once you sign in, you're committed (unless you reset the entire OS)
Like a puppy, a brand-new Cr-48 "bonds" to the first person who claims ownership of it. The computer requires that you sign in with a Google account (such as a Gmail account), and once that happens, your account is locked into the computer -- it cannot be changed or removed (at least easily -- it is possible, but you have to force the computer into "recovery mode" to reset everything from scratch).
Like: Near-instant on
The Cr-48 snaps back on from sleep mode instantly. Starting from being completely turned off, it loads into the user log-in screen in 10 seconds, and from there, after you've signed in, goes to Chrome OS in 7 seconds.
Don't like: Cannot play your media files
Essentially, the Cr-48 seems to be in the same league as a smartphone or tablet in terms of its processing power -- except you cannot play your own media files (music and video) on it.