Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Tale of Two Chromebooks

As I mentioned in a previous post, I finally was able to get my hands-on a Samsung Chromebook from Best Buy after months of waiting. I already had Acer's Chromebook and have been pretty happy with it over the last few months. I've heard a lot of good things about the Samsung model and wanted to see how it compared to the Acer model. 

Plain and simple, both have their strengths and weaknesses. While the Samsung Chromebook is slightly more expensive at a regular price of $250, its lightweight, slim, fan-less design and better battery life are features that make it the better choice over the Acer Chromebook. However, because of it's better port variety (Ethernet, VGA, HDMI and 3 USB 2.0), better performance, and easy-to-upgrade Intel internal components (hard drive and RAM), the Acer Chromebook is worthy choice as well especially at $200. Personally, I am preferring the Samsung model over the Acer because of the size and long battery life.

Bottom line, Chrome OS is Chrome OS. It's going to have it's typical limitations no matter which model you choose. The thing that distinguishes one Chromebook model from the other is based on the manufacturer. Samsung has a slim design and longer battery life. Acer is upgradable.  Lenovo is rugged and durable.  HP has a 14-inch screen. The Pixel is just too darn expensive...ooops, I meant to say that it has a high-end touch capable screen. You just have to pick the one that fits your needs.

What I Use: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini

Picked up the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini a few days ago. Let me start by saying that unless you REALLY need a keyboard solution for your iPad Mini, this is not a necessary or must-have iPad accessory. I say that not because it is a bad product, but because I cannot think of any reason someone would want to do any extended typing on an iPad Mini (or any 7-inch tablet for that matter).

Basically, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini is the smaller sibling to the original Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the regular iPad. It's a rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard and aluminium screen cover designed to complement your iPad Mini. Think of it as Mini Me from the Austin Powers movies. The black or white keyboard color options match the iPad Mini in terms of aesthetic design. It is both stylish and durable. It paired with my iPad Mini almost instantly. Additionally, the hinge attaches to the magnetic side of the iPad Mini. And just like the Smart Cover, the iPad Mini automatically wakes when you open the cover and sleeps when closed. Furthermore, Logitech claims a battery life up to 3 months.

While there is a small learning curve for adjusting to the keyboard, it's truly not as cramped as one would imagine. Along with the standard QWERTY keys, the Ultrathin Keyboard includes a series of function keys dedicated to the iPad that includes shortcuts for the commands most often used such as copy, paste and undo. The one thing that I do not like about the keyboard is that the hinge only allows you to open to the front. It does not flip all the way to the back so you have to take it off it you just want to use your iPad Mini without the keyboard. 

Overall, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini is a very compact, lightweight, and functional keyboard. The iPad Mini fits nicely in the slot in either portrait or landscape orientation. While it's great for quick emails, updating your status on social networking sites, and writing notes in a meeting, it's not a must-have accessory especially if you are comfortable with the software keyboard in iOS.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

What I Use: Samsung Chromebook

So at long last, I was able to buy a Samsung Chromebook from Best Buy. What made this even sweeter was that I got it as a returned item so I was able to purchase it at a lower price. Contrary to many people, I actually enjoy Chrome OS. In fact, my on-the-go laptop in recent months has been my Acer C7 Chromebook that I purchased a few months ago. Compared to the Acer, the Samsung model feels a bit lighter and is thinner (the Acer weighs 3.1 lbs. and measures just 1.1" thin compared to the Samsung weighing only 2.4 lbs. and measuring just 0.7" thin). The other general specs of the Samsung Chromebook are:
  • Samsung Exynos 5 dual processor
  • 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • 11.6" LED high-definition display with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • 16GB flash (eMMc) memory
  • Built-in 0.3MP webcam with microphone
  • 3-in-1 media reader
  • 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port
  • Built-in Murata high-speed wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 3.0 interface
Looking for to using it over the next few days and compare it's performance against that of the Acer Chromebook.