Walmart's $150 Chromebook not awful, say reviewers


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I’ve just bought three Lenovo N20p for an educational project. The only way to describe them is “remarkable value for money”. The cases are obviously plastic and give a little, but that’s going to reduce the chance of minor damage. The keyboard, trackpad and even the touchscreen are all pretty good and the battery life is excellent. I very much doubt that the really cheap Windows notebooks achieve the same effective performance.
The only caveat I have at the moment is that I still need a Windows computer - to back up and update my phones, tablet and GPS. This is something manufacturers really need to address.

The experience of trying to do a video chat with a friend who was stuck out of town with only a chromebook and having to set up the maze like Google plus to have a video hangout showed me how horrible a device that can not support ubiquitous applications like Skype is.

Imagine trying to video chat with grandma on thanksgiving. Yeah no thanks. I’ll stick with $300 windows laptops.

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They’re Chromebooks. They’re not running Windows.

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Really? The first time I attempted to do a google video chat with my Acer C720 chromebook, it Just Worked. It may have asked me whether I wanted to install a plugin, but there was certainly nothing more complicated than that.

Er, yes, that was the point I was making. The word “caveat” is Latin for “beware”, in this case that there are some critical things you can’t do with a Chromebook due to the policy of device manufacturers. I have a couple of Windows computers around the place because I can’t back up/restore my Android phones (which run Linux) or my BlackBerry (which runs QNX) or my GPS (which runs Linux) on Linux. Otherwise I would be able to boot Linux on a Chromebook and use it for backup/restore, or perhaps even use a Chrome app.

Their Chromebook might not be awful, but giving money to Walmart is.


Hopefully WebRTC takes off soon enough to allow such bidirectional communication independent on closed-source software vendors.

How easy are they to put an actual OS on?

“I very much doubt that the really cheap Windows notebooks achieve the same effective performance.”

That was the sentence I was replying to. It does not contain the word “caveat”.

It depends. What do you mean by real OS?

MacOSX Yosemite? Windows XP?



ARM Slackware?

because it’s got a 16GB SSD, and a 1.8GHz quad-core Rockchip RK3288, and 2 GB of memory.

Plus, it’s got a 1366×768 display, but only an entitled snob would find fault with that

Some flavour of Linux, yes.

Maybe this will help.

At $149, it might be a worthwhile experiment.


“not awful”

I’m reminded of the Arrested Development scene where Jim Cramer upgrades Bluth Company from a “Sell” to a “Don’t Buy.”

And if you don’t want to use your main G+ account? Or the person on the other end is on a PC and hates google? Or the person on other end is 90 years old and there is no one around to walk them through the setup of a G+?

The issue is forcing people to use a video chat that is intimately tied to one not very popular brand of social media.

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At least 1080 rows would be nice if it’d be standard with notebooks. More would be better; a side-by-side PDF is nice on the widescreen displays, but the vertical resolution is the readability limit here. I’d be even happy if the display panels were standardized in pinout and position of connectors, as the display interface standard includes an EEPROM chip with panel’s parameters for the controller and the controllers often can cope with multiple kinds of displays:

An off-brand upgrade then would be easier, one wouldn’t need a vendor-specific connector pinout and such mix-and-match would be lower risk and lower cost. And decoupling displays from brand-name vendors would be also nice for bringing down their prices. No more “thinkpad r60 display” or “acer whatever display”, but a “standard 15” display, choose your desired resolution, glossy or matte, panel type - and connect to whatever you got".

Todo: find out if something more reasonable can be hacked into my Thinkpad…

That’s what I would call Skype.

Edit (filtering out unintended snark):
So yes, I completely agree with you! :smile:

As you didn’t quote the bit you were answering, how was I to know?
But in any case, that sentence is also correct in context. I was commenting in regard to Chromebooks that (a) I doubt that the really cheap Windows machines available from the same vendors achieve the same bang per buck but (b) unfortunately it is difficult to avoid Windows (or Apple) if you need to back up Linux-based machines such as phones and GPS.

In 40 years, will Amazon be any different?

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Is it now?