I’ve been a big fan of Google Chromebooks since they first came out. I first started playing with them more than six years ago and they’ve only gotten better since then. Chromebooks even recently started outselling Mac laptops, though that’s largely due to their much lower cost.
There were a few things that drew me to the R13.
We have three Chromebooks in our house, and each of them only has 2GB of RAM. Because it’s such a light operating system, that is more than adequate for most situations, but I tend to have a lot of tabs open and a bit more memory would be nice. The R13 has 4GB (along with a faster processor) and it makes a nice difference.
Google Play Store
Google is slowly rolling out access to the Google Play Store (used on Android devices) to various Chromebook models. This is a game-changer, as it allows you to load millions of other apps onto your Chromebook, and the R13 is one of the first Chromebooks to have this feature.
It’s imperfect for now (some apps don’t work properly), but it’ll be increasingly useful as it becomes more polished.
Convertible touch screen
To go along with the Play Store access, the R13 has a touch screen and a hinge that flips all the way around to make it work like a tablet.
It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but is responsive and works well. Once you get the screen past 180 degrees, the system flips into “tablet mode” — apps become full screen and an onscreen keyboard pops up when you need it.
Given their lightweight operating system, all Chromebooks tend to have excellent battery life. While I’ve not tested this one too much yet, it’s expected to last for up to 12 hours per charge and my early usage is roughly in line with that.
At the end of the day, the Chromebook is still not capable enough to be my full-time computer, but it’s getting closer all the time. I still have my desktop and home and at work, but this will likely become my primary laptop. I’m very impressed with the way Chrome OS has improved over the years, and I’m excited to see where they take it in the future.
Do you have a Chromebook yet? What do you think of it?