Hands On: Google Cr-48 Chrome laptop

Google has begun shipping out its latest project to users, which you can read about right now in our forums. Many users have already received their devices so Neowin has compiled the first thoughts of the lucky recipients. While the title says hands on, its really our readers who have had the hands on, and most of the information below is directly from their posts on the Neowin forums.

The device specs are as follows: Intel Atom N550 dual core processor (1.5Ghz), Wi-Fi 802.11n, 8Gb SSD, built-in 3G (Qualcomm), flash based storage, webcam, full-sized keyboard, oversized touchpad, 3.8 pounds, 8 hours of run time with 8 days of standby time, 10 second boot time, resume from sleep instantly, courtesy of this forum post.

Overall reviews have been positive but a few quirks are worth mentioning that should be noted. The first bootup requires an Internet connection (which may be why they included the 3G and 100MB free on Verizon's network) and Flash appears to not be working very well. This could be because Adobe does not support the Linux environment to the depth that it supports OS X and Windows.

Overall the device is said to boot quickly, quality appears to be on par or better than the average netbook, and the OS is lightweight thanks to the 8GB SSD.  Make sure to check out this thread here for more information from those who have received their devices.

Thanks for the images Giga! 

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HARDWARE SPECS FOR CR-48

Intel Atom Processor N455 1.66GHz 512K Cache

Tripod Motherboard MARIO - 6050A240910 - MB - A03

Hynix 2GB DDR3 1Rx8 PC3 - 10600S Ram

Intel CG82NM10 PCH

ITE IT8500E Flash ROM

SanDisk sdsa4dh-016G 16GB SATA SSD

Qualcomm Gobi2000 PCI Express Mini Card

AzureWave 802.11 a/b/g/n PCI-E Half MiniCard

Atheros AR5BBU12 Bluetooth V2.1 EDR

I am loving this Chrome OS netbook. And yes, if you are not ready for internet, this is not for you. The second you turn it on, it's internet.

The only thing that I see that bothers me is VGA seems like it's the only video out.. Come on, HDMI should be a must in this day and age..

Ryoken said,
The only thing that I see that bothers me is VGA seems like it's the only video out.. Come on, HDMI should be a must in this day and age..

My really nice 17" laptop only does VGA.

I wish more Laptop OEM's would do designs like this instead of either trying to copy Apple or coating in in as much silver paint as the robots can spray.

Aergan said,
I wish more Laptop OEM's would do designs like this instead of either trying to copy Apple or coating in in as much silver paint as the robots can spray.

"instead of trying to copy apple"? IMO this looks very apple influenced. not that it is a bad thing, it looks very sleek and elegant. but so did that nokia netbook and nobody gave a damn about that one

The guy that hold the camera is annoying. Pointed to the "Caps Lock" and he zoomed in to the "Esc" key. Touch the mouse pad and wet the pad. And many more annoying things I care not to list.

este said,
Looks slick but Im not turned on by the specs really (the processor mainly - yuck)

It's meant to be a NETbook not a NOTEbook therefore the Atom processor suits it perfectly.

este said,
Looks slick but Im not turned on by the specs really (the processor mainly - yuck)

Most netbooks these days don't even run dual core atoms and they perform well. This coupled with the SSD should make it fly.

este said,
Looks slick but Im not turned on by the specs really (the processor mainly - yuck)

The point is "cloud" - it only needs to run flash and html5 and bob's yer uncle.

Is it true, there is a switch you can get to if you take the battery out which lets you install a different OS other than the Chrome OS?

After watching the video I linked to, it was neat to see it also included a click pad. The keyboard also looks very nice and very Mac Like. I was also amazed on how fast the laptop posted.

(Spork) said,
i have mine been toying with it here and there today and im not sure what to make of it honestly

I think it's not for everyone (well duh), but I can see it making inroads in especially the enterprise where they're connected to Intranets all day and work in e.g. call centers. Actually, there's already a lot of interest there from what I've heard. All Chrome OS laptops have fully encrypted storage by default, and if you log in as guest on those laptops, you get put into incognito mode in Google Chrome, so no trace is left after a guest logs out. Finally, at each boot, its system files are verified against a ROM circuit, and the device is restored if it's tampered with. Also, Google Chrome itself is running in a secure "sandbox".

So I think that all these features taken together makes it not really an overstatement to put it like Google themselves - that this will be the most secure laptop/netbook OS to date. Not because they're boasting about something in the technology, but because the attack surface is simply so small. It's not a device where you can click "Yes" in an UAC dialog box and grant it admin rights, or bring up a console and go "sudo". There IS no admin mode.

So... My point is that all these features make it very secure, and IF (if!) the companies that are interested in this OS won't need to run desktop applications, it's a pretty obvious choice to me. These small things have to be a tech supporter's dream.

Of course, as soon as desktop apps need to be ran locally, this goes out of the window. So it's a bold move for Google! And interesting.

MrChainsaw said,
So what happened to the other 47 Cr laptops.

It's Google being geeky again.

Cr-48 is "Chromium-48", i.e. an isotope of Chromium. It's not the most commonly found isotope of Chromium, though. Why? Because it's unstable (radioactive), just like how the current builds of Chrome OS are unstable (beta).

Ta da. Cr-48.