Chromebooks revisited

I wrote a short while ago about buying my first Chromebook, attracted by the price and performance and have virtually replaced my pc with it. I had already switched to G-Suite for most of my office applications while my WordPress website development was carried out online.

I occasionally get called on to make AV (Powerpoint) presentations so had to invest in one accessory – an adapter  which plugs into the C-type USB port and adds a further USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port for projection and a through C-type port which means that the Chromebook can still be charged.

The HDMI connection means that sound is also sent to the projector’s built-in speakers, which is adequate for small groups but was not suited to a recent Lions Clubs convention of 100+ attendees. A separate sound system was in place and the Chromebook  was linked to it by an audio jack plugged into the earphone socket. The Chromebook auto-detected the audio jack, cut the sound to the projector’s speakers and sent it to the sound mixer deck instead.

Although there is an Android/Chrome version of Powerpoint it seems to be a cut-down version so I have made the switch to Google Slides. This has previously worked adequately but this time I ran into the problem that PP presentations with embedded video wouldn’t upload to Google Slides. It turns out that Google Slides will only accept uploads of “bare bones” PPs. Embedded videos, transitions and such need to be stripped from the Powerpoint file and added again after upload.

Other features of the Chrome OS that have become obvious are that it auto-detects printers, projectors and HDMI-splitters. It has even exceed the expectations of ASUS in respect of their MB168B Portable USB Monitor which I use to duplicate my Windows laptop screen when giving one to one training. On their website ASUS lists the Windows operating systems under which it will run. An email to their technical dept met with the response that it would not work with Chrome OS. So I tried it and it worked!

My Chromebook (an HP 14) continues to exceed my expectations and will assume a more important role in my mobile computing. It still cannot completely replace my Windows laptop but the gap is narrowing.

I hope that my experiences may help others avoid some of the problems I have experienced and would suggest that you give a Chromebook a try out. They are not expensive compared to Windows/Mac laptops.