Acer Chrome Tablet – the first Chrome OS tablet, ten tips and tricks to become a Chrome master! Two USB-C adapters worth considering for your Chromebook!
Handy Adapters that YOU may need!
ComputerWorld – By: JR Raphael – “Heads-up, my mobile productivity compadres: If you’re using a Chromebook for work, there’s a decent chance you’ll need to load up your laptop bag with a few good adapters.
Increasingly, Chromebooks today — just like laptops in general — are shifting away from the ports-galore model and instead providing us with just a small number of USB-C ports to handle all of our physical connectivity needs.
That’s true with the Google Pixelbook, which has a single USB-C port on either of its two sides and nothing more, save for a 3.5mm headphone jack (oh thank heavens for that). It’s also true of Asus’s Chromebook Flip C302CA and Samsung’s Chromebook Pro and Chromebook Plus, all of which follow that same basic setup. It seems safe to say this is shaping up to be the new standard moving forward.
To be sure, USB-C has lots of advantages over its port predecessors — things like universal compatibility, superfast charging speeds, and a huge range of supported functions. The downside, of course, is that many of those functions require adapters to work. And it’s up to you to make sure you have ’em.
If you’re new to Chrome OS or maybe just the proud owner of a new Chromebook device, you’re probably facing a dizzying array of decisions over what adapters you need and which you should buy. You can find adapters for practically any desire imaginable, after all, no matter how niche it may be.
But for most typical Chromebook users — particularly those who use their devices for productivity while traveling — I’d recommend starting with these two USB-C adapters, both of which have proven invaluable to me while working on the road:
1. A USB-C Ethernet adapter for your Chromebook
Wi-Fi is practically everywhere nowadays — except, y’know, when it isn’t. And while Chromebooks are as capable as any other computer of working offline, sooner or later, you’re gonna need to connect with the world.
Whether you’re in an office, a hotel room, or a convention center where the Wi-Fi is lacking, a good old-fashioned hard-wired Ethernet connection will almost certainly get the job done. I can’t count the number of times having such an option has saved my hide during some sort of business-related travel.
Since most Chromebooks don’t have dedicated Ethernet ports, the answer is a simple little USB-C Ethernet adapter for your device. Plug it into one of your Chromebook’s USB-C ports, connect an active Ethernet cable to the other end, and there ya have it: Your Chromebook will automatically sense the connection, and you’ll be online at the fastest speeds the network can provide. Nothing else to it.
Chromebook USB-C Ethernet Adapter Anker
There are ample adapter options out there for this purpose, but the one I’ve personally traveled with and found to be an excellent Chromebook companion is Anker’s USB-C Unibody Aluminum Portable 1-Gigabit Ethernet Port Network Adapter (try saying that five times fast!). It’s about 23 bucks at Amazon as of this writing. Even if you end up using it once a year, that’ll be a worthwhile investment.
Pick one up and throw in your bag now. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. A USB-C HDMI adapter for your Chromebook
Wireless casting is fantastic. We use it in my house all the time. But when you’re traveling, relying on something like a Google Chromecast to get content from your laptop to a big screen can be a risky endeavor.
Why? Well, for as great as Chromecasts are in the home, they just aren’t designed to work on large public networks — like those frequently found in hotels and convention centers. Basically, if the network you’re using makes you click through a “terms and conditions”-style splash screen when you first connect, you’ll have to jump through all sorts of silly hoops to get wireless casting to work.
But guess what? There’s an easier way! All you need is a USB-C to HDMI adapter, and then you can plug your Chromebook directly into any reasonably recent TV or projector — be it in a meeting room for your important presentation or in a hotel room for your equally important end-of-day decompression.
I’ve again had good luck with Anker’s offering, which currently runs about $24 on Amazon. It’s durable, it supports video up to 4K in resolution, and it works consistently well. (There are plenty of other similar adapters with good reviews, too, so take your pick.)
Just note that Chrome OS’s current default is to treat any external display as an extension of your Chromebook’s screen — not a mirror of it. So once you plug your laptop in, you can either drag whatever window you want to see on the big screen over toward the far right of your actual desktop, as if you were pulling it over onto a secondary display, or you can hit Ctrl and the full-screen button (the box-shaped icon to the right of the refresh key in the function row) to switch to mirroring mode.
Got it? Good. Now don’t forget to pack a hefty snack bag while you’re at it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s an equally important ingredient of effective business travel.”
Tips and tricks for you!
Gizmodo – By: David Nield – “Chromebooks are on the up and up. If you’re using a laptop running Google’s lightweight, web-based Chrome OS software, there are a bunch of hidden tricks you might not be aware of, from safely giving others access to your Chromebook to getting the newest features for the OS before anyone else. Here are 10 tips for becoming an expert Chromebook user.
1) Save files straight to Google Drive
Chromebooks have limited local storage, but you’re encouraged not to use it, and Google Drive appears as an option whenever you download something from the web. To have Chrome OS save files straight to Google Drive with no prompt, open up the Settings dialog then click Show advanced settings.
Under Downloads, click Change, then specify your Google Drive (or any folder inside it), and click on Open. Back on the Settings screen, untick the box marked Ask where to save each file before downloading. The change is saved automatically and new downloads will go straight to your cloud storage.
2) Use Google Drive offline
Chromebooks have slowly been getting better at working without an internet connection, and Google’s office suite has been leading the way. You can create, edit, and view documents, spreadsheets, and presentations without any internet connectivity, but there’s a setting you need to enable first.
From the front My Drive view in Google Drive, click on the gear icon and choose Settings, then tick the box next to Offline labelled Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline. Any changes are automatically synced back when an internet connection is detected.
3) Mirror the display on a Chromecast
A Chromecast gives you an easy way of getting your laptop’s display up on your television screen. Click the status bar in the lower right-hand corner, then pick the Chromecast option and select your HDMI dongle from the list. Confirm the action on the next dialog box.
The casting feature lets you send audio as well as visuals over to the Chromecast dongle, so it’s one way of getting video from Chrome OS to a TV or monitor. It also works well for photo slideshows. To stop casting, click on the status bar again, then select Stop next to the Chromecast option on the pop-up menu.
4) Fit more on the screen
Most Chromebooks don’t come with the best-looking displays, but you can adjust this (and fit more on the screen) by clicking on Display settings in the Settings menu and changing the resolution manually. You can usually increase the resolution without causing any glitches.
Of course, there are also the standard zoom tools available in the Chrome browser as well if you’re having trouble fitting everything on one screen. Use the zoom tools in the main Chrome OS menu or Ctrl+plus or Ctrl+minus to change the zoom level. Ctrl+0 resets the zoom level back to 100 percent.
5) Unlock Chrome OS with your smartphone
Having to type out your Google password every time you start up your Chromebook isn’t ideal, as secure as it might be. Instead, you can tell Chrome OS to sign you in automatically if it detects a trusted smartphone is nearby. Open up the Settings page then click Show advanced settings to get started.
Smart Lock is the option you need. Click Set up and you’ll be guided through the process of connecting Chromebook to phone (Bluetooth needs to be switched on on both devices). When your phone is in range in the future, you’ll just need to click on your user account avatar to get into your Chromebook.
6) Get the newest features first
As with the Chrome browser, there are different versions of Chrome OS to choose between, and if you find the stable version too staid and boring, you can live life on the edge by switching to the beta or development channels. You get the newest features first in return for a few extra bugs.
From the Settings screen click About Chrome OS, then More info…, and the Change channel button appears. Make your choice (Google explains the different options) and click Change channel… to confirm. If you’re switching to a more stable channel, then your Chromebook will be wiped in the process.
7) Troubleshoot problems with the Chromebook task manager
As straightforward and lightweight as Chrome OS is compared with other operating systems like Windows and macOS, there might still be occasions when you run into problems. If that happens, the task manager can help. Launch it with Shift+Esc from the desktop and it appears in a separate window.
It will be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a task manager before. You can see each open tab and every running extension, together with how much CPU time, memory space and network bandwidth they’re all using up. Select any entry and click End process to stop any troublesome apps or add-ons.
8) Use Guest Mode when sharing your Chromebook
There might be times when other people are using your Chromebook, but how do you oblige without giving them access to your Google search history and Facebook account and everything else that opens automatically with your web browser? The answer is the Guest Mode built into Chrome OS.
From Settings, click Manage other users and then tick Enable Guest browsing. On the login screen you’ll notice a Browse as Guest option. Click on this and you get a blank, anonymous browser window that anyone can use to surf the web, check social media, and so on without affecting your account.
9) Talk to your Chromebook
Everyone’s talking to their computers these days, and you can set up the same “OK Google” voice trigger available on Android on Chrome OS as well. All you need to do is open up the Settings dialog and tick the box marked Enable “OK Google” to start a voice search (under the Search heading).
With that done, you can say ‘OK Google’ on the Google website, with a new tab open, or with the Chrome OS app launcher. You’ll need to grant permission to use the microphone the first time, and you can then run any search query using your voice, with the results shown on screen and read back to you.
10) Learn some Chromebook keyboard shortcuts
The Chromebook keyboard has some unusual tweaks—a search key instead of a Caps Lock button for example—and there are also plenty of keyboard shortcuts built into the OS. To see them all, press Ctrl+Alt+?. Hold down Alt, Ctrl, Shift or Search to see the shortcuts associated with each one.
There are plenty of shortcuts to play around with but some of the ones we found ourselves using most often include Ctrl+W to close a tab and Ctrl+Shift+T to bring back the most recently closed tab. Alt+[ or Alt+] are also useful shortcuts for docking Chrome OS windows to the left or right of the display.”
Would you buy a Chrome OS tablet? Acer thinks you will!
Chrome Unboxed – By: Robby Payne – “Well folks, the long wait for the first Chrome OS tablet has finally come to an end. We’ve had to sit on this for a few days, but we’re so excited to announce the official unveiling of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10.
Sure, we saw some leaked images and we’ve known for some time what this device would show up packing (we’ve been tracking ‘Scarlet’ for over a year, after all), but it is so refreshing to finally know that the first Chrome OS tablet is finally going to be widely available in April.
Acer’s press release doesn’t give us a firm date at this point, but April is the launch target and Acer is quite good at landing inside its own predefined windows. Additionally, though this one is being targeted towards the education sector, the availability is slated to be for both consumers and educators alike.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
We’ve tossed quite a few names around regarding Chrome OS tablets, but it looks like Acer went with something we didn’t really expect. Acer Chromebook Tab. I’m not a huge fan of the name, but I suppose the Pixelbook has ushered us into a new realm of Chromebook naming. I’d assume that manufacturers will feel the freedom to name devices anything they like at this point. Pixelbook clearly has no nod to ‘Chromebook’ in the title, but it is most definitely a Chromebook.
Instead of taking that route, Acer has chosen to keep ‘Chromebook’ in the name. Sure, it feels a bit odd, but we’re in a bit of odd territory here, aren’t we?
WHAT TO EXPECT
We’ve talked about the internals of this device before, but here they are, official and straight from Acer:
Display: 9.7-inch IPS (2048×1536)
Processor: OP1 dual-core Cortex-A72 and quad-core Cortex-A53
Memory: 4GB LPDDR3
Storage: 32GB eMMC with Micro SD slot for expansion
Connectivity: 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac WIFI, Bluetooth 4.1
Stylus: Included Wacom EMR pen (garaged)
Camera: Front-facing 2MP, rear-facing 5MP
Ports: Single USB-C 3.1
Audio: Dual speakers with headphone jack
Battery: 34Wh – up to 9 hours
Weight: 1.21 lbs. (550 grams)
Dimensions: 6.78(W) x 9.38(D) x 0.39(H) inches [172.2(W) x 238.2(D) x 9.98(H) mm]
If some of that spec sheet looks familiar, it should. The internals on this thing are very similar to the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The biggest differences are weight, screen size, and resolutions. The Acer Chromebook Tab is lighter, smaller, and carries a slightly smaller resolution. The smaller screen size (9.7-inch vs. 12.3-inch) compared to the Samsung will actually give it a higher PPI, so don’t expect to see any pixels on the screen. It should look fantastic.
Between the size, display, weight and overall portability on offer here, Acer could have a pretty sweet device on its hands.
PRICING & AVAILABILITY
According to Acer, the Chromebook Tab will be available in the US in April and EMEA in May. The US price will be $329 at launch and €329 (including VAT) when the EMEA release happens in May. Other regions are not spoken for at this point.
$329 for a high-res, lightweight, stylus-equipped tablet? Seems about right for now, but if Apple does what most are expecting this week and launches a sub-$300 iPad, Acer might have to quickly reduce the price of this one to make any dent in the consumer market where iPads completely dominate.
For Chromebook users, the one knock this one will have against it is the lack of integrated keyboard and mouse support. Sure, you can use your favorite peripherals, but there are no keyboard cases available specifically for this device just yet. There are quite a few generic Bluetooth keyboard cases on Amazon, so there will be options: just don’t expect a tailor-made solution for this one.
Depending on the use case, using a Chrome OS device as a tablet first could be great. No one has done this yet, so I’ll hold off on commenting until we get a review unit in the office and try it out. All that being said, the device looks great, should perform well, and will likely provide a great fit for younger students who aren’t looking to do a ton of typing. There will probably be a handful of consumers quite interested as well.
For now, just know that the first Chrome OS tablet is upon us and other tablets and detachables are already waiting in the wings. 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year!”