About

Welcome to About Chromebooks, a site devoted to Chromebooks! Why does this site exist?

The main reason is that outside of a few outliers, there are relatively few online resources devoted solely to Chromebooks. Most sites also cover other devices and platforms, making it hard to find the Chromebooks news, views, reviews and “how tos” you might care about. Additionally, many online resources focus solely on the consumer side, which is important, but neglects Chromebooks in the education and business spaces.

About Chromebooks exists to change that.

This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to Chromebooks. 😉

I began covering them online with the first Chromebook in 2010 — anyone still have a Cr-48? — at Gigaom and later at ZDNet through 2016.

While at Gigaom, I also co-hosted a weekly podcast called the “Chrome Show” for nearly three years.

I then worked at Google for 18 months, supporting the company’s Chrome for Work team, which just happened to be next to the Chrome for EDU group. Suffice it to say, I’ve immersed myself in Chromebooks since that very first one launched and have personally used dozens of different models.

My goal here is to become your daily resource for all things Chromebook. Not just news or reviews of devices and the platform, but also a place where you can learn more about how to do just about anything with a Chromebook. In fact, if you’ve got a question, I’ll try to find an answer for you in the form of a Q&A post so that we all get a little smarter together.

Oh and one more thing: I’m a huge fan of reader comments because About Chromebooks isn’t just a site to read what I have to say. It’s a place for the community to have a conversation. So don’t hesitate to disagree with my opinions; I’m all for it as long as we have a constructive discussion! 🙂

With that, I hope you enjoy the site and more importantly, you learn how to get the most out of your Chromebook for personal work, school, business… or all of the above!

Disclosures

  • I don’t do “paid” reviews. Any product I review is my opinion and it will be made clear if the product was supplied by a company (in which case, I will return the product except for some long term review situations) or if I purchased the product with my own money.
  • I may include ads from Amazon, Google and others because the reality is that I have to pay the bills. 😉 I will attempt to make such ads as non-obtrusive and as relevant as possible when I can.
  • I may solicit sponsors for the site, in which case, I may remove all other ads during the sponsorship run. Sponsors that aren’t relevant to the site audience won’t be considered.
  • I do not and will not directly hold any individual stocks for any companies that I cover. Some of my third-party managed investments (mutual funds and ETFs) may purchase or sell shares in such companies but I have no control or influence over those actions.

Contact Information:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Twitter: @kevinctofel
  • Phone: 262-KCTOFEL
  • Address for reviews and other materials: 317 Manor Road, Harleysville, PA 19438

Site sponsorship information:

  • Contact: andrew (at) aboutchromebooks.com

47 thoughts on “About

  1. I was very happy to see this site. I was a huge fan of your prior chromebook podcast and am a current fan of your iOT and Mobile Tech Round Up podcasts. You are one of the most insightful, worthwhile tech journalists and podcasters on the internet.

    1. First, I enjoy your website. Now, on to business. I’m 80-years-old and started using personal computers in 1983 with a Columbia “transportable”. That’s 32 pounds with a handle. A few years ago I decided to play with Chrome OS just for fun and I rather liked it. When it developed the ability to use Android Apps I abandoned Microsoft Windows and went with Chrome OS. My problem is apps. For example, I have four icons for Google Docs and they’re all different. I have multiple icons for all of my Google Apps which is where I spend most of my time. Some are web apps for which I’ve created an icon, some are Google apps, some are Android apps, and some are I don’t know what. One’s I expect to not work when I’m offline do work. For example, three of my four icons for Google Docs work offline and one doesn’t. My icon made for the website works offline.

      If I check “about” the icon I get nothing like a date or a version number that would allow me to compare them in any way. Some icons have a little lens symbol and I don’t know what that means, either.

      If I’m not the only one confused, perhaps you could write an article helping?

  2. Glad to see your back with a great informative website Kevin! I have been following your reviews since JKonthrun. Added to my favorite bookmarks… Looking forward to some great information on Chromebooks.

  3. Ola Kevin! Glad I found this site—I really enjoyed your Chrome Show podcast back in the day. Any chance you’ll be doing another podcast?

    1. Thanks, Aaron! I’m taking the new site step by step and if I think there’s a viable audience for a new podcast (and I have the time to do it), I’ll definitely start a new version up. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply Kevin. Looks like you’re off to a great start here; looking forward to watching the site grow.

  4. Just made aware of this site ny TWIG. Looking for some great opinions, insights, INTERESTING news, tips and tricks. Don’t try and be another ‘Story’ or 9′-2-5′ – be uniquely indispensable!
    Cheers!
    ps – Get your podcast on the best – PocketCast – please.

    1. Appreciate the kind words and thoughts! Which podcast do you mean? Both of the ones I do today (The IoT Podcast and MobileTechRoundup) are both on PC last I checked. I used to do the Chrome Show podcast at a former employer but don’t currently do a Chrome podcast; thinking about it though!

  5. Thanks for creating this site, Kevin. I’ve only known you from TWIT shows prior to now, but I’m a big fan of Chromebooks and have gone Chromebook/Chromebox-only in my small business except for one PC to run Quickbooks and a couple other things (it’s always something). Going Chrome-only has gone from painful 2-3 years ago, to mildly discomforting now. But it’s better than running Windows, at least for me. No maintenance required, no 5 minute boot ups and constant need for rebooting & troubleshooting problems, etc.

  6. Hi – Kevin – I hear you on Leo Laporte’s TWIG show occasionally. I’m sure this is not the place to ask my question, but can’t find on the website where else I should ask it. I have had several Chromebooks, current one described this way: “ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DH54 12.5-inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook Intel Core m5, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage, All-Metal Body, USB Type C, Corning Gorilla Glass, Chrome OS.” It is currently running version 67.0.3396.99. It is fast, lovely, and capable. However, I seem to be unable to use Android apps to connect to music files on either an SD card or on a USB drive. I can play the music using the very rudimentary Chrome music app, but I had been looking forward to using the Android Pulsar App or the Black app. I’m beginning to think that this must be problem that the Google teams have not yet caught up to. What do you think?

  7. I work in education, and need to be able to lock the internet with only 2 or 3 sites open. Why does chrome not give us this feature?

  8. Just found this site after Chrome Unboxxed mentioned your name in the Android Studio/Crostini gpu news. I thought: “Kevin Tofel….that name sounds familiar…”

    Remember you from Way back in the jkOntheRun days. Nice to see you have a new venture!

  9. Hi Kevin – Thanks for the great site!
    I recently unplugged my ten year old Windows laptop and replaced it with a Lenovo Yoga c630 Chromebook. I’ve had a smaller ASUS Chromebook for some time and love both machines.
    The Linux feature is great – I hope to do some development if only for fun.

  10. Great site Kevin. Just bought my first Acer Chromebook and I love it. Your articlrs and insight have already helped me enormously. Thanks ?
    Graham

  11. Hi Kevin, excellent site, and a needed specialism , I teach construction Technology, as well as running a small Architects office in England, We use Chrome books within the practice for all document writing and photo/video work, but one area still forces us to by more expensive machines is CAD, as yet nothing from Autodesk or the like for serious CAD work on the Chromebook. The uni still has laptop nests, as so much specialist software needs them, ie Navisworks, Revit, Recap Pro and the like. Nest are large cupboards full of laptops students can book out for the day, they will only run within the Uni site so can’t be taken home, forcing students to buy their own….. a massive complaint.

    But Linux seems to offer hope, so if your up for it, a little more on running Linux on Chromebooks for serious use would be good, there are a couple of interesting programs available I would like to run and test but need to follow up on running Linux first.

    The alternative is the cloud, Sketchup has a very useful site and runs so well on all our Chromebooks, and I am looking at a beta online site for Autodesk, I have issue on this as there seems to be no control over what processors power up, how and when, but it seems to be the future, the recent articles on this from Autodesk and their new Plasma project expand into a lot of data areas, which is the bit that most laptops running windows or my Mac, yes still got one, seem to slow them down.

    Love your site, please expand and populate. I listen to you on Stacey podcast, and on Leos Twit shows.

    Prof Stephen J Scaysbrook

  12. I am enjoying your articles as I learn about the Chrome OS. Is it possible to connect my Android Tablet to my Chromebook using a USB C to microUSB cable and use the tablet as a second monitor?

    1. Thanks Michael! Unfortunately, I don’t know of a way to use the tablet as a second monitor. Android tablets don’t have a native method to be an external display. I did look at AirDroid, an Android app that lets you mirror to a tablet, but it only works with Windows / macOS. There is a way to mirror with AirDroid from a browser window but not sure if that would meet your needs.

  13. Hi Kevin,
    Often see you with Leo, Stacy & Jeff on Twig and hoped you would be the best person to ask a question.
    Sorry if this is not the ideal place to ask.
    We have a number of old Windows and Android laptop/notebook and tablets that are past there best but could be ideal for running Chrome OS. Have been trawling around to try and find definitive answers on how to do this and just leads me to confusion. The first one we would like to try this with is the old but beautifully craft Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (TF201), ( https://www.asus.com/Tablets/Eee_Pad_Transformer_Prime_TF201/specifications/ )
    If you have any time please could you let me know:
    1. The best/safest place to download Chromium OS
    2. A link to a reliable installation guide for Android and Windows based devices

    I understand this is a big ask but any help would be really appreciated. Keep up the great work.
    Thanks in advance, best regards,
    Greg

    1. Hello,

      For question 1, you can try CloudReady, a simple and powerful implementation of ChromiumOS for PC from neverware.com.

      Cheers, Amaury

  14. How how can I import photos from my chromebook to my iphone without Google Drive? I ask because I don’t/can’t have iOS 11+?

  15. I can’t believe I have not found this site before. I am ICT Support Manager in a school using Chromebooks and Google Workspace and this site fills a hole in my research and information gathering possibilities. Bookmarked, signe dup and will be back.

  16. Samsung chromebook screen went blàck it shows charge and won’t power back on did all trouble shooting tips all failed

  17. Kevin, I for one would really like some help selecting a ChromeBox system for my father. He is an 87-year-old engineer that graduated from college in 1954. Always inquisitive, and always persistent, but with a failing body (macular degeneration). What he needs now is a 30-inch screen and a simple OS to manage email, look at great-grandchildren on Facebook, and apple photo shares. He has an old and decrepit Windows system and a small (10 inch) iPad. I would like to find a simple and straightforward way to move him to a 30-inch monitor and a ChromeBox. He likes to “sit at a desk” as it reminds him of 55+ years that he worked at one. Can you help me find the right product. There seems to be such a dearth of applicable products. I am sorry if this is not the right way to contact you, but I found no other.
    Keep up the great work, any assistance would be very helpful, Dave

    1. Hey Dave! As Eric noted, getting a Chromebook for use with an external monitor is certainly an option. That offers flexibility in case your father wants to be online but not at a desk. Having said that, the truth is that most Chromeboxes are essentially the same. They typically use the same certified internal board from Google, build a case with a brand logo and that’s it. Sometimes, there’s an extra port or two added, but fundamentally, they’re all the same. So the choice really comes down to budget and performance needs. At this point in time, Acer hasn’t updated it’s Chromebox line since 2018, so I’d opt for either the newest Asus or HP models, which use 10th-gen Intel processors. You’re looking at around $250 for a recent Pentium model (which may be enough for your dad) up to $500+ for Core i5. Base models often come with 4 GB of memory in a single slot or on-board, so you may want to see which models have two memory slots; it’s typically easy to open up a Chromebox if it can be upgraded. Not sure if that points you in the right direction; if you have any other specific questions though, definitely let me know. Cheers!

  18. Hi Dave

    I am in the same age bracket as your Dad and also spent 55+ years at a desk –with various screens- practicing law-and with the assistance of a very able IT staff. After I retired in 2018, I abandoned my PC and purchased a Lenovo C 330 (?) Chromebook and a large Acer Monitor. They work like a charm. I have a hub for the extra gizmos. Good luck.

    Hi Kevin,

    The current issue was my first time exploring the comments. Many of them have pointed me in the right direction (I hope) in learning how to print and scan with the Lenovo.

    I will be following every issue and exploring all the links as I expand my limited (but growing) knowledge of the Chromebook universe.

    Thank you for all your efforts.

    Eric

  19. I am having a horrible time with the new pwa.zoom
    If it works at all the voice is delayed with video at an unuseable speed.
    Today it loaded but no video, just voice.

    PLease some advice!
    I use Zoom in my business and need it working. Before pwa it was working fine on this Chromebook.

    Thanks…….Susan

    1. Well that’s not good. In general, the Zoom PWA should work the same as Zoom in your browser because the underlying technology is essentially the same. So I’d try Zoom in the browser to see how the performance is. Then if possible, check again, using the PWA. Maybe even restart the Chromebook and make Zoom the first (and only) activity for testing just to make sure it’s not an resource issue with the device. If you’re still having issues, it’s probably work opening a support ticket with the Zoom folks.

  20. How’s the new school year going? I hope you discover new capabilities and uses for your skills and passions.
    Keep up the good work!

    I’ll keep watching and reading, as I will one day (in two years?) replace my original Samsung CBPro with something similar, but with more RAM for the Linux apps. That way I can possibly get to one device instead of having a Linux and CB device?

    1. Thanks Douglas! We just had fall registration 2 days ago and classes officially start this coming Monday. I’m taking HCI, or Human Computer Interaction, which actually has no coding. Just video lectures, reading and writing, which any Chromebook can handle. Next semester I’ll likely have to lean on Linux for coding. Bulking up on RAM is always a good thing IMO if you can. And yes, having one very capable machine that can seamlessly run Chrome OS and Linux (and Android apps!) can be very effective. Cheers!

  21. Will a Brother QL-1100 label Printer work with my Chromebook? Wi-fi , bluetooth, or USB?

  22. Adding a note of thanks/encouragement for your site. I’ve been a infrequent reader because the posts are slightly (only slightly) more technical/coding oriented than I need for selecting a new Chromebook.

    Chrome OS (with the MrChromebox firmware for booting from USB) has been my preferred OS for years now but before that I always messed with partitioning and boot loaders so I wasn’t stuck with Windows as my only choice. I’ve disliked Windows and MS business practices since I was in the USAF and the DoD made Windows the sole option for desktop computing. This of course cascaded throughout the entire nation and world with every school district, local, state, federal agency, and every small and large corporation being required to pay Bill Gates for the privilege of doing business.

    /rant off
    Now I’m hoping I may be able to have a three-OS (or more) machine with some combination of Chrome OS or older macOS on Intel, Apple ARM SoC, Google’s expected new ARM SoC for Chromebooks, Parallels for Chrome OS or macOS, etc. Therefore, I’ll be reading your slightly technical blog more often.

    In conclusion, Thanks!

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