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Questions before I buy

5258 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  russcasey
I'm considering buying a Samsung series 5 chromebook, but have some questions first:

1. Does this model support attaching a wired or wireless mouse? I have big hands and have trouble using the touch pad on most laptops.

2. Can the touch pad be turned off? On my current netbook, when I type the heels of my hands rest on the touch pad, which can result in the mouse jumping around. Luckily, I can turn off the touch pad easily, so I can type without issue.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer these questions.
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1 yes, definitely.
2 not sure, but this hasn't been a problem for me. Despite the touchpad being bigger than normal, the palmrests are still a decent size.
The question you should ask is "can my existing web browser do that?"

A chromebook can use various web applications to handle files, and you can test these on your current computer before you take the plunge. Chrome will handle pdf, Google docs is pretty good with most office docs including docx, and there is a comparable Microsoft offering that might do visio etc. There are plenty of other solutions for other file types too. I don't work with video much so can't advise there... anything that uses flash or html5 should be fine but java systems won't work on a chromebook.

I'll repost some advice I gave back in June...

Count the number of programs you use on a daily basis that are not web-based. You may come up with a list like this:

MS Word

For many of the items on your list there will be a web-based equivalent:

MS Word> Google Docs or MS Office online
MS Outlook > Gmail
Photoshop > Pixlr, DevianrART muro, Sketchpad, Picnik or Sumo Paint.
Skype > (IM only), google talk (us only)

In each case, check out the web applications using Google chrome browser on your regular PC. Decide if it will meet your needs. If you're struggling to find a cloud alternative to an application you use, if you can't find anything with a search of the Chrome web store, post up on here and we'll try to help you . We're all doing the same thing, and the forum is a good place to exchange tips.

Next (and this one is a nice gotcha), check to see if you use any web applications that require Java. Things like: Minecraft,, gotomeeting. These won't work on a chromebook at all. You can spot them as they will prompt you to download/install/upgrade a Java program on your computer.

If there are a few things that you can't find a web equivalent for all is not lost - you can use a 'remote desktop' solution to access another computer from your Chromebook. There are a few solutions to this, my favourite of the moment is ThinVNC - it works just fine from the Chrome browser in Windows, and I'll soon report how it works on a Series 5 as soon as it arrives (should be Jul 1).

If you're concerned about leaving your home computer on all the time just in case you need it when on the road with your Chromebook, don't worry - you can probably setup 'wake on lan' which will allow you to turn it on remotely. I'm at early stages of playing with this too, but will report my findings when I get it running - although there are plenty of guides for this on the web.
Check my other recent posts for a round up of the various remote desktop choices, and take a look at remotespark.
None of the products have a problem working over the web.
Please Give them a try and post your experience, as I've not exactly been thorough!
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