Sunday, July 26, 2015

ASUS Flip Chromebook

This is still a work in progress but there are some notes that I have collected:
  • The keyboard is not anywhere close to full and it's considerably smaller than the 11" MacBook Air
  • The keyboard travel is nice
  • The keyboard repeat and delay needs to be tweaked
  • The trackpad click has too much travel
  • The trackpad needs to have it's settings tweaked
  • The screen resolution is limited to 1400x900 although ASUS or Google recommend a slightly smaller resolution
  • The resolution of the touch screen seems accurate, however, I did have trouble with YouTube's scroller and the volume slider
  • The prongs on the power brick are fixed
  • The power connector works in either direction although it's custom
  • The bluetooth syncs nicely but has the same issues that I have with my other Chromebooks and Nexus 6
  • The octane score is not close enough to the published values
  • Grafana produced some pleasant graphs
  • The stuttering mouse and audio has stopped (I still think I need to make some tools go away but I'm on the fence because these things make me happy and allow me to work everywhere; but since the keyboard is so much smaller... I dunno)
I'm unplugging the power right now and going to post this article.  I'm hoping that the battery will be full or nearly full in the morning. Then I'm going to use it for various tasks tomorrow in order to determine the battery duration in my use-case. By comparison my Pixel LS is designed to 12hrs, however, I get a lot less. Maybe 5 or 6hrs. But then I have Bluetooth, google music, wifi, and a couple of dashboard monitors while I have a couple of terminal sessions open.

*lights out* until tomorrow.

It's tomorrow.  When I first opened and logged in the battery setting said 6hrs, then it quickly went to 11:33hrs. Then I walked the dog, leaving the flip open, and now it shows 20:45. A few minutes later it showing 11:45. That variance is a bit too high for my liking.
Another thing I noticed is that after waking the Flip, this morning, it stuttered and spit, until whatever processes were spiking managed to settle. Also, the chrome browser instance I had left open the night before was complaining about needing to be restored. I do not know what happened and I do not really care since my ChromeOS devices are meant to fail.

It didn't take long but the smartlock stopped working again. And when I tried to re-connect to my nexus6 I get a FAILED response. One of the strategies I tried, and seemed to work, was disconnecting other bluetooth devices like headphone (from the flip) instead of just locking the user account.  Then when i tried to login it seemed to work more reliably. However it is a pain in the ass to do that every time, especially since I switch between 5 different machines.

The built-in speakers are ok. They are a little tinny but midrange is still clear. With a machine this small it is as I expected. When I used my H800 headhphones the audio quality was as I expected. The audio can be a little muted when the flip is operated on my lap.

In fact when operating the flip on my lap it's a little uncomfortable as the width of the device means having to hold an uncomfortable position in order to prevent it from hitting the floor. I tried the flip in tablet mode as a "reader" and it was not comfortable. The weight is significant and so as a kindle replacement it is not. The required travel from the bottom to the top of the display is going to tire my shoulders in addition to my wrist.

I don't think I want to return this flip. It seems well put together and in the worst case I'll give it to my kids when we travel. But I certainly won't buy a second unless my kids have some better success.

This review is completely subjective and based on my personal needs and expectations and use-cases. But it also comes with 35 years experience on everything from mainframes to pc and some specialized hardware too.

UPDATE: Here is the kicker.  The person who took the picture below must have wanted to disguise the dimensions of the actual screen [I stand corrected. I believed that they were stock photos, however, the effect is the same]. The dimensions of the screen appear to be square when it's clearly rectangular. Even in the 1440x900 mode the number of vertical pixels is still limiting because the browser's controls always take up the top 10-15% of the screen. Getting work done on the flip feels like my MacBook Air. One thing I cannot do on my MBA is us XCode. There are other IDEs like Cloud9, Nitrous, Codeenvy, and a few others that just need more screen.


Here is a picture of my ASUS wireless keyboard, MacBook Air and ASUS flip keyboards. There is a noticeable difference.


Someone asked about TheVerge and Google+.  Both perform ok. There is nothing exceptional here. TheVerge loads a template with some incomplete graphic shapes which they pull after the page has loaded. During the initial load and subsequent load of the images things are snappy.  But once TheVerge starts loading the images things get sticky again. One all of the images are loaded it becomes responsive again.  For comparison I tried my Pixel LS and I noticed the same hisitation when the page loaded but it did not last as long.

The same can be said for Google+ although it can also be sticky but there are fewer signals to the user that there is something going on. Back in the day we'd get spinning beach balls or hour glasses. Now things are left to the user to determine.  I suppose that is ok if the pages were responsive to the UX standards of 200-400ms per page load. Beach balls are bad; sticky is worse.

UPDATE:  My mini-HDMI cable arrived. It was a challenge to get it plugged in.  I'm not sure if that was because it was a new computer or a new adapter. The receiver on the flip is on a rounded edge so that you don't really know where the right angle to the connector is. As for the display, it handled my 1920x1224 display nicely. I did not linger too long but I did notice that the position of the receiver meant that it could be annoying after prolonged use if I did not adapt. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fire OS and Android

The relationship between Amazon's FireOS and Google's Android OS is probably very complicated. And while there is probably some very...