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Review: Google's Chrome OS Notebook

NO MORE CAPS LOCK KEY SHOUTING

Even though it isn't a commercial product, the lack of the usual commercial design conventions within the Cr-48 is one of its most attractive traits. There's no logo on the back of the lid – or anywhere else on the notebook – making it a stark, bare and arguably quite beautiful. It shares a few design qualities with the black MacBook from years ago, minus the glowing Apple logo on the lid.

The soft touch plastic feels great. It's the sort of rubbery-feeling coating that we've felt on ThinkPads, and we've always found it useful in an age where everything gets scratched easily or is a fingerprint magnet.

The keyboard is the island-chiclet design, but as we mentioned earlier, Google made several changes. One other notable change is the replacement of the Caps Lock key. Instead of TOGGLING LETTER CASE, the Caps Lock by default is mapped to Search. For those who want the old way back, a systems setting allows the key to be mapped back to Caps Lock, or even changed to control or alt. Even the printing on the keyboard uses lowercase letters instead of uppercase.

 

Borrowing another Apple MacBook design, the trackpad on the Cr-48 is one big clickable surface. Right clicking is accomplished by putting two fingers on the trackpad and then pressing down. The trackpad allows for basic multitouch, accomplish during a two-finger scrolling gesture. The size of the touch surface itself is great, but multitouch tracking itself isn't the most accurate we've seen.

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On the right side is the charging plug, headphone jack, a single USB port, and an SD card slot. On the left there's a lone VGA-out and a fan vent. There are speakers on both sides of the notebook, but covering them up with our hands didn't seem to do much to muffle the tinny sounds.