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Chrome OS Cr-48 Hands-On and Initial Impressions

The first ever Chrome OS laptop just about serves the purpose for testers to do their job

After rounds and rounds of speculation, the Google laptop running the Chrome OS was finally unveiled for the developer and tester community on December 8th. And now, we present to you a report on the Cr-48 netbook by Google based on the observations made by Let us now take you through a tour of the first ever Chrome OS laptop.

Exterior design

The Cr-48 has a 12.1-inch screen with a chassis that is covered in a rubberized plastic that the Laptopmag team feels is great to touch. Although, the rubber covering helps in avoiding fingerprint marks on the body, the jazzy buyers will miss the popular glossy look that can give a vibrant touch to the machine. The body is all black and device measures 11.8 x 8.6 x 0.9-inches and weighs 3.8 pounds. Although a touch heavy for this segment, the laptop was found to be quite solid. Standard ports include a USB, VGA, SD card slot, and a headphone jack. And yes, there’s also an integrated webcam for average quality shots which can be used just for basic requirements.

Display and Audio

Netbooks are surely not meant for high quality entertainment, yet Laptopmag’s observations don’t give us a very bad impression of the Cr-48 netbook in this area. The 12.1-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display with a matte finish does a satisfactory job with sufficiently bright colors. Stereo speakers are located on both sides in the front and are loud enough for a netbook.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Cr-48 has a unique keyboard. The usual function keys we see on other laptops have been replaced by Back, Forward, Reload, Full Screen, Next Tab, screen brightness, and volume controls. A Search button sits in place of the Caps Lock key, which opens a new tab in the browser. Also, there are quite a few nifty touches to the keyboard of the Cr-48, one of them being that on pressing Control + a Number key you jump to the next tab.

The touchpad has an area of 3.9 x 2.4-inches and has its click buttons integrated to the pad. You also get multitouch gesture support for the touchpad.

Performance and the Chrome OS interface

The Chrome OS was found to boot in 14 seconds after which you log into your account, which takes another 10 seconds; though you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network as soon as you turn on your netbook. Once you log into your system you see the Chrome browser window, which is actually what the Chrome OS desktop is; so it’s pretty minimalistic and basic. You have various installed web apps that show in each tab. The upper right corner is the notification area where you get indications for Wi-Fi signal strength and battery life.

Connectivity hardware

The Cr-48 has 802.11 Wi-Fi and an integrated 3G module. You can opt to connect to the Verizon Wireless 3G services too, doing which will deactivate the active Wi-Fi connection.


The Google Cr-48 netbook, as it looks, is pretty basic and offers just the adequate amount of hardware required to test the cloud computing OS and run it quickly enough. The keyboard is reminiscent of that of the Apple MacBook’s and build quality is sturdy enough. Although this model isn’t going to ship commercially any day but it serves as a good piece of hardware for other manufacturers to build their Chrome OS netbooks on.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2010-12-15 (Update: 2012-05-26)