Ramblings of a Chromebook User


Last February I purchased an Acer Spin 713 thinking that it would simplify my modest I.T. requirements, and perhaps even replace my ageing linux and Windows boxes. I accepted that chrome perhaps wouldn’t quite fulfill all my needs but the compensation would be that it was rock solid and updates would be seamless. How naive! It has a core i3 processor, 10th gen, with 8 GB Ram, and a great IPS screen. But I’m not a happy chappy.

My last update in September caused a momentary black boot screen with a message “Firmware update, do not unplug your device”, but before it had a chance to update it carried on and booted into chrome. Not once, not twice, but every time I booted the device. Had the firmware been tampered with – was it safe to use – were my initial thoughts. I fired off a support request to Acer (perhaps it was a hardware problem) and a support request to Google. The AI bot at Acer completely misunderstood the request and Google  palmed me off back to Acer. After a bit of head scratching I changed the update channel from Stable to beta (ie. the next forthcoming update), but it’s a bit of a faff as you then have to do a powerwash. At least this doesn’t take very long and the firmware was updated correctly.  I switched it back to the stable channel and did another powerwash and fortunately the problem hasn’t recurred.

This morning I was watching a photography vlog on Youtube and a notification popped up from Google – a chrome satisfaction survey. I clicked the notification and a white empty box appeared in the middle of the screen and dimmed/froze the whole screen. A long press on the power button followed by a reboot was required. Hmmm..not good.

I have other niggles with the chromebook such as google photos – photos can sometimes be a bit laggy to render properly on the screen and short videos taken on my pixel4a can seem blocky/pixelated at times. (My internet connection is about 70 downstream so this should be OK). Incidentally, the Windows photo app renders them much better from Onedrive on my Windows box.

Hey ho. Long live Windows (and linux)



Comments (6)

6 responses to “Ramblings of a Chromebook User”

  1. hrlngrv

    I've been using Chromebooks since 2012. I've never had a problem with updates. As for Powerwash, all apps are reinstalled on 1st subsequent login with the same Google account, so only time consuming; only what's in Downloads is lost unless one had been tinkering with Developer mode.

  2. Dave

    Well as I said, a powerwash doesn't take very long but its nevertheless an inconvenience especially if you have to do it twice. I've been using chromebooks since 2014 and the Acer is my third. I too never used to have problems but they're now creeping in. The grass really isn't greener on the other side of the fence.

  3. ringofvoid

    After the last update I've been seeing the "updating firmware" screen pop up briefly at boot on my HP x360 14c. I've just been ignoring it as I figured it was a bug. It's a 10th gen i3 device (codename hatch) so I think it's in the same hardware family as your Spin. I'm hoping it figures itself out when ChromeOS 94 is released.

    I've noticed this year that the OS updates have been more frequently delayed & it appears that Google's having a bit more difficulty as the variety of devices grows. I'm a bit concerned about what the switch to 4 week update periods will do.

    Overall, I'm still very happy with the device and Chromebooks in general. At work I have to worry about the care & feeding of our company's Windows & Mac devices. When I'm off work, I enjoy relaxing with low maintenance devices .

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