Chromebooks have changed the laptop landscape and Google’s entry into the market has definitely shaken things up for the better. There is now much more variety for consumers, but how does the Chromebook really stack up in comparison to the rest? The CTL Chromebook J2 is one of the company’s newest models, and they have attempted to offer the public a budget option. However, while a cheaper product is attractive, it doesn’t ensure it will be a great laptop. This CTL Chromebook J2 review should help to assess the pros and cons of the model, by analysing both the specifications and the aesthetics.
When assessing this model, it is important to remember that a Chromebook is not like a normal laptop – or even a typical netbook for that matter. The built-in hardware may pale in comparison to its opponents, but Google performs in ways which the others do not. The storage is a key example of this. With an offline storage of only 16GB, memory appears to be severely restricted. However, when you purchase the CTL Chromebook J2, you immediately receive a free two-year subscription to Google Drive, where you can store a further 100GB of files. The Google Drive subscription alone would cost a customer without a Chromebook around $50 for two years.
Therefore, to make the most of the device you need to have access to the internet 24/7. Without one, the Chromebook is slightly useless, however, providing you do there are plenty of benefits. The Google Chrome operating system is fresh and easy to navigate, and a nice change from Microsoft and Apple. Handily, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Presentations all come installed on the Chromebook as a free extra which makes it suitable for those after a computer for work. These programs are similar to their Microsoft equivalents and all files can be backed up on the Google Drive cloud, which gives you peace of mind over your important documents.
The CTL Chromebook J2 can boot in just eight seconds, which isn’t quite as quick as some laptops around but still rapid in the grander scheme of things. For its size and inexpensive price, this Chromebook is relatively quick and has a Rockchip processor along with 2GB of RAM (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2488833,00.asp). It doesn’t have the power of other devices, but for the type of operations you would likely use, the computer is more than capable. Multiple tabs can be opened and, unlike with many netbooks, the CTL Chromebook J2 can handle it without grinding to a halt.
This is a neat little product and as with all netbooks, perfect for people always on the go. With an 11.6 inch screen, the Chromebook is both big enough to use like a normal laptop, while small enough to fit in a bag without trouble. The screen has a 1366×768 resolution which is not full HD, but should still play videos in good quality. There is also a webcam situated in the centre of the upper frame.
A HDMI port is located on the side of the device along with two USB 2.0 ports and a slot for a microSD chip (http://www.googlizingedtech.com/2015/05/ctl-j2-chromebook-for-education-review.html), which is good if you do happen to find yourself without internet and unable to call upon the cloud. The battery life for the CTL Chromebook J2 is quite strong for a netbook and can last for up to nine hours.
Aesthetically, the model looks pretty standard, but is far from ugly. The compact design gives it a distinct, neat style. The keyboard layout is also suitable for quick typing while the touchpad responds well and is not oversensitive.
For what it is, the CTL Chromebook J2 delivers. It is not a fully-fledged laptop due to its heavy reliance on the cloud, and you will need permanent access to the internet to get full use out of it. That said, this is still an ideal model for students who are looking for something more than a basic netbook. It’s quick and the pre-installation of a word processor, as well as programs for spreadsheets and presentations at no extra cost is a great bonus. The small device packs a punch when it comes to power too, and outshines some of its rivals. At around $200, the CTL Chromebook J2 is good value, and an option worth considering.