It may look like just any other laptop, but on the inside the Google's first Chrome OS Laptop - the Cr-48 - is a distinct breed.
Even though the entire body (the lid, edges, and the underside) is made of a soft, rubber-like matte black plastic, making it look a lot like the old black Macbook, the Cr-48 stands apart due to modifications it embodies in the design that distinguishes it from the conventional PCs and laptops, as well as the unique features it has to offer.
CR-48 comes with nine apps already installed, including a getting started tour of the notebook; two games Entanglement and Poppit; links to Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Talk and the Chrome Web Store; and a rudimentary note-taking app called Scratchpad.
The notebook also comes with a solid state drive, but Google has not revealed its size. On the other hand, the Scratchpad which is the only app of the bunch that can store files on the CR-48 itself will automatically store them locally and, in theory, sync them to your Google account if needed.
The CR-48 takes only about 15 seconds to go off from the login screen. Moreover, after login it takes just few seconds more to work. Unlike Windows or Mac that load multiple pieces of software after login, this open-source Linux based Chrome OS has only one program to load - the Chrome Browser. It allows users to access apps dierctly through the browser without the need to store apps on system.
So once you are in the OS, basically you are in the browser. There's no minimize button up top, rather there exists a 'New Tab' button that lists your apps with 'most visited' and 'recently closed' sites below that. Outside the tabs, there is a basic form of window management. If you hit Ctrl + N you get a new window, and you can toggle between multiple windows with one of the action keys above the keyboard, slightly like virtual desktops.
For downloading, there is a filesystem in the laptop. It has a very simplified 'file browser'. However, if you upload a file from a web app like Gmail, you will get a simple file browser that shows any files you've downloaded and any screenshots you've taken. Ctrl + O opens that 'file browser' up as downloads pane, in case you want to look through screenshots you've taken or files you've downloaded without actually uploading them somewhere.
All Chrome OS laptops come with a 100MB a month free data from Verizon for the first two years, but if you want more data than that there are a variety of pay options. $10 gets you unlimited data for a day, and there's a meter on the tab that reveals how much data you have left. With all these features, Google promises eight hours of battery life.
Further, Google has made some changes to the traditional layout of keypad. It has ditched the CapsLock button for a Search Key, mixed up the usual function control row and wiped out the Windows or Command button so as to make room for ultra-wide Ctrl and Alt buttons.