Hands on: New Chrome OS review

A bold new vision but a familiar feel

What is a hands on review?
New Chrome OS
Chrome OS - the next generation

Early Verdict

A fine update from Google to make Chrome OS one to watch. Still a long way from perfect, but certainly a giant stride in the right direction


  • +

    Fast booting

  • +

    Simple interface

  • +

    Desktop is a necessary addition

  • +

    Multitasking improved


  • -

    File management still fiddly

  • -

    Offline functionality remains a problem

  • -

    Limited to apps

  • -

    Still waiting for offline Google Docs

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It's a brave company that takes on the might of the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows or the cool of Apple's Mac OS which look to have practically sewn up the market for personal computing on laptops and desktops.

But nobody has ever accused Google of lacking guts, and the search giant's Chrome OS is now breaking away from its early teething troubles with a bold new interface that it hopes can challenge the big boys.

With the latest release of Chrome OS, arriving with a revamped Chromebook and the interesting Chromebox desktop option, Google has taken a significant step forward.

Chrome OS - a new look and feel

The OS still has a range of issues – most stemming from remaining a fairly closed "app" environment rather than a truly open platform and the spectre of offline performance, but discussing it as a viable alternative to Windows for casual users no longer seems so ridiculous.

The concept behind Chrome OS is to have an operating system that is all about being online; built around the popular Chrome browser and utilising the wealth of HTML apps, cloud storage and online docs.

It's certainly an interesting outlook – perhaps one that only Google could have pursued – and it brings every problem that you can envision from such an approach.

It also manages to make many of these seem less relevant in the modern internet and app dominated world and also brings a whole sea of advantages.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.