Samsung Chromebook review
Samsung Chromebook – a light and affordable laptop – offers an all-new computing experience that’s done away with the traditional operating system.
You won’t find Windows or Mac OS X or Android or iOS on this device.
The name of the device gives it away – Chromebook.
The 11.6-inch laptop runs entirely on Google’s Chrome OS and is browser based.
It can connect to the many Google services available online including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube and Google Calendar.
You can’t install Microsoft Office, Photoshop or other software that runs on other computers but that’s not why a user would buy the Samsung Chromebook.
Priced at just $349, the device is actually cheaper than the iPad Mini and offers the connectivity of a tablet and the versatility of a laptop.
The Chrome OS is pretty basic – everything runs through the Chrome browser.
While this might sound limiting to some, it’s actually the gateway to quite a lot of content and a host of productivity features.
Ideal users would be students, people who want basic connectivity and those who are active with Google’s wide range of services and applications.
The Samsung Chromebook is small and light. It weighs just 1.1kg, is 17.5mm thick and has an 11.6-inch LCD screen with a high definition resolution of 1366 x 768.
It’s made out of plastic to keep it light and to keep it cheap so don’t expect any exotic materials or radical design with this product.
Build quality is not equal to some of the ultrabooks but that’s why ultrabooks cost four times more than the Chromebook. You get what you pay for.
But the main thing is that it’s easy to carry with you anywhere.
When you open up the laptop there’s a full keyboard with six rows of keys and a nice sized trackpad.
Above the screen is a webcam for making video calls that’s only 0.3 megapixel.
On the left edge of the product is a headphone/microphone jack and an SD card slot. On the back edge are two USB ports – one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 – and a HDMI out port so you can connect the device to a TV.
The star of the show here is the Chrome OS which is all driven through a multi-tab browser with important bookmarks placed in a dock along the bottom of the screen.
These include shortcuts to Gmail, Search, Google Drive, YouTube and an app drawer that opens up from the bottom to give users a complete overview to all of the services available like Google Docs and Calendar.
Connectivity is another major feature – the devices works at its best when it’s connected to the internet but some features like Google Docs will still work offline when you’re outside a wi-fi network.
And there’s only wi-fi on board – dual band wi-fi to be precise so it can connect to the fastest network available – but it would have been nice to have the option to hook into a 3G or 4G network.
But you can always use your smartphone as a hotspot if you’re stuck and need to connect outside of a wireless network.
The Samsung Chromebook is powered by a dual core 1.7Ghz processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB of flash memory.
That might not sound like much but there are also cloud storage options with Google Drive which can be accessed from anywhere with any connected device.
This flash memory and the lightweight operating system means the device literally starts up seconds and wakes from sleep even faster.
The Chromebook’s performance is also impressive and fast enough to get to the sites and documents and tasks you need in seconds.
Battery life is also noteworthy with up to six and a half hours of operation.
The Samsung Chromebook offers excellent value and performance and is aimed at the user who wants more than a tablet but doesn’t to spend big money on a laptop.
The device easily fills that middle ground for users who are happy inside the Google ecosystem and who want to stay connected to the web and to their documents.
Anyone looking for more than that should look elsewhere either at a more expensive tablet or a full-blown laptop.
Attractively priced at just $349, the Samsung Chromebook will win a lot of fans.
Samsung Chromebook (XE303C12)