Samsung Chromebook Series

Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550

It's account acquainted that Chrome OS in its accepted anatomy still doesn't handle actuality offline all that well, nor does it action any affiliation with Google Drive, Google's afresh launched billow accumulator ecosystem. Chrome OS adaptation 20 is meant to accommodate offline Google Docs abutment and Google Drive integration. Both should admonition accomplish a Chromebook bigger to use, but we can't analysis what doesn't abide yet.

I acclaim Chrome OS and its simplicity, but if you demand a aftertaste of it, here's my admonition on how to get it for free: download the Chrome browser on your computer, and again install your best of apps from the Chrome Web Store. There, you're done.

The hardware

Samsung's absolutely fabricated an adorable little 12-inch laptoplike accessory here, bottomward to a crisp, matte 12.1-inch 1,200x800-pixel-resolution screen, a comfortable, avant-garde keyboard, and a ample multitouch clickpad. At 3.1 pounds, this Chromebook feels like a failing ultraportable, or a thicker ultrabook. It's accessible to blooper in a bag, but it's not about as baby or ablaze as an iPad. Silver artificial covers the exoteric and interior, but the body is solid and flex-free.

The island-style aloft keyboard actualization some keys you'll never see on a approved Windows or Mac laptop; a magnifying-glass figure opens up a new tab for Google search, and committed buttons for awning brightness, volume, folio back/forth/reload, and full-screen toggle band the top. Google's affidavit shows a alarming cardinal of keyboard shortcuts, should you be aggressive to apprentice them.

A ability button on the appropriate boots up or shuts bottomward the Chromebook quickly. You're consistently logged in beneath your Google ID, but you can log out or accept a Guest mode. Booting up takes aloof seconds, faster than any ultrabook or smartphone I've anytime used. In 7.4 abnormal I accomplished the log-in screen, and a brace of abnormal afterwards that was absolutely online. It's as abutting to instant-on as a adaptable accessory can be.

Samsung's latest-generation Chromebook offers 4GB of RAM, up from 2GB a year ago, and 16GB onboard SSD storage. Two USB ports, a headphone jack, a DisplayPort (compatible with DVI, HDMI, and VGA with a dongle), an SD agenda slot, and alike a committed Ethernet jack with a pull-down articulation accomplish their appearance, aloof like you'd apprehend on a approved 11- or 12-inch ultraportable laptop. The USB anchorage calmly accurate a two-button-click abrasion I had lying around, and my iPhone could be acquainted in and charged, although Chrome OS, to no abundant surprise, wouldn't acceptation my photos. (You can acceptation photos from an Android device.) Oh, and a baby but annoying actuality about that SD agenda slot: an amid SD agenda juts out instead of lying flush, which hurts the concept, at atomic aesthetically, of application a high-capacity SD agenda to addition your centralized storage.

Wireless administration is easy, and a simplified pop-up window of wireless settings helps administer networks. I approved bent off Wi-Fi and application the Verizon 3G abstracts affiliation (built in to the $549 adaptation of the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, but not present on the $449 Wi-Fi-only model) to set up "free" 3G wireless, and the action was about painless. Verizon's folio never asks for a acclaim card, but you're bound to 100MB of chargeless abstracts a ages for two years beneath the agreement of the accord provided with this Chromebook. You can buy added 3G abstracts as needed. You can bake through 100MB calmly if you're accomplishing annihilation added than bare-bones e-mail and certificate editing. Also, this "free" abstracts isn't free; as mentioned, you're advantageous $100 aloof to get the advantage of that advantage to admission Verizon broadband. It's a nice extra, but if you're spending up for that always-available 3G connection, you're acceptable to be acquisition it actual arresting compared with a added acceptable abstracts plan.

An onboard HD Webcam formed able-bodied with Gmail's onboard video chat, and with Google+ and its Hangout affection for assorted accompanying chats. Video affection looked as acceptable as on a boilerplate laptop. Google's notification arrangement for admission Web chats is a little odd, though; I never accustomed any pop-up notifications or sounds as you do with Apple's FaceTime or on a laptop application Skype.

The onboard Intel Celeron processor isn't acutely labeled or accurate on any of the Chromebook's blueprint sheets; it's alleged an "Intel Core" processor in our analysis documentation. While it's bigger than the aftermost Series 5 Chromebook's Atom processor, it doesn't abatement far from the tree. It's adamantine to adjudicator article like achievement on a Chromebook because what you're accomplishing on a Chromebook boils down, largely, to avant-garde Web browsing. On the whole, it's a bigger and faster acquaintance than on aftermost year's Samsung Chromebook. The processor and the added RAM acquiesce added windows to be accessible at already and bigger administration of abstracts and files: 1080p video can beck smoothly,albeit at 1,280x800 pixels, and some basal Web-based amateur run passably. Also, Web sites like Netflix now run on Chrome OS, too. Swapping amid programs is easy, but with beefier bold downloads I saw some bog-down amid apps.

A chat on array life: it wouldn't absolutely amount if this Chromebook had a actor hours of array life. It wouldn't advance my assessment of the product, because I can't use it as a accurate go-anywhere device. Its disability to handle offline functions in any advantageous amount accommodation makes this added of a thin-client terminal than a carriageable computer. And, in those places area I can acquisition Wi-Fi, I'm acceptable to acquisition a ability outlet. We couldn't get our accepted array cesspool analysis to assignment on this Chromebook, but Google claims 6.5 hours of array life. My use of the Chromebook over a abounding day akin that claim.

The basal line

There's no acceptable acumen to buy a Chromebook at this price. You can buy a small-screen book like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 for as low as $250 ($200, if you accede the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, accessories that accept some e-mail functions). The iPad 2 can be had for as low as $400, or less, if you go for a refurbished model. Netbooks can still be bought for $300. For $400, you could get the abundantly advantageous HP dm1z, which has a full-fledged Windows 7 OS and 320GB of hard-drive space. Why would you abdicate Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android for Chrome OS? What could possibly actuate anyone to accomplish that decision?

Price would be one factor. If the Chromebook were $99, or alike $199, its amount would accomplish it an burning application as a Netbook and book alternative. (Indeed, the Chromebox, the Chromebook's mini desktop sibling, initially seems added appetizing at $329, but the amount advantage disappears if you don't already accept a monitor, keyboard, and abrasion to attach.) Convenience is another, but Chrome OS, while actuality accessible to use, isn't absolutely "easy." Too abounding apps don't assignment offline, and the bound architecture of Chrome OS makes it an agreement you accept to be accommodating to buy into.