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Samsung Chromebook Review (Part 1)

Updated on June 29, 2013

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Samsung Chromebook Series 3

The Specs


Model: XE303C12

Processor: Samsung Exynos 5 (1.7 GHz)

Memory: 2GB DDR3L

Storage: 16 GB Solid State

Operating System: Google Chrome OS

Display: 11.6 in.

Wireless: 802.11n

Ports: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, headphone/microphone jack combo, 3 in 1 card reader

Cost: $249




What is a Chromebook?


Google says their new laptops, called Chromebooks, “are a new type of computer designed to help you get things done faster and easier. They run Chrome OS, an operating system that has multiple layers of security, cloud storage, and the most popular Google products built-in.” (http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features-different.html)


Chrome OS is a web-based operating system that uses only web-based apps. The operating system is essentially the chrome browser with a taskbar that links to web-based apps that open within the browser.




The Pros


Speed:

The Samsung Chromebook is fast! it uses a solid state drive, a new dual core ARM processor, and two GBs of DDR3L memory. The operating system is extremely light. In addition, nothing is stored on the device. Downloads and files are stored on the 100GB of cloud storage Google provides with the purchase of a Chromebook. It can turn on from sleep in under 5 seconds and can completely restart in under 10 seconds.


Battery Life:

With such a light operating system and a great ARM processor, the Samsung’s claim of 6.5 hours has been undisputed. I have not had 6.5 hours of free time to test it, but from my experience the battery life is more than long enough.


Cost Effectiveness:

This is one of the cheapest chromebooks and is well out of the neighborhood of the average windows 8 laptop price; and, it is not even in the same universe as the cheapest Macbook. With this product, you definitely get your money’s worth!


Ease of Use:

This laptop was designed so that anyone can use it. It is already setup for browsing the web, using facebook, using youtube, and checking email. Further configuration allows for many more cool features. It takes very little learning to use the laptop. It is an easy transition from OS X, Linux, or Windows. It is even an easy transition into the world of computers from the real world.


Weight:

The chromebook is super light, weighing about 2.4 lbs.


Keyboard:

The keyboard closely resembles that of the MacBook Air. Actually the entire laptop does. I love the keyboard. It is easy to use, clean, and the perfect size.


Touch Pad:

The touchpad is slightly larger than the previous generation. It, like the keyboard, is very clean and easy to use.


Chrome Remote Desktop:

Chrome’s remote desktop app is very easy to use allowing you to remotely access any computer with Chrome installed from anywhere in the world. It makes this an amazing second computer for anyone looking to complement their desktop.


ARM Processor:

The Exynos 5 is a ARM Cortex A-15 based processor made by Samsung. It is dual core running at 1.7 GHz. This processor is typically used in smartphones and tablets, but, does not seem to slow down the chromebook at all.




The Cons


Offline Impracticality:

The laptop relies solely on web-based apps. The majority of the apps cannot be utilized offline. This extremely limits the functionality of this chromebook. Samsung’s solution to this problem was to release a 3G chromebook for about $100 more.


Camera:

It only has a 0.3 MP webcam.


Professional Use:

The apps are very limited when it comes to things like programming and media editing. There is not photoshop equivalent. As of now there are no good video editors or music editors. They have a long way to go before they can eclipse or netbeans equivalent. This was not made for professional use.




The Verdict


If you are using this as secondary computer I would say go for it. If you only need a computer that allows you to watch videos, use social networks, and check your email, this is the laptop for you. If you will be using it for programming or video editing, the best way to go about that is to use the remote desktop app. This really is not a great solution though. So it really comes down to how and when you will be using the laptop. For the majority of people though, this is an excellent product well worth the money. To read more about the Samsung Series 3, check out the second part to my review here: Samsung Chromebook Review (Part 2).

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    • etaCarinae profile image

      Sara Johnson 2 years ago from United States

      Good info - small mistake, though: it says that "nothing is stored on the Chromebook" but there's actually 16 GB worth of local storage. I agree, though - this is nothing compared to the huge 100 GB of Google Drive storage that only Google could offer. You'd have to pay Dropbox like $50 per month or so for that...

      http://pinstor.us/2014/09/15/best-chromebook-home-...

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