Samsung Chromebook Review – A Powerful Web-Based Laptop

Samsung Chromebook Review – A Powerful Web-Based Laptop

Editor's Rating

10 Look and Feel
9 Display and Sound
10 Performance and Battery Life
10 Software
8 Keyboard and Trackpad

As an avid computer enthusiast, I invest in the latest cool gadgets. I keep up to the minute with the greatest ones as they are released. When I looked around for something new that helps me accomplish work on the go, I would keep coming back to my favorite Samsung laptops.

I indulged in a Samsung Chromebook and had been hooked ever since. This indulgence didn’t cost me much but offered me excellent value. I’ve used Samsung Laptops before, and I think the Chrome OS platform is great. I feel this platform has the power to break down the paradigm, “different strokes for different folks,” essentially transferring your everyday online computing adventures into one individual assembly.

Samsung Chromebook: Overview

The new Samsung Chromebook is a beautiful (in fact the most attractive Chromebook to date), lightweight device that’s easy to carry around stuck in your backpack or tucked under your arm, almost like a coffee table book.

When you buy Samsung laptops, including the Chromebook, you are exclusively using Google’s Chrome browser. These laptops are simple, and they are entirely about using the Web. That should be perfect as most of us use the browsers most of the day anyway, what else could one possibly need?  You also get to use a lot of excellent Google services. This is one of the aspects that makes buying a Samsung laptop attractive as far as I’m concerned.

There are many things about this Samsung Chromebook that I enjoy.

  1. Extremely Affordable: Because Chromebooks run on a browser and don’t need higher-end hardware to power heavy software, they are very affordable.  Additionally, Google also throws in some extras, increasing their value.
  2. Easy to Operate: That’s Google’s marketing point because everybody knows how to use a web browser. No learning curve is needed for a Chromebook. You don’t even have to teach your mom and dad how to use it – e-mail, news sites, Facebook – everything is just a Web address away. Even the Google suite of apps like Google Sheets, Google Docs etc. are easy to use.
  3. Excellent Booting and Battery Life: Instead of huge hard drives that take all the time in the world to boot, the small but fast flash storage inside helps wake up Chromebook in a few seconds.

With all these excellent perks, it’s only natural that I think the Samsung Chromebook is better than many of the existing laptops in this range. This very list is also why I advise people to get it too.

Let’s take a look at the hardware and software that the Chromebook is upgraded with.

Samsung Chromebook: Hardware Specs

It’s not just looks with the Samsung Chromebook, but the performance is so good that I keep forgetting that it doesn’t have an Intel processor inside. The Samsung Exynos 5250 processor used in this device is one of the fastest ARM SoCs (system on a chip). With its high clock speed, the Exynos performs better than quad-core SoCs like Nvidia’s Tegra 3. It’s used in powerful, high-end Android tablets, and it fits into the Samsung Chromebook beautifully.

The Chrome keyboard is really good. It’s smooth and comfortable for fast touch-typing, which is something I look for in a laptop. I couldn’t be happier with the buttonless trackpad. It fits in perfectly with the keyboard. I find operating the Chromebook by trackpad no different from any other standard laptop. So that should tell you how good it is.

The screen resolution (1366 x 768 px) is good too; although I don’t say it’s the brightest out there. I’m perfectly happy with it as I can use it all day without any issues or straining my eyes.

Coming to the battery life, which is yet another buying point for me, the Samsung Chromebook gave me a decent 7 + hours. This feature is attributed solely to the ARM processor. This is really impressive for the very thin and light casing, which limits the size of the battery.  I’m able to handle a full day’s work on a single charge. I have to mention that the Chromebook is very silent as the ARM processor doesn’t need any fans for cooling.

You’ll love this! I have always found devices with more than 1 port extremely useful. The Samsung Chromebook comes with 2 USB ports, an HDMI port as well as an SD card slot. Add to that, it has a 16GB solid state drive and 100GB Google Drive cloud storage.

The speakers are also very effective for such a small laptop. Most videos play just fine, and I have no complaints. The hardware in the Samsung Chromebook has all the power and finesse that the high-end laptops come with; leaving no doubt in my mind that a Samsung Chromebook is worth every penny spent.

Samsung Chromebook: Software and Operating System

Apps have become an essential part of our lives, and I for one enjoy using Google Apps. If you’re like me, nothing can stop you from falling in love with the Chromebook. Thousands of Google apps are yours for the taking, the minute you log in to your Google account. Apps exist for a variety of tasks you might want to perform; whether that’s to play music, play games, manage finances, edit photos or edit spreadsheets. Some of the apps may even work offline.

You can browse the app selection and click to add those apps you want to use; the next time you log in, you’ll find them as icons. A control panel is handling all the settings in the Chromebook. It’s here that you’ll find all the installed apps.

The main beauty of the Samsung Chromebook is that it comes with cloud computing. Since everything is connected to your main Google account, you have the amazing facility of storing all your files in the cloud and accessing them from anywhere. This completely eradicates any risk of losing data.

You may be wondering what happens when there is no Internet to connect to. You may be traveling and there may be no connectivity. What do you do in such situations? Google is always at the forefront of innovation. It gives you the ability to access a version of Gmail and Google Docs offline.

You have the ability to edit and create word processing documents using Google Docs and read other documents offline. The changes you make or the new documents you create are updated the next time you connect to the Internet.

I was traveling, and there was no net connectivity. For instance, I responded to an email in Gmail. I clicked on “Send” when offline, and the mail was sent as soon as I had a connection. I find this a huge plus, as I don’t have to wait for an Internet connection to compose my mails and send them. I can do it when I find the time, irrespective of whether I’m connected or not. It’s almost like having your personal assistant do the job of sending your mails for you.

Some interesting tools in the device are the local file manager and photo viewer. These allow you to save pictures, videos or screen captures taken with the front-facing camera of the Chromebook. You can even use the USB ports or the SD card slot to copy files to the device.

My Verdict On The Samsung Chromebook

I’m glad I bought it! I can’t help but like the new Samsung Chromebook. If this sounds appealing to you, skip all other laptops: ARM is the processor that Chrome OS was waiting for, and the new Samsung Chromebook executes it well.

The question with this ARM-based Chromebook is not how the OS looks or feels, but how it performs. Can ARM be compared to Intel models? The answer is “yes.” That’s actually not good news for Intel, as it offers proof that you don’t really need Intel-grade chips to power this platform effectively.

One of the major advantages of getting a Samsung Chromebook is that it offers excellent value for money. Samsung has done a great job with this, and they haven’t cut corners because of low price. Even the cheapest Windows laptop at $300 doesn’t offer such great battery life.  Whether you’re a student, a business person or a traveler, this low-cost, 2.4 pound, 11.6-inch option is a solid buy.

If you decide to go ahead and buy a Samsung laptop online, the Chromebook could easily be the best $249 you spend this year.  You can get your hands on one of these sleek beauties from Amazon.

Buy from Amazon

Image source:  12, 3

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Sagar is co-founder and CTO at Multia, a leading creative agency in Pune. He started his venture when he was 16, he has won numerous international and national web development competitions and has worked on 100+ web, mobile and online marketing projects. He’s a globe-trotter and has traveled to San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta and Bali Islands.'
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