Samsung Series 5 Chromebook: Built for the Future, Not the PresentS

Samsung's Chromebook isn't much different than the CR-48 prototype from December. This one's a little lighter, thinner and easier on the eyes, but save for a newer, dual-core Intel Atom processor, this Series 5 Chromebook's more or less the same.

If you're still unfamiliar with Chromebooks and Google's Chrome OS, here's the deal: it's not a full-fledged OS like Windows and OS X, but rather a platform that functions entirely inside Google's Chrome web browser, and mostly serves to connect you to web-related services. If you don't have an online connection, the Chromebook is effectively useless. If you want to know more about Chrome OS, check out our posts here and here.

Plusses: The simplicity of the Samsung Chromebook is undeniably attractive. It's made for the internet and little else. Those familiar with the intricacies of the Chrome browser, and current web trends, will pick up the Chromebook and have little trouble adjusting. Also, the battery lasts forever. Use it all day. No problem. Use it at night and fall asleep with it not plugged in. Even less of a problem. But there are some tradeoffs for that battery life.

Minuses: Chrome OS is still a work in progress that's far from finished. Chrome "apps" are still glorified webpages. The hardware isn't powerful enough to handle the more exciting aspects of the web. Despite the dual-core processor, the Samsung Chromebook struggles with Flash video. Standard definition video functions well enough, but when you start watching HD quality web videos, you'll notice choppiness. Same goes for 3D web games. It also isn't small or light enough to justify the baseline performance. The trackpad is improved from the CR-48, but it's still skittish. The screen has a bluish tint that just feels off, even if you haven't been staring at another screen immediately before. The glossy white outer shell is borderline tacky, even if it's an aesthetic upgrade from the CR-48 while open,

Specs
Samsung Chromebook
Price: $500 (as tested)
Screen:12.1-inch, 1200x800 SuperBright Display
Weight: 3.3 lbs.
Processor: 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 Processor
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 16GB SSD
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G (GSM+CDMA), SD, USB
Thickness: 0.79 Inches
Battery Life: 8.5 Hours

View gallery »