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Samsung Series 5 Chromebook (Wi-Fi)

"Start-up time for the Samsung Chromebook lies just under the ten-second mark, and since no local data is stored on the computer, there is much less of a virus risk"
PC Site score:
 
68
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Overview

The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is Samsung’s version of the first laptop/netbook ever to run on the Chrome OS, an operating system based on Google’s web browser – and, in fact, very much reliant on connection to the internet.

What we like best

The Samsung Series 5 does away with two major annoyances that other laptops face these days: Long boot-up times and virus threats arising from continuous internet use.

Start-up time for the Samsung Chromebook lies just under the ten-second mark, and since no local data is stored on the computer, there is much less of a virus risk. Updates will be implemented, you guessed it, via the browser.

The name of this laptop refers to the operating system, but it could also be a hint at its visuals. It certainly looks smooth – the little Chrome logo in the bottom-left corner adds some colour, but the rest of the laptop is as stylish as you’d expect from a cutting-edge device. Its 12.1 inch screen puts it right on the fence between a laptop and a netbook – the more positive way to look at it would probably to call it a hyper-netbook or something.

What’s interesting is that the Samsung Series 5’s own processor, the Intel Atom Processor N570, isn’t actually that much of a motor – most of the processing work is done via cloud servers. This means that the Chromebook can combine decent performance with portability very well.

The (non-backlit) keyboard and trackpad feel solid and responsive.

What we like least

The fact that you have to use and update all software applications within your web browser might be seen as an interesting innovation, but in the end it’s a bit more tedious than you might think.

Full versions of applications aren’t available (there is no hard drive to install them on), and users will have to rely on the Chrome app store, which is adequate but not good enough if you need the full range of tools of a certain software.

Professional designers, for example, won’t be able to use the full version of Adobe InDesign.

What’s more, however, is the simple fact that users will have to be connected to the web if they want to access their data. Granted, with wireless broadband being as ubiquitous as it is these days, chances are that people will be connected most of the time anyway, but there are still occasions where there won’t be a connection available, which would be a great opportunity to read some PDFs or word documents you’ve saved. Only with the Chromebook, you won’t be able to do that.

The Wi-Fi version is the cheaper one (as opposed to the 3G version), but it will be usable in less places – checking your emails on the train, for example, might not be easy.

In terms of hardware, there isn’t a whole lot to report either: three USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0), no video output, a multicard reader, no Bluetooth.

The verdict

An odd one, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. A fairly innovative idea (no hard drive, all applications being run via the browser) that hasn’t really come together all that well, it’s probably best to see it as the first step in a new direction rather than the finished article. There will probably be more updated versions of the Chromebook, but until then, if you really want to experience one firsthand, it’s best to opt for the 3G version.

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Specifications

Processor Speed

1.66 GHz

Processor

Intel ATOM Processor N570

RAM

2 Gb

Screen Size

12.1 inch

Graphics

Intel integrated NM10

Hard Drive Storage

16 Gb

Battery

6-cell Li-ion

Multimedia

Microphone jack
Headphone jack
HD Audio
SRS Premium Sound Effect
Webcam

Ports

3 x USB 2.0
1 x VGA (via dongle adapter)
1 x 4-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC) card reader

Weight & Size

294.2mm (W) x 20mm x (H) x 294.2mm (D)
13. Kg

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Operating System

Google Chrome

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