Samsung Chromebook review - are you ready to ditch Windows?
On Wednesday, we got invited to the launch of Samsung’s new Chromebook – the first laptop on the market to avoid a regular operating system and run entirely within a web browser. What’s it like, can it compete with existing products, and are you guys ready for it? Read on to find out.
The Samsung Chromebook looks like lots of other ultraportable laptops – it’s thinner than most, at under 20mm, it features a portable 12.1-inch screen, and it’s surprisingly stylish. The chicklet keyboard is a pleasure to use, there’s plenty of space between the keys, and this laptop is easily small enough to take with you wherever you go.
It’s not really the hardware that’s the impressive part about the Samsung Chromebook, however – it’s the software. Turn the computer on – it starts up in just ten seconds – and the first thing you’ll be met with is a log in page, letting you enter your Google account details.
Once you’ve logged in, the Chromebook opens a full page web browser. From here you can carry out pretty much any task – you can work in Google Docs, you can watch videos, you can stream music – but nearly everything is done via the internet. As soon as you log out, everything is stored online – rather than on the Chromebook – so it’s incredibly secure.
There are some great things about the Chromebook, too. The fact all the software is online means that you’ll never have to bother updating apps, nor will you have to spend lots of time setting them up or installing them. Samsung and Google also claim that the Chromebook will get better with time – with future software offering more features, and even increasing battery life – from an already impressive eight hours.
There’s still one big issue for us, however, and that’s connectivity. You can get the Chromebook with either 3G or Wi-Fi, but at the moment neither are perfect. It’s impossible to travel the UK and maintain a 3G signal, for instance, and Wi-Fi is equally patchy. And for that reason, it feels like the Samsung Chromebook has come a bit too soon.
In a year or two, where it’s easy to switch from Wi-Fi network to Wi-Fi network, we could imagine it being a pleasure to use. Or with a more consistent 3G connection, it could also be great. At the moment though, it could also be incredibly annoying, having to wait for a response whenever you lose the signal. That said, it’s still possible to use some of the apps – Google Docs, for instance – in offline mode.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on the Samsung Chromebook. Are you ready to give up on a conventional OS and embrace the Chromebook idea? Or do you still prefer having all your files and apps locally? Leave a comment and let us know.