on October 22, 2013
To give some background, this is my first Chromebook. I own a PC which I use for gaming and editing video files; and I've owned an '08 MacBook (recently died, which prompted this purchase) and a '12 MacBook Air (donated to Mom), both of which I primarily used to surf the web, check email, watch youtube, and play music and video files.
I needed to replace my MacBook so I researched my options, and based on my needs I narrowed my choices down to the Acer C720 and HP Chromebook11. I read through the limited reviews available at the time, and the overall theme was that the C720 offered greater performance over build/screen quality while the HP11 offered better build/screen quality over performance. I've always valued function over form so the C720 it was.
I'm glad to report that, IMO, the claims against the C720's screen - some of which made it sound like it was a total POS - are unfounded as I feel it's as good as my Macbook Air's screen. Of course, the build quality isn't the best, but it's not like it feels like a flimsy toy by any means. The keys and touchpad feel thinner, lighter, and of lesser quality than my MacBook but still adequate; and for $250 it's a solidly built machine that meets or exceeds all of my expectations.
At the time of purchase the available reviews had not covered whether this machine could meet my main criteria (detailed below in order of importance), and I am pleased to report that the C720 passes with flying colors on all counts! (Note, my '08 MacBook could not play 1080p video from my Sony Action Cam or GoPro (without the help of Plex Software), a limitation of the CPU/GPU.)
1. smooth playback of raw 1080p video files from my Sony ActionCam and GoPro 3 (1080p HDMI output to HDTV also works great!)
2. efficiently browse the web - no realistic limitation on open tabs/windows (thanks to the 4gb of ram)
3. compact size (the C720 feels just slightly heavier than my Macbook Air and a hair larger in all dimensions)
4. great battery life (based on a full charge and screen at 70% brightness, the battery indicator esimates 7 hours of use)
5. ability to continue using all of my external HD's (some laptops I've used before don't play nice)
Overall, I am super impressed with the C720, and IMO at $250 it's an outstanding bargain for a very capable machine. Assuming your primary use is similar to mine - surfing the web while on the couch / in bed, and playing music and videos - this laptop will surprisingly meet most if not all of your needs. The Intel Celeron Haswell chip, while dumbed-down, enables this Chromebook to match the performance of my MacBook Air for all my intents and purposes and even surpasses my older MacBook in video playback. I'm officially a Chromebook convert, and I don't see myself missing my MacBook anymore! I'll update this review as I develop further impressions but so far I am very happy with my decision to go with the C720.
I'm even more impressed with this machine after having spent another 3.5 weeks with it. Not only can I stream web content in 1080p to my TV via HDMI, but simultaneously on my C720 display I am able to stream 1080p content and browse in multiple tabs all at once with no discernible hit in performance. That's two 1080p streams to separate displays while still being able to smoothly browse the web. The C720 is a beast!
on October 23, 2013
01/09/14 - Added in some additional notes
12/02/14 - See update at end of review
This review is going to assume that you're OK with the idea of a Chromebook - that you're OK with using pretty much nothing but the Chrome browser. You won't be able to use Skype or Microsoft Office here, neither will you be able to use things like Final Cut Pro or Photoshop. However, you'd be surprised at how powerful some of the things you find online have become: there are substitutes for programs like Skype and Microsoft Office, found in the form of Google's Hangouts and their productivity suite. More complex programs like Photoshop have yet to be replicated online, but there are basic photo and video editing software now as well. If you're OK with this idea cloud computing which some have named the "next generation of computing", then I encourage you to buy a Chromebook. They're optimized for the web and only the web. You won't have to deal with viruses and updates are automatic. It's simple, it's fast, and it's efficient. But only if you can handle the limitations.
The Acer C720
With the C720, Acer has fixed the most glaring issues of its previous generation of Chromebooks - most noticeably replacing the HDD with a SSD, decreasing the boot time to a mere 7 seconds, and upgrading the processor to a 4th generation power efficient Haswell processor, improving the battery life to an impressive 8 hours. With a $249 price tag, these specifications alone makes this a tempting buy, but let's look at some of the other factors first.
To keep a long story short, it's not great. Compared to the catchy design of the HP 11, Acer's Chromebook looks kind of ugly, It's all gray color scheme is pretty boring, and the bottom of the Chromebook is filled with vents (see picture above). That being said, it's not a bad design either. It's thin with a slightly tapered finish, and it's light and easy to hold. Looks aside, this Chromebook is perfectly functional and definitely an upgrade if you're coming from the previous generation. It's actually pretty sturdy - it doesn't bend easily and it seems like it can take a light beating. I've been traveling around with it and I don't feel it at all in my backpack.
The screen has a 1366x768 resolution with a matte finish. It has poor viewing angles, but it's perfectly fine if you're using the Chromebook alone. I'm also not sure if it's really anti-glare: you'll still have to crank up the brightness if you want to use it outside. The keyboard works pretty well - if you're used to previous Chromebook keyboards or Apple keyboards, you'll be used to this one. Keep in mind that the caps lock key has been replaced by a `search' button, though you can always remap it in the settings if you miss it. The clickable touchpad also works well - it's surprisingly responsive and the 2 finger scrolling works well. Note that when I first got the Chromebook, there was some kind of coating that made it kind of hard to use, but after ~2 hours of using the touchpad, it became much more responsive. You use a 2 finger click for right clicking, and you can also do a 3 finger swipe to switch tabs. The smoothness of the multi-touch capabilities really surprised me here. Also, regarding the webcam, it's exactly what you'd expect from a $250 laptop. It's listed as an "HD Webcam", whatever that means. It'll work well enough for Google Hangouts, but don't expect to look like a supermodel. However, it's definitely a bit better than the HP 11's webcam - it's not as grainy and it works a little bit better under low light situations. Speakers are also pretty loud for such a small notebook, but the sound quality is average.
This Chromebook also comes with a variety of input/output ports (1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 SD, 1 Kensington lock, 1 Mic/Headphone), much more than the HP 11, and I've found the abundance of ports to be quite useful. Finally, note that there is a fan in this Chromebook, but it's barely noticeable: you have to lean in close and be in a quiet room before you can hear it.
This is where this Chromebook really shines. For $249, we're used to getting a sluggish computer, but that is not the case with this Chromebook. The Intel processor and a generous 4GB of RAM really shines here, and it shows in the performance. It can handle multiple tabs with no problem and runs 1080p videos and graphically heavy websites smoothly. Unlike the ARM based Chromebooks, there are no stutters or pauses which might distract you from your work and research. Once I used this Chromebook, it was really hard to go back to the HP 11. The battery life lasted around 8 hours for me, but the best part is that it only takes around 2 hours to fully charge, which is pretty fast in my opinion.
All in all, I love Chromebooks because of their simplicity and speed. It works so well for those who just need to surf the web and do some basic writing or note taking and I'd recommend everyone to give it a try before dismissing the idea. Chrome OS is still essentially a web browser, but it's evolved to a point where it's so cleverly disguised that it doesn't feel like one anymore. Once you use it, you'd be surprised at how much we depend on the web these days. Personally, I've been waiting for a Chromebook which combines good battery life and performance with a decent design, and I think this model does just that (even if it falls a bit short on design). This would be the perfect model for those who prefer function over form, and for $249, it's an absolute bargain.
Some side notes regarding the other models:
- Acer recently released a C720 model with 2GB of RAM for $199. The decrease in RAM is the only difference, making this a pretty good deal as well. These seem to be selling out quite fast, because every time I check, they aren't in stock. Also, I haven't seen the 4GB model in stock anywhere, so I'm not sure what happened to that. To be honest, 2GB of RAM is good enough for a lightweight OS like Chrome OS-you probably can't open as many tabs (I'm talking 15+ here), but everything else should work just as well as the 4GB model. Other models (such as the HP 11 & the Samsung Series 3) comes with 2GB as well, and most people are happy with them.
- I've used the Samsung Series 3, the Acer C7, the CR-48 (beta-test model) and the HP 11, and this model trumps all of them in terms of performance.
- The screen on the Hp 11 is the best out of all 3, with the best contrast, brightness and viewing angles. The HP 11 has been taken down from all stores now though due to an issue with the chargers overloading/overheating. Luckily, there's nothing wrong with this model.
- This model has the best battery life for an 11 inch chromebook, though the 14 inch Hp chromebook is supposed to have 9.5 hours.
- Also, for those interested, this Chromebook comes with the standard perks of 100GB of Google Drive for 2 years, 60 days of Google play music, and 12 sessions of GoGo in-flight internet.
12/02/14 UPDATE: Well, it's been a year. I've been using this as my main computer for an entire year (I do have a Windows laptop for certain applications), and I'm happy to say that this was probably the best purchase I've made in a while. The automatic updates, the speed, and and the simplicity of Chrome OS is refreshing. It's hard to find a computer that gets better over time, but that's exactly what Chrome OS has accomplished. You can now run a few Android apps on the Chromebook (Skype is even possible with some tweaks!), and more and more applications (Photoshop included) are starting to build web native versions. This Chromebook is still working well (albeit looking a bit worn), but the trackpad has depreciated a bit. It sometimes doesn't register when I click, and as a result I have enabled the tap-to-click function. Everything else works like new! Also, those who buy Chromebooks now can get a whopping 1TB of free storage from Google, which is pretty awesome.
Also, I've used the 2GB version of this Chromebook several times over the past year (one of my friends owns it), and I can say that while the performance differences between the 2 models aren't very noticeable, the 2GB version did crash on me and had to restart a couple times, whereas this 4GB model has been rock solid.
Feel free to ask any questions below in the comment section!
on November 3, 2013
My new Chromebook is so much faster than my last 2012 Samsung model. So many people are making the comparison to the new HP 11.
Yes, the Acer is heavier and not as sleek as the HP 11, however there are some major differences to consider. The Acer C720 has the Haswell-U chip not the anemic ARM processor. The speed is night and day. I got so frustrated with the Samsung Chromebook watching the circle spinning to load pages. No longer, the Acer zips loading pages almost instantly. Getting 4 GB of RAM for the quarter of the price for a Macbook Air is amazing. The display is more than adequate. I loathe glossy screens. Having a matte screen is the best feature of this Chromebook. Sitting out by the pool on a sunny day writing this review with no glare. Seeing this bright screen on a sunny day is not an issue. Reviewers mention the HP 11 with it's IPS screen is far superior, I would say no thanks to a highly reflective glossy screen. Who sits in dark room the best conditions for a glossy screen? Matte is where it's at. Too bad Apple doesn't get that either. This Chromebook is perfect for the road warrior. Under 3 lbs, with 8 hours of battery life, I don't have to search the airports for a power source or think about charging all of the time. Also, getting the 100 GB of Google drive for two years, and the 12 Gogo inflight internet passes is worth the price of the Chromebook. The Chrome platform is user friendly and boots within seconds. Having the side SD card slot allows me to pop in a 32 GB card where I park movies to watch on the road. Video playback on this model far superior than any ARM Chromebook. For the price, this is the one to get especially for the wonderful matte screen that is better than my old Samsung Chromebook, it is matte also but the colors are a bit washed out. Some people have complained about the design with the vents at the bottom. This one has the Haswell chip people and requires some cooling unlike the slow ARM that is completely sealed. With this kind of speed it is not an issue for me. The size is relatively the same as the old Samsung and HP 11 only thicker and weighs a bit more. For me, speed and battery life trumps slow and sleek. The track pad on the Acer is much more responsive than the Samsung. The keyboard makes a bit more clicking sounds and seems a bit cramped compared to the Samsung. Something I can deal with considering the speed. The biggest plus is not spending a thousand dollars on a Macbook Air but getting similar specs for a quarter of the price. Very happy with my purchase.
on November 13, 2013
I've used Samsung's 11 inch chromebook extensively, and though I enjoyed it, I was open to upgrading to one of the newer chromebooks being released this fall. After using the Acer C720 for a week, here are my thoughts about how it compares to the Samsung.
Speed: Without question, there is a significant improvement in performance, and this is the number one reason I upgraded. While the Samsung was adequate with most tasks, it sometimes struggles with streaming video, and can feel a bit sluggish with opening some websites. The C720 on the other hand is almost on par with my desktop PC for all web browsing tasks.
Build Quality: Probably the most disappointing aspect of the C720. Right away, it just doesn't feel as nice or solid in your hands as does the Samsung. It's also not as nice looking, but it's not ugly either. It's just marginally bigger and heavier, but not by much. The C720 doesn't feel flimsy though, and it has the same amount of ports and outputs. On another note, the C720 has a fan where as the Samsung is fanless and completely silent. I haven't really noticed the C720 fan at all to be honest, even when under demanding tasks like streaming video. The keyboard is fine, both are equally good. The touchpad, however, is my biggest gripe. It's noisy, feels really cheap, and occasionally doesn't register clicks.
Screen: Very similar, though the C720 looks a bit better in my opinion. Seems to have better color saturation and doesn't look as washed out. They are both matte, and have exactly the same size and resolution. The viewing angles are maybe a little better if there is any difference at all, and the brightness is still pretty adequate.
Battery Life: Much better on the C720. For regular browsing it will get at least 9+ hours, and even when streaming video will still get more than 6 hours (Samsung would only get about 3 hours when streaming video).
There you go. If you are comparing a Samsung Chromebook or already have one and are looking to upgrade, I hope this helps. The C720 wasn't quite the slam dunk I was expecting it to be, but I am still pretty happy with it.
on October 22, 2013
I got Samsung Chromebook last year and have been using it for about a year. As soon as Haswell Chromebook was announced I ordered it because the ARM chip in Chromebook sucks. Its extremely slow. Enter Intel Haswell. Its freaking awesome. Pages load quickly, and no matter how many tabs you have open, this chromebook keeps going blazing fast. I am sure 4 gig ram also helps. So to summarize:
1) Superfast. Orders of magnitude faster than Samsung Chromebook (and HP Chromebook-11 because it also uses the same crappy ARM chip)
2) Awesome battery life. I got close to 9 hours
3) Screen is better than what I had in Samsung Chromebook. Same resolution, but more bright and colors are not as washed out as with Samsung.
4) Super thin and light.
5) Both Keyboard and trackpad are good
Best $250 I spend
on November 9, 2013
Plugable USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter - Perfect, a seldom 1/5 of a second buffering on video streaming.
Virtual keyboard was kind of useless - right click on the virtual keyboard on the address bar to delete.
Tip #2 for the curious - do a "Powerwash" and your Chromebook will be like new as it will erase everything, takes about 3-5 minutes.
Google Pixel - haven't tried it but it is pointless to try a $1299 Chromebook. I used $1300 to buy the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro w/ Windows 8.1, i7, 8 GB RAM, & 256 GB SSD from Best Buy.
The C720 resolves all the issues I had with the C710 & Samsung Chromebook 11.6".
Plugable USB 2.0 ethernet adapter - works great
Cable Matters USB 3.0 ethernet adapter - works good
[*Not sure if USB 2.0 runs warms, USB 3.0 runs cool, Plugable is a better device, Cable Matters is a weaker device, Chromebook runs better on USB 2.0, or runs worst on USB 3.0. I had favorable results with the Plugable USB 2.0 ethernet adapter.]
HDMI to monitor - works great, letters & images are very sharp
Mouse - use any mouse brand except Microsoft brand. Other mouse brands works good as you can change the speed, but the Microsoft mouse has a lot of lag and doesn't work well. Google may hate Microsoft, but I like their mouse devices.
C720 improvements over the C710
Screen - clean & clear. The C710 screens except for the last batch of C710 had very obvious vertical lines and the screen would fade on many occasions.
Keyboard - sturdy and no flex as the top is one piece.
Sound - excellent, very clear.
SD card reader - It is on the right side for those with storage anxiety.
Good but not great
Head phone outlet - too tight for my iPhone headphones, but it works.
HDMI & USB 3.0 outlet - too close together and I could not properly plug in my Amazon HDMI cable & Cable Matters 3.0 USB hub, but the HDMI & USB plugs are pretty fat.
Tips for this Chromebook
When connected to a monitor, closing the laptop will make the laptop go into "Dock Mode". Too bad Chromebook doesn't have a virtual keyboard. To type, I had to open the laptop screen to type. Dock Mode would be great for watching videos.
Mouse cursor with a monitor connected - switch the cursor from laptop to monitor & vice versa
If the cursor is on the laptop, move the cursor to the top right edge of the laptop screen, move up, and the cursor will show up in the top left of the monitor.
If the cursor is on the monitor, move the cursor to the top left of the monitor screen, move up, and the cursor will show up in the top right of the laptop screen.
I love this laptop for $249, upgrading to more RAM is not needed. Video streaming on Crunchyroll is great, there is no buffer, stop & play is almost flawless, skipping to different time is very quick, the image is very sharp, and doesn't run hot. With 4 GB of RAM, it is quick and doesn't need to upgrade. Boot up is in-line with the Samsung Chromebook as it will boot up in less than 10 seconds and shuts down in 1 second. You don't really need a big hard drive since everything will be saved to Google Drive.
If you thought about buying a cheap machine for web surfing, document & spreadsheet, you should compare all your options, Windows full version, Windows RT, iPad, Android, & Chromebook. Just remember, Chromebook will never slow down as the Chrome OS is installed and updated constantly. I just saw that the Microsoft Surface 2 w/ Windows RT will also have Outlook. With Chromebook, you get free Google Docs, Sheets, Calculator, Calendar, Play Music and many more. You can also add apps from the Google Web Store.
on October 25, 2013
To preface, I own a Samsung Series 5, a Samsung Series 5 550 and a Series 3 ARM. Ive been using a Chromebook since the Series 5 first came out in 2011.
Everything about this Chromebook is what you would expect from a Chromebook *except* the keyboard and touchpad. The display is not bad, it's anti-glare, it doesn't require too much movement to correct 'washout', it's also fairly bright. The speed, is fantastic. The Haswell CPU and really the GPU are the highlights of this Chromebook, as well as 4gb of RAM. I had no trouble tab-streaming Hulu in HD to my Chromecast with very little heat or fan noise. The body of the Chromebook is light, it's 'plasticky', which is to be expected from a $250 laptop, but the lid/top is very nice to touch. It leaves few if any fingerprints. The speakers are louder than most other Chromebooks. They have loud mids, little to no bass and crackling highs.
My biggest problem with this Chromebook is the keyboard and touchpad. If you have ever used an Acer C7-series Chromebook before, you know how the keyboard feels. It's clacky, loud, not very well muted (like the Samsung Chromebooks) and is smaller than most other Chromebooks. The touchpad is similar to the C710, but was either defective or 'rattling' on my unit. It felt as if it weren't attached properly, when I would tap it, it felt like there was a spring depressing before it actually started a depress of a click. If you tap instead of clicking, this is fairly annoying. Instead of being silent, it sounds like a click. I'm not sure if this was just my unit, it was one of the first shipped units (recieved it Monday, Oct 21st), either way this was a deal breaker for me. I take my Chromebook to class to take notes with and it was too loud for that, so I sent it back.
on October 24, 2013
Acer C720 chromebook is the best Chromebook as of now and probably the best portable computer I have ever used !!
I pre-ordered this Chromebook and was lucky enough to get is within a week, unfortunately now there is again a 3 week's wait. This Chromebook seems to be in high demand !! Obviously has to be , cause it packs so much punch within it, like a fast HDD , better memory and a nice processor and that too at a very affordable price.
I have a Note 10.1 Tab, a heavy HP laptop ,and a vaio netbook, and generally I find myself on Blackboard learn for classes , checking mails , calendar , docs, FB etc , basically everything I do is online. Galaxy note is an awesome equipment for a student and helps in taking notes and annotating slides etc , however its very cumbersome using it, if I need to type something or finish an assignment or simply browse the internet. Its not possible to carry the Laptop and a power chord along with it everywhere I go cause its too heavy to be comfortably carried along and the netbook is too slow and takes a lot of time to open up anything , even though what I want is to I just wanna open a few tabs . So I thought, if I always spend most of my time on a browser ( chrome is my favorite ) why not just buy a thing which would just have Chrome and nothing else and do the job which I mostly do 95% of my time quickly and efficiently. Chromebook was the answer !! Especially this latest piece of amazing equipment having the best configuration among all Chromebooks available today in the market of similar price range.
A few things I liked about it :
Its Fast !!! it does not take me even 3 seconds to get back to where i left if i just make my chromebook sleep, by the time I lift screen the Chromebook is up and running, not like my laptop or netbook where i just keep waiting and looking at the mouse pointer and that irritating circle !! Even if i shut it down completely , it does not take more than a few seconds for it to startup, that's the most impressive part.
Its Light !!! It's such a sweet piece of thin and light machine, that I can carry it anywhere just like my Tablet or along with my tablet. I make hand written notes on my tablet and they are synced to google drive , which I open up whenever and wherever I want to read them again on the chromebook.
Easy to view !!! The matte screen is fantastic , and makes it so easy to read under the bright lights of an auditorium . Now i do not need to bend my head in weird angle or move the computer at different angles just to read whats on the screen , makes life easier !!
Doesn't heat up !!! Surprisingly even though there are vents and I expected it to give out some heat its very cool underneath and I did not feel a thing on my lap even though it was there for a few hours , unlike my laptop or netbook where I need to keep a fan underneath it to protect my lap and my balls from frying ;)
Goes On an On !!! The battery backup is awesome.. The first time i used it out of the box it gave me 4 hrs straight with all the new stiff and experimenting going on , then i charged it completely and i got almost 6.5 hrs or maybe a bit more. I expect it to increase a bit more after a few cycles of complete discharging and recharging. So overall im pretty satisfied with the one shot work capacity and its good to go for a days work at least :)
Sexy Keyboard !!! The keyboard is so cool , it feels great typing on it which i am doing right now !! no tap sounds and really smooth keys
Robust Built !! Even though this is not a very expensive computer , the overall quality of the materials used is very good ,the screen , keyboard , frame etc are really up to the mark with no complaints !!!
Syncs !! So its Google .. and i'm deep into the Google ecosystem , so i'm a happy person with the tremendous syncing capabilities of all my devices including my nexus 4
Not Expensive !!! at $249 its an amazing deal . Even if something happens to it by chance , I would not be as unhappy as I would be if something happened to my other devices also I will never be scared or sad about loosing my data .. ever !!!
I'm very happy with this purchase and would recommend it to anyone with usage where they spend most of their time on a browser ,and have other devices to take care of some other infrequent tasks.
on October 24, 2013
This is my 2nd chromebook (also own a Samsung ARM Chromebook). This is the exact combination of speed, quality and price I've been looking for. It's slightly bulkier but is still really small and feels great to use. I'm running Ubuntu with a window manager alongside Chrome OS and have about 40 tabs open (and a bunch of other apps) and haven't noticed any performance issues. This is the chromebook I've been waiting for.
Differences from the Samsung ARM Chromebook:
- The keys are less wiggly, this keyboard is nicer to type on and better protects from small amounts of liquid spilling on it
- The trackpad is much more sensitive ***EDIT: I can operate this laptop really easily without a mouse after learning the keyboard shortcuts -- very efficient. Also I didn't find this in any documentation, but this trackpad is even 3 finger sensitive for swiping across tabs. Great user experience!***
- The screen is a bit nicer
- This thing has a fan which runs nearly silent but makes it slightly bulkier (still only 2-3 lbs). Because of this, there are vents across the bottom and rear, and the rear footpads are slightly raised (facilitating heat exchange). All this differentiates the feel of it from the Sammy ARM (which is literally just a board and no moving parts).
- The footpads are rounded which makes it less grippy to the surface below. To fix this, drag the laptop around a bit to wear off a tiny amount of the rubber coating.
- The Acer is MUCH faster. Even with swap enabled on the Samsung, it doesn't come anywhere near the Acer in speed. I'm more productive on it.
- The battery lasts about 2 hours longer (running the same apps, doing the same tasks) despite the fan(s), etc.
on October 30, 2013
NOTE: Check this review's comments for information on installing and setting up Ubuntu on this machine.
Since the negatives are always the most important part of a review I'm going to start out with the problems I had and the things I don't like about this Chromebook. That being said this thing is incredible and I am extremely happy with this purchase.
When I first got it I had the infamous "raised" touch pad problem. It wasn't really a big deal but it decreased sensitivity making it harder to use sometimes. However within 30 minutes of getting it out of the box the distance decreased significantly and moreso the more I use it. Later the day I got it it was completely gone but has come and gone since, each time becoming less noticeable. I'm not sure what the heck the problem was but as of now it is completely gone and hasn't come back. In case this helps anyone else, the only thing I did was put pressure around the track pad area a lot the first couple days I had it and while it didn't have an immediate effect it may have caused it to get fixed. In any case, not a problem after a couple days!
The second complaint I have is also about the track pad which seems to not be slick when you first get it. My fingers would stick to it a lot and would cause me to lose control, however I guess after getting it broken in it is very smooth and workable now. No big deal either way.
The last thing is that the 16 gig SSD. While it normally isn't a big deal I bought this to also use Ubuntu on it and with all my personal necessary software it has about 5.5 gigs of room left. Not too shabby, but it would be nice to have at least a little more headroom there.
Now onto the good stuff. This thing is FAST and works great in every way. The keyboard is very similar to the HP Chrombook 11, Samsung 550 and Samsung ARM notebooks I've used before. After the problems the touch pad works great and makes usability amazing compared to ones that don't recognize 2 fingers (like scrolling, which makes this much more usable than single finger only pads). The screen works great and is higher quality than the other 2 Samsungs I've used (though not the HP, however the HP's screen is NOT that much better. The keyboard works great, however it took just a day of getting used to it for heavier typing. The speakers aren't bad either and they get surprisingly loud. Also the battery life is RIDICULOUS. I used it for 5 hours straight studying and installing Ubuntu and all the packages I needed using crouton and it was only at 50% battery by the time I stopped. This is why I bought the Chromebook.
Also Ubuntu on this thing works great. I'm currently running Saucy using Crouton and it doesn't seem to affect the battery life or performance at all based on which OS I'm using. Another cool thing is when you switch to the other OS the other continues to run doing whatever process or playing music or whatever that it was doing before. This makes it surprisingly easy to multitask and allows for an instant backup if I crash Ubuntu (which I have already...my fault lol).
This thing is just plain a workhorse and it hits all the parts that make this a very usable Chromebook/Linux Laptop. Sure you can go with the slightly more expensive HP Chromebook 11, but that thing is ridiculously slow comparatively and doesn't have the ports or battery life. In any case I recommend checking out a few before purchasing so you can get what you want, but for my needs this one is absolutely perfect and at an amazing price too.