240 of 254 people found the following review helpful
I wasn't sure about Chrome OS. I mean, when it's described you get a sort of "meh" reaction. "So it's all in the browser? It requires being online? It can't run Windows, Android, Mac, or Linux programs?" is what pops to mind. I was in this camp, too. I didn't think a laptop that relies on cloud-based services for 80% of what it does could be useful. Boy, was I wrong!
First, though, I'll say a bit about the hardware: Sexy. I know the faux leather top is just a sort of foamy plastic, but it looks and feels nice. The laptop is slim, sleek, quiet, cool, and fast. It boots up faster than anything I've ever owned, save for Android or iOS tablets. The dual USB ports, micro SD card slot (yes, micro, because so few new electronics are bothering with full-sized SD cards anymore), and HDMI port are all nice additions to round out this sleek laptop experience.
The keyboard is especially nice. I'm a writer, and to me the quality of a keyboard is important in a laptop design. Equally as important is the quality and sensitivity of the trackpad! I've had laptops with good keyboard that were completely spoiled by the fact that the trackpad was overly-sensitive, causing me to accidentally move the cursor around the screen while typing. None of that happens here. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say this is perhaps one of the best-designed trackpads I've used in decades of computing. I like it even better than the trackpads on my old MacBooks, and those were high quality. It's WAY better than the trackpads on more recently-owned systems like the ASUS T100, the Microsoft Surface Type Cover 2, and my last Lenovo laptop. This was, frankly surprising. I did not expect to like the trackpad this much-- Especially since I've never been very fond of trackpads in general.
The screen is sufficient for a system designed for getting some work done. The resolution could be higher, but having an HDMI port built in mitigates that problem if I'm looking to push more pixels.
Speedwise, I'm quite happy. It doesn't lag with multiple tabs open and handles Chrome OS games quite well. Web-based games also seem to be snappy. I doubt most people will feel they're being cheated on speed or graphics performance, considering this is a Chromebook.
Which brings me to my new-found acceptance-- indeed, admiration-- of the Chrome OS. I honestly didn't think I'd like Chrome OS this much, but I've been swayed over from having a "blech!" reaction to having a "I think I'll do that on my Chromebook" reaction. What I mean by that is that the Chromebook is so quick to load, such a pleasure to interact with, that when I need to do some basic work, get online for any reason, or even check out some media, the Chromebook is quickly becoming my go-to device. it's on -instantly- when I open that lid. Chrome remembers all my settings, and Google Drive transfers all my data from my desktop whenever I need it. It functions just like Chrome on my desktop PC, meaning I can go to my work website and not have to worry about missing plugins or not supporting the web protocols (unlike most Android tablets). It's just a pleasurable, easy experience.
Here are some questions I had about Chromebook, along with the answers I learned:
► "Can I run MS Office on it?"
No, but it comes with Google Docs built in, and Google Docs lets you view, edit, and create MS Office documents. It's not as comprehensive as a fully-featured MS Office suite, but most people don't even use 50% of Office's features, and as I've learned, pretty much everything the average user would need is available in Google Docs.
► "Can I watch videos in Chrome OS?"
There's a built-in video player, and you can get others in the Chrome Web Store. You can also view movies and TV shows from every major streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Crackle, CinemaNow, and of course YouTube, DailyMotion, and other sites.
► "Can I view and edit photos?"
Yes! Viewing, of course, is built into the system. Editing can be done with a variety of Chrome apps and extensions, like PicMonkey and Pixlr Editor. Pixlr Editor is very similar to Photoshop.
► "Couldn't I just get a regular Windows/Mac laptop and use the Chrome browser to get the same stuff?"
Yes, you can access most of the apps and sites from Chrome on any system, but the appeal is the speed with which Chrome OS runs, the fact that you don't have all the other OS stuff running in the background, looking for updates, waiting for things to load, etc. It's the same experience, but on a Chromebook it's MUCH faster and easier.
► "If I can't run Windows programs or Android apps, then how do I download an antivirus?"
You don't need to!!! That's another awesome thing about Chrome OS-- It isn't vulnerable to viruses, trojans, worms, and other malware by design. Right out of the box, you're up and running without needing to connect to an antivirus service, pay for a subscription, or deal with background scans or downloads slowing down the system. Chrome OS is secure. You never have to worry about all that stuff. Just get online and get work done.
► "Can I play games?"
Yes. There are plenty of web-based games, and the Chrome Web Store has several games to choose from. Now, you might not have some popular games like Minecraft, but there are still some quality games to play and waste some time. If you're looking for hardcore gaming, you and I both know you're never going to look at a Chromebook as a serious contender, but then, you're also not going to find a super-thin, super-light, super-fast gaming laptop for anywhere near this price.
► "Does it always have to be online?"
No. There are many offline apps available. Head over to the Chrome Web Store and check out the "Offline Apps" collection.
► "What about basic functions?"
Calculators, note-taking, calendars, alarm clocks, translators, banking apps, and all manner of basic applications are available, and they are fast!
Finally, I asked myself how much of my time at my computer is spent online. I was surprised at the answer: "practically all of it". I honestly don't run all that many programs offline these days. Most of my time is spent on the Web, with lots of time spent in email, shopping sites, work websites, entertainment sites, etc.. If you really examine what it is you do with your computer or tablet, you might find the same thing. I'm not even a big fan of social media like Facebook or Twitter, but I know lots of you folks are, and again the Chromebook is going to handle those tasks admirably well.
So who is this thing for? Anyone who needs a fast, light, thin laptop to get online, do some work, watch some videos, play a few games, edit some documents or spreadsheets (Google Docs), edit some photos (Pixlr), edit some videos (WeVideo is pretty cool), do some basic CAD (AutoCAD360), check Facebook, send Tweets, check & send gmail, check & send Outlook mail, video chat, listen to music (Google Music, Prime Music), transfer files between systems (Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive), and even remotely connect to your desktop PC (Chrome Remote Desktop) and work on it from afar.
Who wouldn't benefit from a Chromebook? I guess if you need a laptop that will play the hottest, newest games in 3D, a Chromebook isn't for you. If you need to do super-intense professional video editing on your laptop you'd best go for something Windows, Linux, or OS X based. If you need to run a very specific piece of software on your laptop and can't find the Chrome OS equivalent in the Web Store on on any website, you'll have to go with the system that software was made for.
For everyone else, the Chromebook is the nearly-perfect laptop. It combines insane boot/wake up speed, essential functions, and excellent hardware design into a laptop that handles most functions modern Internet dwellers need.
I would say the Chromebook is especially great for people who aren't all that tech-savvy. They'll never need to sit through a Windows update, a virus scan, or get a BSOD. They'll never have to figure out some ultra-technical way to make the computer do something, because Google really does make almost everything insanely easy and fast. There's just not much to screw up on a Chromebook!
However, I do have ONE minor gripe about the Chrome OS, which is why I'm only giving four stars instead of five in this review. Currently, Chrome OS does not provide an easy way to turn a web page into a desktop or taskbar icon. You can bookmark any page, just like in Chrome, but you cannot drag a URL to the desktop or taskbar and make it into a clickable launch icon without going though some convoluted steps. It CAN be done, but not easily. From what I have read, Google is aware that people want this feature and they're working out how to do it with just a couple clicks. For now, however, you're stuck opening the Chrome browser and clicking the link in your Bookmarks, or finding an official Chrome app/launcher/link that provides one-click access.
This is a minor caveat (and as I said, one that Google is working on) and so it's only costing a star from this review. Have no fear, however, about the hardware involved here. The Chromebook 2 is a fine example of sleek, sexy laptopping (I know. "Laptopping" isn't actually a word. I still like it.) and I'm certain that anyone who gives it a chance will love what they can do with the Chromebook 2.
► Final Verdict: FOUR STARS.
► Recommendation: Unless you're an elitist, professional video editor, hardcore gamer looking for a portable rig, or a Google-hater, you probably want to get one of these to complement your other Windows/Mac/Linux PC, or to stand alone as a simplified way to get online, get work done, and have a little fun. Give it time. You may become a fan.
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
I've been curious about Chromebook for a while, but finally took the plunge and got the Samsung Chromebook 2 after several weeks researching. A bit of gripe: FedEx did a terrible job of delivery, seemed like my Chromebook traveled all around the US before getting to me a full 3 days after Prime expected delivery date. The Samsung Chromebook 2 seems to have it all: powerful processor, more memory (4GB vs. 2GB on other brands) and new design.
I won't go through the technical details or features here; you could read them from the website description.
After using the Chromebook for a couple of days, all I can say is: I SO LOVED IT! The machine is fast, dead silent and does just about 80 percent of all the things I would use a laptop for daily. And I am a Mac and iPhone/iPad app developer guy; I have 2 MacBook Pros and all the I devices. My guess is for 90 percent of computer users, this is all you ever need and more. The machine is beautiful, light and supports everything you need. I currently have a Bluetooth headset and a mouse connected to it. The track pad is wonderful, very responsive to motions and requires almost no force to operate. Keyboard is great, if you are a touch typist you would love this keyboard; very nicely spaced and decent size. I feel like I am on my MacBook because they are so similar in design and operations.
Battery actually lasts as long as Samsung claimed; I have it all with video playing intermittently throughout the day and it has gone for 7 hours with about 15% left. Charging is fast too; It took about an hour to charge the Chromebook from 7% to full.
Worry about availability of apps? I was able to find most of what I want FREE from the Playstore. The Chromebook comes with free Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides that allow you to work on Microsoft Words, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Installing additional apps is a few seconds affair as there was no downloading required. I added a 64GB microSD card to have more space for videos, documents and music. You will need a free Gmail account to used Chromebook; I have 2 different accounts so have 2 different set ups on my Chromebook. This is a very nice feature of Chrome OS: you can log in any Chromebook and have your own set up, or several people can use the same Chromebook, each with different set up.
This Chromebook will travel with me from now on unless I specifically need my Macbook Pro. I used to take my 13" MacBook Pro with me on trip, but no longer. For a regular computer users, this Chromebook could be the only laptop you ever need; unless you are a hard-core gamer, application developer or graphic artist who needs more power and application features for your work. If 90 percent of the time you use a laptop for emails, reading and browsing the internet, this is the perfect laptop for you.
9/22/14 update: I have this Chromebook for almost a week now, and like it even more. Watching a movie on this Chromebook is an awesome experience. The non-glare screen is easy on the eyes, while sharp with excellent color rendintion. Without a headset, sounds is still outstanding. I watch a movie with a scene that the actors were in side a house while it was raining outside, and I keep thinking it was actually raining outside! Chrome OS supports most of the major formats: .avi .mkv, .mp4, .m4v, .mov and more,so that save you time converting your video too. The only problem (personal) is I kept touching the screen, as I am so used to the iPad :-).
9/26/14 update: The Chromebook is acting up today. All of a sudden, I lost the mouse cursor on the track pad. I finally connect with Google Chrome support and a person tried to solve my problem. We spent almost an hour, tried everything from briefly disconnect the battery (Ctrl Alt Shift R) to Power wash (Refresh Power), to no avail. Finally, I was advised to return the Chromebook to Amazon. Just think if this happens after the 14 days return period! Amazon then gracefully agreed to shift me a new machine. Just to see if it works, I connect a USB mouse to the Chromebook and it works!! But I only get the cursor back with a mouse, the track pad remains non-responsive. In fact, I am writing this update on the defective Chromebook.
I liked this Chromebook so much that I ordered the 13" version for myself and promised to give this 11.6" Chromebook to my sister. The latest issue made me paused. I do not want this to happen after 2 months using the machine; it will be a mess to return to the manufacturer for repair. I still like it and will continue to use it; but less happy with it now.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2014
Because Chromebooks are so new and not widely used, invariably a review of this item has to be a review about the Chromebook OS as well as the machine itself. I'll start with the OS.
I have been intrigued by Chromebooks for a while but have been hesitant to try one because of their limitations. Recently I needed to replace my laptop, but did not feel like plunking down a lot of cash for a new one. I have a desktop PC with Windows 7 in good condition for running any special software that I may occasionally need, so I figured that if I ran into things the Chromebook could not handle I could always go back to my desktop for that. As it turns out, I find myself going back to my desktop very rarely. There are two programs -- an accounting program and an image processing program -- that I need to run on the desktop, and both of these I would prefer to use on the desktop anyway for the larger monitor. For everything else the Chromebook not only does it, but does it faster and with less hassle. If I need to send an email, upload some photos, check the news, or make a quick edit to a document, I can complete the task on my Chromebook in the time it would take my PC just to startup and become functional. It starts up so quickly that I don't even think about it -- it is basically like opening a book. The OS, from the user's point of view, is completely an afterthought. You just switch on the machine and start working. And you don't have to mess with anti-virus or anything like that. It is such a worry- and hassle-free device that I can't believe they aren't more popular. For anyone who dislikes doing PC maintenance or finds Windows confusing, this is definitely the system to go for. When I first read reviews of Chrome, some said that if you wanted to experience Chrome, just maximize the Chrome browser in your PC and that was basically what it was like. Not true (at least in the current version). There are a number of apps built into the system (handy stuff like a calculator) and more that you can add on (nearly all for free) from the app store. There is also a file manager for managing external storage devices as well as files stored in the machine's own solid state drive. It is all very intuitive and easy to use. I glanced through the help menus one time just to learn some shortcuts and such, but it was hardly necessary. Once you get connected to the internet you will be off and running. The system is also ideal for users who are using cloud-based apps like Google docs, Evernote, etc. If you are not already using cloud-based apps, using a Chromebook will likely get you hooked on them. You always have access to your files wherever you are, and you don't have to worry about losing because your computer crashed or something.
So clearly I am sold on the OS. How about the machine? I was also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the machine, especially for the price. It is very thin and lightweight, perfect for carrying around. It is something you can slip into a briefcase or bookbag and hardly know it is in there. My previous laptops all look massive in comparison. I have seen some negative comments about the stitched styling of the top -- personally I think the texture looks and feels nice, and the stitching is reasonably subtle and not cheap looking. It is not brushed aluminum or whatever, but you are not paying for brushed aluminum (nor should you in my opinion). This is a machine that looks good and simple, and absolutely gets the job done. The keyboard is pretty solid, although I am used to deeper keys (more like an external keyboard), and I love the simpler layout that the Chrome OS makes possible. Huge track pad and very responsive. I am not enough of a techie to comment on the technical specs really, but I would say that 4 gb ram seems like more than enough to be running a lightweight OS like this. As for speed, as I mentioned above, everything I have done on this is lightning fast, including video streaming (HD) etc. The monitor is about average -- I have no complaints about it except that I agree with some other reviewers that the viewing angle is not great, but for personal use it works well and I have watched lots of videos on it and done lots of reading at generally think it is a solid monitor for the price. Speakers are average / typical for a laptop. I have not clocked the battery runtime but it is off the charts compared to any laptop I have ever owned. I don't even think about the battery, just charge it in if I happen to be near the power cable (sometimes only every couple of days depending on usage). If you are used to a Windows PC I am sure it will be better than the runtime you have now.
In conclusion, this is the laptop I always wished was possible. It is inexpensive, requires no maintenance or software, and it does nearly everything you want very quickly. Even if you are buying it just to use on the go, you will likely find that it quickly becomes your primary machine, even if you do need to go back to your Windows machine from time to time for a special application.