171 of 177 people found the following review helpful
Hassle-free, fast and powerful,
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This review is from: Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook (Wi-Fi) (Personal Computers)
I had an older Chromebook and the new Samsung 550 is much much better. It is fast, simple and surprisingly powerful. As long as you're comfortable with the Google Apps products (great word processor and spreadsheet, adequate presentation editor and capable of reading all Microsoft Office attachments) this is a perfect laptop for casual use. The concept of everything in the cloud works great, and makes it easy to upload, view and share pictures from your camera, do your email and social networking, and do your day-to-day document editing all from one place, then pick it up and continue on a different computer if needed. Google video chat or hangouts are better than Skype, and accommodates video conferencing with multiple parties, so ideal for families. This will save me a ton of time acting as tech support for my parents and sister, because there is so little to know to get this laptop working.
I find it interesting to read reviews about how you can get a more powerful Windows laptop for the same price. To those reviewers: you're missing the point. This laptop has none of the crud that is windows (with its slow boot, patches, updates and virus checkers) and simply works. Of course, if you are into gaming, or want to do video editing you need something bigger - but that is not the target audience for the Chromebook. For casual use (and that encompasses the majority of what most people do on a laptop) the Chromebook is perfect.
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Initial post: Jun 23, 2012 7:06:25 PM PDT
I mostly use my netbook and notebook for browsing via Google Chrome, for documents via Google Dox, and for calling people via Google Voice or Talk. That makes a Chromebook seem very appealing, mostly due to the quality of the Samsung hardware (per reviews the screen is good, a rarity among non-Apple laptops) and especially now that they have moved beyond the slightly underpowered Atom line of processors.
1. I also use Facebook. Is there a Facebook app? If not, is Facebook in the Chrome browser running under Chrome OS "well behaved"? FB in general is pretty funky and seems to work better for me under Windows 7 than ever under Mac OS and especially compared with their iOS and with Android apps.
2. Can I view h.264 videos "off line"? When I don't have an internet connection with my other devices, I can always use my netbook/notebook as a fancy DVD player, playing instructional DVD's I have converted using Handbrake and view using VLC. It would be nice if VLC is available for Chrome OS, but at least hopefully Chrome OS comes with a good video player that won't stutter etc.
3. Do you use the "Google Play" store? I use it for my Google Nexus phone and like it. I assume that's where you get apps, and it senses automatically that you are running Chrome OS and tailors its presentation to Chrome OS apps. Yes?
4. Is there a Skype app? I like Google Voice and Talk better, but I still have money on Skype and there are still times I want to use it.
5. Is there a good off-line music player? What? Can the SD card slot read the new 64 gb SD cards or is it currently limited to 32 gb cards? Since my music collection hovers at or slightly over 32gb, and I would like to place some videos on the card too, being able to use the 64 gb standard would really be helpful. I am willing to reformat the SD card from exFat to NTFS or even a Linux file system if necessary, but in that case my next question is, can I hook up an external hard drive (via the USB) and move files using the Chrome book from the hard drive to my now unconventionally formatted SD card?
6. Can I watch Netflix videos? Do they stutter? Will they run in HD? Can I watch Amazon Video on Demand? Is there a Kindle app? Or can I run Kindle in a browser?
Undoubtedly with a new device and new OS all my questions are not going to be answered with a resounding yes. Do you think the extra security of a Chromebook makes up for this for a traveler? For a home user logging onto bank accounts etc? Is the user data encrypted or encryptable? Is the machine immune from live-booting a Linux distro and going to work on it? Are all passwords encrypted before being shot over wifi on a public network? What about the stream off data that follows, encrypted or not (or does that depend on the router - password protected and encrypted, or not)?
In short, is this device as compatible with common chores and apps, like Windows and Mac, or hair pulling frustrating, as Linux distros seem to be for me?
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