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on November 2, 2012
I'm a student. I need something to carry around that I won't worry about losing, breaking, or someone stealing. I won't bring my Apple laptop to school due to theft increases lately. On that note, I wanted something for web browsing, typing papers in the library egg chairs and had a keyboard/trackpad combo. I found it.

This is not for a poweruser. Don't fool yourselves, people. It's a tablet on steroids. Get that through your head when you purchase and use it. If you have any other expectations like some of the reviewers, well, you're honestly not the target audience. It's meant to be light and cost affordable. Sure, the screen isn't high resolution and it lacks expandable RAM and HD space. That's NOT what this computer is.

I've had the computer for a few days now and I love it. It's not super fast by any means; however, it gets the job done in regards to web browsing, finding papers for literature reviews and listening to rdio or Pandora. That's what I need this for. And most likely the average consumer. Face it, most college students buy $1000 Macbooks to look cool. For what? To facebook, stream music, and browse the web. Most people who do photo editing buy the 15" models with maxed out specs (like me). I don't want to bring that to campus. That's too much money to be slinging in my bag to just browse the web.

So, let me be clear. This laptop is excellent. The build quality is amazing for the price. Build quality is great of which I was surprised. The keyboard reminds me of the Macbook and the track-pad keeps up with my fast paced motions quite well. It's light and I can have four to five tabs open running different processes at ease. It does like to stutter when I do multiple things with a video running though. Expected for a tablet processor though. It keeps cool and charged for a days use. The front camera is great for chatting.

I will admit, this little computer will replace your daily use computer you lug around currently. I used the Chrome Remote Desktop today on campus and was amazed at the speed and ease. I was using my Macbook at home on campus without any hiccups like I experience with Logmein or those other clients. Accessing the 100GB of free storage was as simple as clicking a link. My music, documents and life are on the cloud. I can access them with ease. Printing is no problem for me, either.

This little beast will surprise you. Although, please, don't expect the world from this laptop. It's $250, folks.

P.S. I typed this from the Chromebook. No problems handling my typing speed. And ask questions if you need them answered.

UPDATE 11/24:

I've been using this for a good while now and I haven't had any regrets. The computer does what I need, when I want and I only miss running Netflix at school. That's ok though, I have other avenues for watching movies. They do plan on updating and that's a problem with Netflix, not Google. Printing is simple as it seems to be a very common question. To clicks on your computer and you're done. They have been updating the OS and the Chromebook is acting a little better now. Overall, I'm still loving it. Just remember, it's NOT for everyone.

UPDATE 02/06/13:

I love this computer. It is all I use around campus and for class lectures. I barely use Microsoft Office for my notes or spreadsheets in class. Google Drive and their office version is just awesome. If you do a lot of team-based activities, please, just use Google Drive. Keep your documents available to you at all times and collaboration is simple. It has made my life much easier. Just thought I'd let you all know.

UPDATE 04/11/13:

Netflix now works!

UPDATE 07/10/13:

Now that the school season is upon us, I thought I would go ahead and write an update of my handy-dandy little Chromebook. Let's just say, it's still alive and working. Drops, falls, and tosses across the couch and slides across the table this little tabcom is doing well. Software wise, Google has been working at it and getting all the bugs out of the system to provide an even more fluid experience. I love having the ability to use Google Print from ANYWHERE I am and have it waiting for me when I need it. Everything syncs up across platforms and this has really come in hand during projects. Just try the Google Docs as a team compared to Word with Review and you won't go back when doing initial collaboration. Battery is still holding up to 8-10 hours (I know, right)- that's with smart use of the brightness. I honestly don't know what else to say. It works and is the perfect complement for my Macbook that is collecting dust at home. The Macbook is used via my Google Remote Connection and it's just wonderful. No lag or anything like I've had with LogMeIn and the other one. And like always, ask questions if you have them. And I almost forgot to add that Spotify works in the browser just as well as the PC version. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon streaming does work contrary to the other review posted saying the opposite. Cheers!

FINAL UPDATE:

The Chromebook is an excellent computer for those looking for something light. It won't do everything a full laptop will do and there are privacy concerns of the all-mighty Google. The question to ask yourself though is if you are really secure online? You can get a better laptop as some commentators have stated and that is very true. You can get a nice, heavy computer to carry around and worry about. This Chromebook offers you peace of mind that you can throw it around and not worry about it being stolen (as long as you have a good password on your Google account). It works for me and I'm sure it works for the MAJORITY of others. I've had it for nearly a year and it is only getting faster, not slower. I hope you will take the time to see if it works for you. If not, we live in a world full of other gadgets and tools to fit our lives. I will be removing myself from the comments as there has been a strong output of support from other owners. Live long and prosper!
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on November 21, 2012
First off, I am an admitted IT Geek. I have a computer science degree and have spent my entire career working in IT on everything from mainframes to wearable computers. I really know computers inside and out. I want to provide some perspective about the Chromebook by a person who spends 10-12 hours on some type of computing device every day.

So why would I ever buy a device like this? Well, I ordered the Chromebook to evaluate it for my parents. They are not tech savvy at all. They have a Kindle Fire and an iPad, but when they do write e-mails and want to do other tasks, the pads are just not enough. They are computer users and media consumption people. What I found out during my work with the Chromebook is that it is the right computer for me too. Now, off to the review...

First off the Google Chromebook is computer unlike anything coming from the minds of Apple or Microsoft. Something on the surface that an IT Geek like me probably wouldn't like. It doesn't have a full-blown operating system like OSX nor is it a mobile platform like Android. It is something in between, it is ChromeOS. It is very fast, very reliable, and is perfect for doing your everyday tasks. If you mostly read e-mail, write notes, run spreadsheets, develop presentations, chat, Facebook, and surf, you should read on.

The Samsung Chromebook is very sleek, thin, and light. It is somewhat similar in form to a Macbook Air, but it's also close to a number of the new Ultrabooks. The feel in hand is very solid and doesn't seem like a $249 computer. The keyboard is very good; very solid feel and great action. If you type quickly (100+ wpm), you'll be happy to know this keyboard can keep up with you. The only better keyboard I've used in recent memory is the Air, but it's not far off.

When you open the box and lift the lid it automatically starts up in under 10 seconds. This is not coming up from sleep mode. That's its boot time from a cold start. The setup process is as painless as it can be. Attach it to your wireless network and if you have a gmail account, just login and you are done. I up and reading e-mail in my account in less than 5 minutes. The last out of the box Windows experience took nearly an hour before I was through all of the setup questions, patches, and add-ons.

Now that you are logged in, the simplicity of the system reveals itself. Effectively the entire Chromebook is a dedicated Chrome browser. Almost everything you do is in a Chrome browser window. There are applications included and that can be installed, but they all run inside of the Chrome framework. It is a new way to think about computing. And boy is it fast.

About the speed: Wow is the best way to describe it. I dare you to find a browser that is as responsive as the Chrome broswer on ChromeOS. All running on a tiny little ARM processor. This tiny little ARM processor is what gives the Chromebook its 7+ hour run time on a single charge. In practice a lot of this depends on what you are doing. If you want to stream 7 hours of YouTube videos, you're probably going to be disappointed, but for practical all-day off the charger use, I'm seeing that performance easily. It also charges like lightening, so if you throw it on the charger for an hour at lunch, you won't need to worry about it into the evening.

Back to why I am keeping the Samsung Chromebook. The device does what I need to do 95% of the time during my work day and 99% for the rest of my life. All of this in a very sleek, inexpensive, and portable package. I still have my work computer, a Lenovo i7 based monster, but it is huge, heavy, and doesn't have nearly the battery life or portability of the Chromebook. I now leave that laptop in the docking station on my desk and carry around the Chromebook and that is the computer I take home. I suppose if I was still spending the majority of my time writing C# I would need a different tool, but the Chromebook is the right tool for me.

Pros and Cons?

This introduces an interesting point of view. What can we really compare the Chromebook to? There is nothing else that is in it's class, so I guess I'll focus primarily on functionality.

Pros:
-Inexpensive (I didn't say cheap)
-Light
-Fast
-All Google-Centric (this can also be a Con)
-Very simple to setup and use
-Long battery life
-Good build quality
-Good keyboard
-Good library of add-on applications (yes, another app store)
-Everything for one price (Hardware, Operating System, Storage, Office Applications)

Cons:
-Not a full-blown operating system
-Doesn't run Mac, iOS, Windows, or Android applications...none of them, it can't
-All Google-Centric (this can also be a Pro)
-Some apps you know and love aren't available yet, maybe never (Netflix is one)
-Not as mainstream as either full-blown computer platforms or mobile platforms

I gave the Samsung Chromebook 4 stars because it's really good, but not perfect. Bottom line, this is a new device that lives somewhere between tablets and full-blown traditional computers. It is a great consumption device with a full keyboard for doing some serious work (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, e-mail, and web-based applications). I recommend that you give it a shot, I think you'll really like it.
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on October 24, 2012
***Updates To My Review At The End***

My background: I'm a gadget geek but I'm not super devoted to any platform. I do love Google's web products but never used their hardware. My laptop is a 13" MacBook Pro and my desktop is a Mac Mini that runs both OS X and Windows 7 (I spend more time on Win 7 these days). I have an iPad (3rd gen) and Motorola Droid Razr Maxx along with a docking station. My wife has a Win 7 ultrabook, Kindle Fire HD and Razr Maxx, all of which I purchased for her.

I'm an editor for a web-based publication so my usage is primarily writing and some light (very light) image editing. I've done most of my writing on Google Docs for a long time because it automatically saves and I hate writing directly into the CMS. We also use Google Apps Business for e-mail, calendaring and doc sharing so that rocks.

The last thing I need is another computer but Chromebook called to me. A couple of reasons:

- The docking solution wasn't great. The keyboard was crap, my phone got unusually hot and interacting with the CMS was hit and miss with the phone OS. It was good for e-mails.
- An iPad with a keyboard is garbage. I've tried it and hit the same issues. It is just clumsy for my primary work. I still travel with an iPad because it is light and its battery is a rockstar and can do in a pinch.
- The laptop is fine but it is a beast to carry. I just got back from a week-long jaunt to three conferences and I think my shoulder is broken from my shoulder bag.
- I love my phone and tethering has been a lifesaver. No complaints.
Okay, enough background. Now to the actual review.

Unboxing wasn't particularly impressive but I don't really care. Standard laptop box with the laptop, an AC adapter and Chrome sticker. I plugged it in and it was at about 75%. Now about an hour later, it is nearly charged.

When I pulled it out of the box, it almost felt like a laptop that didn't have a battery in it (remember that?). Anyway, it feels solid closed up. I don't have any problem throwing this in my engineer's bag and feeling like it will get screwed up. The AC adapter is your standard black box with two cords.

I opened up the lid and it started immediately. It asked me to connect to my wifi connection and then proceeded to download the latest update of the operating system (version 23 according to the info in Chrome). After a quick reboot, I put in my Google credentials and it loaded everything I use in my Chrome browser normally, including my apps and bookmarks.

Opened up, the build quality showed a few weaknesses but nothing major. There's a little give on the keyboard and palm rest. I didn't feel any problems holding the laptop from its corner. It feels very solid overall. The thing to remember, of course, is that I came from a unibody MacBook Pro so take that for what it is worth.

The keyboard blew my expectations away. I figured it would be fairly cramped and that my typing speed would suffer. I figured the action wouldn't be very good either. But, coming from a MacBook Pro chiclet keyboard to this was a cinch. I feel very little difference in typing speed or accuracy. This was really a big deal for me. I tried the HP Mini a few years ago and it was awful. A few millimeter difference is it.

The trackpad is very good though not as top notch of a comparison as the keyboard. It is very Mac-like in using it. The two finger swipe gestures, right-clicking, dragging, etc... it all operated like I expected. I'm a tapper, not a clicker so that may have something to do with it. It doesn't seem like it is quite as accurate or response as the MacBook Pro but still very good.

The screen isn't great but it isn't a dealbreaker. For text, it performs adequately but not spectacularly. For video, it is quite adequate, maybe above average but again, not fantastic. The screen brightness isn't what it could be, I feel like it is a tick or two off what should be standard brightness. But, I am also used to glossy screens and even with the brightness, the matte screen seems to do okay. I work right next to south-facing windows and even though we have no sun here in Seattle, it gets fairly bright and it seems good in these conditions. The viewing angles aren't going to impress anyone but it works for me.

The speakers seem to be pretty good and loud enough. They are optimal for use on a desk rather than a lap though as the sound gets muffled a bit by clothing. I put on Pandora One and the sound through my nice $100 studio headphones sounds pretty good with the top volume topping out just right. Using my Apple headphone/mic combo, it worked well in a hangout. One thing is that the headphone jack seems very tight.

I hit my first snag when I tried to do HDMI out. It didn't seem to work. Then I read a bit more and got it to work with the Ctrl+Full Screen and that seemed to do it. Depending on your monitor, your results may vary. It actually looked great on my LCD TV (including sound) but the resolution needs to be adjusted. It didn't look good (ironically) on my Samsung 21 inch monitor. There might be some settings I'm missing on either side but it's not a huge deal. Testing the video on the 1920x1080 HDTV, it worked great other than the overscanning.

The camera is something that Monet would appreciate. You'll get the gist of it but this is no HD cam. It is good for basic pictures and compares unfavorably to the front-facing camera on my Droid Razr Maxx.

After an hour of use off the charger, the heat situation is non-existent. This thing is creepily quiet and cool to the touch except for a few warmer spots. I will end up watching a movie to see how it reacts but that would be a nice change. Even my iPad gets warmer.

I had no opportunity to try out the bluetooth or the SD card reader. I will be getting a 32 GB SD card. I did try out a USB drive and it seems to be working just fine.

Getting into the software and how it drives on the ARM processor, I was pretty impressed. I opened about 18 tabs (which is well beyond my max, typically) and I had Pandora running in the background the entire time and didn't get a stutter. At times, the load was sluggish but again, I am switching between this and a MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a dual-core i5. But I really expected this to be flawless when using the web. As long as you don't go crazy with tabs or the apps you are driving in them, you should be good.

Watching videos, outside of the screen quality, was really quite smooth. From someone who bought the original Kindle Fire and saw it stumble with streaming video for just $50 less, I was super-impressed. I don't know if power-users will love it but it works with my slightly-lowered expectations.

That being said, this is a web enabled device and there are a few (very few) apps that I use regularly.

My stand-alone apps that I use regularly is chat (Google and AIM) and Tweetdeck. Both Tweetdeck and imo seem to work pretty good in a browser. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

I also know that Skype doesn't work great right now. I am using it through imo but, at least as far as I can tell, I can't make dial-out calls like the Skype app allows on all of my other devices. This, including no support for a USB headset, would make it tough to make this a full-time replacement. I live on Skype as a dial-out provider (Google dial-out will not allow me to use certain conference call providers plus Skype is great for connecting with people worldwide with ease). I'm hoping a promised webapp version is coming soon. On the plus side, Skype works great on my cell and iPad.

I turned off the wifi connection and it worked liked it should. You need to turn on offline mode in Gmail and Google Drive in order for it to work but after that, it worked like it always has. Games that I had loaded for offline mode worked. Offline, this is a pretty limited machine but not unduly so.

Chrome remote desktop worked particularly well. Granted, I was using it on the same network but there was no lag on the software side of using it. I was, again, thoroughly impressed with the graphics. Though, one thing would be to allow me to select which screen I view when I am using a dual-display.

I'm looking forward to Netflix capability but that's not ultra-critical right now for me. Amazon Instant works well for me, as does Hulu.

I'm taking only this when I go on an extended trip this weekend so I can update more on real battery life and any other real-world experiences of using it later.

Overall, this is what I expected and I am pretty happy with the purchase, especially as one of my first sight-unseen types of purchase. For my uses as a primary road writing device for blog posts and e-mails, this is a solid, solid play. And for $250, it's pretty unbelievable. All of this typed into the new Chromebook as well at my normal rate.

== UPDATE 10/28/2012 ==

Just took this thing on a weekend away without bringing my laptop. This is a big deal as even if I took my iPad, I would normally take my laptop as well. A couple of additional thoughts from 72 hours as my primary computer.

I did end up getting a SD Card (a 32 GB one from Amazon) and putting it in the SD card slot. Unfortunately, it sticks out from the side pretty well (about a centimeter looking straight down on it). I loaded it with a few movies and some music so I would have some tunes and movies for offline. The player works fine but is very basic. Other than wishing the SD card would seat all the way in, it is a good setup for leisurely watching movies solo.

I also did some extended work while my wife was driving. I typed two articles and I can't emphasize enough how good of quality this keyboard is. Even working it off of my lap, it performed beyond its price point.

I typed those articles offline and using Google Docs offline worked as expected. When I reconnected, my documents synced up no problem. This worked exactly like it had on my MacBook Pro whenever I took it on a flight without wifi so no surprises there.

Under normal use, the battery is probably going to be right there in the 6.5 hour range. Google could have pushed this spec. Working offline with the screen brightness at 50%, I was able to squeeze a little over 2 hours into 25% of battery life.

Speaking of brightness, the ambient light sensor works pretty well. Maybe a little too good in the car as it would dim slightly as we went under overpasses on the freeway.

The other thing I wanted to do is try out the some games. I played Angry Birds because I could compare it across all devices and the Chromebook is definitely lagging in performance. It was just a step behind and could be a bit choppy. I also tried the most popular game Entanglement and it seemed to perform well though it is simple. I also did a fantasy basketball draft on Yahoo sports and it was also a step behind.

I'll also mention that the first time I loaded up Entanglement was the first time the Chromebook crashed on me. I don't imagine it will happen that often but the nice thing is that it recovered everything I had up in about 20 seconds. Also, it is the first time I noticed heat of any kind coming from the laptop at all. Not unusually hot but it will warm up some when going graphics and CPU intensive.

In any case, I stand by my 4 star review. Even with some minor performance issues and a few smaller issues with quality, this is still an excellent purchase. An improved screen and battery life would make it easier to look past the sometimes-lagging performance. I won't be getting rid of my MacBook Pro but I am looking forward to taking this thing on the road and getting a good chunk of the functionality without the weight.

== UPDATE 11/20/2012 ==

After about a month more with regular usage, a couple more notes.

After awhile, the Chromebook does warm up but not significantly. Again, I'm comparing this to other laptops. And really, you shouldn't be using a laptop on your lap anyway but some situations require it.

Closing the screen instantly puts it to sleep but I definitely have found that you can't keep just putting this thing to sleep time after time and not expect any lag. Eventually, something I loaded would make the Chromebook freeze and I'd have to restart. I've learned to simply shut this computer down rather than close the lid and let it sleep. With near instant boot time, it's not a big deal but that's definitely a change.

The keyboard on this thing is still a rockstar. Using it in poorly lit situations make me long for a bit of backlighting but I am really a touch typer at this point so it only slows me down when I am realigning my hands.

No degradation in performance. I've watched probably 6-7 ripped movies on this thing with no problems and no internet connection. Looking forward to taking this to my in-laws for Thanksgiving instead of my MacBook Pro.

== UPDATE 03/09/2013 ==

I haven't updated in awhile so I thought I would. I still use the Chromebook on a regular basis and thanks to the regular updates to the system, this version of the Chromebook now has swap enabled (at least in the beta channel). For those unfamiliar, previously when the Chromebook would run out of physical RAM, it would just start dumping inactive tabs (so it would require a refresh). It would, at times, get a bit laggy with too many tabs open.

With swap enabled, once you hit the top of your RAM usage, it starts using the hard drive as RAM. This means limited to no inactive tabs being dumped (I haven't seen one yet) and overall, faster usage under heavy workloads (10+ tabs).

In short, this computer has actually gotten faster and better since my last update.

A couple of issues still exist. Netflix still doesn't work. I've contacted Netflix and they say they are working on it. They've been saying the same for months though. Every other streaming service works (including Amazon Prime, Hulu and Comcast's streaming). If Netflix is a must and you don't have an alternative device (I use an iPad mini for it if I really need it), I wouldn't bet on this coming through anymore.

I would like to see more gestures using the trackpad as well, The two finger scrolling is nice but the three finger nav (especially for back) helps a lot. I can use the keyboard back button too, yes. But switching between using a Mac and the Chromebook makes it especially unnatural. More gestures!

There is a little bit of wear on the palm rests and some dings but nothing major as of yet. This thing still is great for writing (which is my primary use for it). It is so great and lightweight so it is easy to throw in a small bag for a day trip.

Overall, still very happy and it is even better with the speed and stability improvements with swap enabled.

== UPDATE 03/11/2013 ==

Just a quick update since I just updated but Netflix now works. I've tried it and it has been confirmed by many other users. Again, this has been a big ding against both Netflix and Google for not figuring this out but now it is working.
5150+ comments| 8,603 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on September 17, 2015
Bought this almost 3 years ago and it still works! (Purchased: November 27, 2012.)
The only major issue I have had so far was the screen going out. However, that turned out to be an extremely simple fix. The cord that connects the monitor to the actual computer was coming unhooked. However 3 years of opening and closing this laptop daily will most likely cause issues with any laptop. All I had to do was carefully take off the frame around the computer screen. Unscrew 12 screws and gently plug the cord back into the monitor. Now it is working just like the first day I opened it back in 2012. It is currently 2015 and this has been my daily computer since I got it. I would definitely buy another.

Pros: Great for browsing the web. Google offers a lot of features to do school work online (Microsoft office alternatives.) However, I believe Microsoft Office now has browser versions of their applications. Fantastic light-weight laptop that works for browsing the web. Decent battery life, but after 3 years it has lost some of the original battery duration. I think it was originally 6 hours and now I get 3 - 4 hours.

Cons: I do experience lag often, videos can sometimes be skippy, has gotten slower with age & numerous updates. I powerwash mine once a month to keep it running smoothly as I notice lag when the on board memory begins to get filled up.

It is a "cloud" computer. The storage memory is 16gb, but only 11gb is usable since the OS needs space on the storage as well. If you just need a small, inexpensive laptop to browse amazon, reddit, google, youtube, listen to music, etc. I recommend this. Would I suggest buying this model specifically? Probably not in 2015 as there are plenty of different chromebooks that have been released in the past 3 years. Most of them have better specs and are either cheaper or the same price as this one. Go for a newer model. However, this is a fantastic laptop and if it ever drops to $99 I will definitely buy another 2012 model.
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on February 21, 2015
Overall I love this computer. The person who sold it to me was wonderful (some issues with delivery that he was very helpful with). The computer itself is lightweight, fairly indestructable given the plasticness of it all.
My big complaint about chrome is the assumption that one will always have access to the internet. There is minimal room for storage of data on the computer, and I've had trouble manipulating data that I have stored on a travel drive. I live in a part of the country that has spotty internet (Maine), and frequently find myself without access to anything that I need. Would love to be able to download and work on documents. I'm not great at hacking solutions, so need a computer that gives them to me easily, and this is not that computer. It also does not adapt well to standard programs such as word. Chrome is its own universe. I'm not a computer nerd, so probably should have picked up a computer that was a bit more adaptable. Having said that, it does most of what I need it to do, it was incredibly inexpensive, and the manufacturer was up front about the limitations (which google would not see as limitations). And, I'm writing this 3 years after buying the computer, with no signs of computer death on the horizon.
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on December 13, 2013
Really enjoying this device. Worth the extra cost for the extended battery life. Recharges quickly, boots quickly, connects and loads internet fast, does everything fast! Set up is a breeze, its just your google account for the user log in. Easy to have multiple users on same device.

You can't install normal programs, only Google Chrome apps. This was excellent for just internet, email, and your basic office programs.

Some plugins can't work on Chromebook - like Silverlight (there's a special chromebook app to run Netflix just because of this) because you can't download and install them. However, there is a ton of support for Chrome browser, so I've hardly missed any of them.

Things I didn't like:

- Trackpad gestures are different and takes some getting used to. I still forget the gestures it teaches you when you first use it. Otherwise, is a very responsive multi-touch trackpad with a good texture feel.

- No capslock button. Seriously bugs me, I use CAPs a lot for certain documents. Instead there's a button there that launches a search function? Ugggggnh I hate it.

- Chiclet keyboard with odd/uncomfortable spacing on an already small device. Touch typers if you're like me, this keyboard is going to drive you nuts. Hunt-and-peck folks, you'll be just fine.

In all, would be a great device for a student, a casual internet user, someone who wants a lightweight and fast device, and I'd also recommend it for introducing a new person to computers and the internet because its a simple interface with nothing to mess up.
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on April 1, 2016
I've had this Chromebook for almost 3 years. I must say that at this point in time, I would go with one of the newer model Chromebooks. Still, this Chromebook has held up incredibly well. Many new Chromebooks are still released with 2gb of ram and the same screen resolution as this Chromebook. The battery life in this one is not as impressive as some of the other models either, but I hit 5 or more hours regularly with it.

It is a little slow. Some heavy sites like Drive, and Gizmodo can bog the thing down. Multitasking is also kind of hit or miss. But, for the time it was released it was great, and is still holding up well today. It still gets regular Chrome OS updates. It seems just as snappy as the day I bought it.

The one thing that can really bog this Chromebook down is extensions. I would recommend only having 2 or 3 extensions enabled at a time. If you are unsure if extensions are affecting your performance, just log out and log into guest mode and see if pages load faster. I was surprised by how much extensions can affect performance.

This laptop can be found relatively cheap secondhand, and would make a decent gift as a travel companion or a simple first computer. You don't have to worry about viruses, and it is extremely lightweight. I think The 11.6 inch size is perfect for portability. It's got a great sized keyboard, fits comfortably on the lap, and the screen is large enough to see things clearly. If you dip down into the 10 inch range, keyboards become cramped and those laptops are hard to actually fit on your lap unless you squeeze your legs together tightly.
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VINE VOICEon March 25, 2014
I purchased this in January 2013. It was my first venture into the curiosity that was Chrome OS. At the time, it was the first successful Chromebook laptop. Now (March 2014), there are more competing solid options out there (and more will come out), so if you are trying to decide, price becomes a bigger factor now.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it, especially compared to sub-$500 Windows laptops. Now let me preface that by saying that I am using this as a secondary and special-purpose computer, not as a primary computer. Having solid state storage (like tablets and smartphones) is great. I do not have to worry about ruining the hard disk while moving around with it. Other things equal, solid state is faster than a hard disk. This is especially important with budget hardware. There is something to be said about not having to hear Windows churning on a slow-spinning hard disk while a computer. On the other hand, if you like to store a lot of media and content locally, 16GB is not a lot. There is an SD memory card slot and two USB ports (one 3.0, one 2.0) and other options and hacks, so you have some flexibility, but obviously it's nowhere near the 320GB or 500GB of most sub-$500 Windows laptops. So that's one decision point right here. If you need a lot of local storage...

If this is your first Chrome OS computer, there is one thing that might be jarring at first: there is no CAPS LOCK button. Google replaced that with a Search button. The CAPS LOCK on/off function is achieved by pressing the ALT and SEARCH buttons together. A CAPS LOCK arrow in the tray at the bottom right corner of the screen signals that CAPS LOCK is ON. There is no keyboard light for caps lock.

The keyboard is very serviceable. I have no complaints typing or touch typing with it, especially considering the price range. Likewise with the touchpad. The screen is serviceable as well, given the price range and it is the good old 1366 x 768 resolution found in many Windows laptops, still to this day. This is not a touchscreen. It is perhaps not ideal for watching a lot of video, but again, this is not a premium laptop or a premium tablet.

Being a 11.6 inch size type of a laptop, there is obviously no numeric keypad and the assorted buttons. However, it has smaller serviceable 4-way arrow keys at the bottom right side of the keyboard. Not as nice as a full-size keyboard for sure but they are serviceable.

Because it is fairly small and lightweight, depending on your preferences, you can sort of use it while walking around, cradling it diagonally with the inside of your right side elbow holding the front right side and your palm holding the back left side. Or the other way round with your left hand. A touchscreen would make this holding style more useful, but because it's small and lightweight enough, I still like using it this way.

This is best suited for internet-based tasks. Checking emails, browsing the web, doing quick lookups or small online tasks, social media, shopping and window shopping, checking news and sports and stocks, and the like. A great use for this is a second screen while watching TV.

Battery life is pretty good. You can play with the Sleep and Wakeup (or not) options to see what works best for you. Often I just have it turn off the screen when I close the lid, so when I quickly need to do something, it only takes single-digit seconds before it's ready to go. This obviously eats up more battery, but it is a more elegant solution than having a desktop running non-stop day and night in case you may need it.

This may also be a good idea if you have visitors or overnight guests, especially if you don't want them using your personal or work computers. Just hand them this or put it in the guest room. They can use it in Guest mode (it's like an internet kiosk mode, it wipes all the data once the guest logs out) or if they prefer, you can add their Google account to it, and they can login with their Google account and have all their google services ready.

The ability to have multiple Google accounts added to the device and login to them is also handy if you regularly have multiple people using it (kids, roommates, relatives, friends) who want to keep their usage separate and not accidentally walk over another person's data or accidentally send emails from others' accounts. Or if you have multiple Google accounts of your own (personal, work, hobby, etc).

Performance wise, this is better than its specs suggest - if you consider the equivalent specs running Windows. Chrome OS (at least for now) is a lot more lightweight than Windows. However, if you start opening multiple websites, it can start slowing down, especially if you are visiting some of the bloated websites running all kinds of performance-sapping widgets.

In terms of apps, it has nowhere near the number of apps traditional/classic Windows has and nowhere near as many as iOS or Android. However, there is a Chrome Web Store that is slowly but steadily adding more apps offering some more flexibility. Still this does not (yet) come anywhere near the selection (and compatibility) you get with Windows, convoluted as it may be.

The biggest downside I can think of is that you are living in a Google-centric bubble. You can use it in Guest mode, however, Guest Mode is like an internet kiosk, the moment you log out, everything is gone. No saved passwords, no bookmarks, no downloads, no Chrome apps, no history. So to make the most of it you have to use it logged in with a Google account. Some people have privacy concerns with Google having access to so much of one's data stream. So this is another decision point.

Because the browser is essentially the operating system, Chrome is the only browser you can use. You can customize and tweak, but can't install other browsers like you can on Windows or Android or iOS or Linux.

Overall, this is a great value as a secondary computer, especially for web and cloud type of work.
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on August 20, 2013
My Chromebook came in the mail a few days ago, and I've been using it pretty much the entire time since. First of all, when I first took it out of the box and booted it up for the first time, it was really buggy, the touchpad was wonky, things loaded very slowly, and it was just really bad. However after I shut it down and rebooted it (all of which took only 15 seconds by the way, which is fantastic), I was told that Chrome was now downloading a "critical update." After this, things have just been amazing. This really is a testament to how far and fast Chrome has and can improve. Plus, there's an update for Chrome every ~6 weeks which just makes things absolutely amazing.

KEYBOARD: in a word, amazing. The island- style chiclet keys have great travel and feedback, are extremely comfortable and easy to type on, and within the first 30 minutes of using the Chromebook I was typing error free and at my usual speed. The keyboard is probably one of the best features of this laptop. There's also function keys up top that control brightness, volume, and various other things, which is really handy.

TRACKPAD: I love this. It feels great and works just like the trackpad on higher-end machines. Two-finger scrolling works great, and while there is the occasional hiccup where it doesn't register the second finger, it's a very minor thing and doesn't happen often. There's also three/four finger gestures that allow you to navigate between different tabs if you swipe left/right on the trackpad with three/four fingers. And as expected, there's tap-to-click as well as standard press-trackpad-to-click. My only wish is that Google/Samsung would add pinch-to-zoom gesture on the trackpad.

BATTERY: in addition to the keyboard, this is one of the shining features of the Chromebook. As a test, I used it today from 12:45 PM nonstop until 6:10 PM, browsing, reading, and watching tv shows. I bet if I didn't stream any video it could've lasted even longer. There's no question whether or not this will last a full day of work/school- it definitely will. And if you're working offline, maybe on the train or on the bus, it'll probably last even longer. The battery is wonderful- one of the reasons why I chose the Samsung Chromebook over the Acer C7 version, which has an estimated battery life of only 3 hours.

SCREEN: very standard. It definitely is usable, sure, but it's not going to blow your socks off with colors, resolution, or anything like that. It gets the job done, and the matte finish helps it with glare, but the brightness has to be set at about 75-80% brightness to view comfortably.

CHROME OS: a mixed bag. If you're comfortable with Chrome already and already use Google's vast suite of online products (i.e Gmail, Youtube, Maps, Drive, Search, Translate etc) you'll have no problem with it. However, if you depend on desktop programs such as Photoshop, CAD, offline MS Office (there's SkyDrive which is basically MS's online word processing program- sort of like what Google's Drive does), you'll either have to find basic replacements from the Chrome Web Store, or simply make do without them. Not only that, once you're offline your Chromebook's functionality is severely limited. You can still edit and create documents and such on (offline enabled) Drive, and view and compose new emails on the Offline Gmail app, and some other things if you find the right app for it, but mostly, there isn't much you can do once you're out of range of a WiFi hotspot. If you plan on using this at home 24/7 however, this shouldn't be a problem.

BUILD QUALITY: not very good. While the plastic is solid and feels sturdy enough, it's very easily scratched, so it's best to purchase a sleeve or case of some sort to keep it safe whenever you're not using it. In fact, it's so easily scratched, I've already found three or four scuffs and scratches on the top and bottom even though I've literally carried it around on a pillow, and used it on top of the foam that came in the packaging. Very unpleasant. But for the price, I guess that's a tradeoff you'll have to live with.

WRAPUP: I'm very pleased with this. It works like I expected, has great battery life and keyboard quality, and although the screen isn't that good, and the build quality is less than stellar, they're two things I'll just have to live with. Just know what you're buying, folks. This isn't an ultrabook nor is it even a standard laptop. It's a Chromebook, and if you buy this expecting to GET a Chromebook, you'll be quite happy. Don't buy this expecting the same functionality of a full-blown Windows or OSX machine, because you will be disappointed. For it's purpose, it's a great device.

However, I have recently come across some complaints online about the screen spontaneously breaking on its own without even being touched or dropped or damaged in the least. I have no idea what might cause this, and my Chromebook seems to have no problem so far, but I really hope those are isolated occurrences.
I'll update this review as time passes if anything comes up, or if my views change, but until then feel free to leave any questions you guys might have. I'll try to help the best I can!

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UPDATE 1:
I recently bought a case for my Chromebook- it's called the iPearl mCover case. It's a snap-on plastic shell for the top and bottom, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to protect their Chromebook. This laptop on its own feels very thin and flimsy, but now it's much more solid with the case on it. I've also written a review on the case on the product listing here: iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case for 11.6" Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi or 3G) laptop - CLEAR (and for anyone wondering, I am not advertising for this company. This is my honest experience with their product).

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UPDATE 2:
After using the Chromebook for multiple months, I can safely say that this is a great computer who does the majority of their work online. The battery life continues to be great, with 5-6 hours of continuous use (or about 3 when streaming video). One complaint I have is how the Chromebook ships with a proprietary charger (micro-USB port like the HP Chromebook 11 would have been far more handy and convenient). The keyboard keys and trackpad feel as responsive and clicky as ever as well, and everything in general has been great even after extended use. I have not experienced the 'spontaneous screen crack' that other people have been victims of, for which I am very glad. It seems those issues really are only limited to earlier models, and that the build quality issues have been ironed out.
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on April 29, 2013
I've owned this little guy for about a month now, and have to say I'm quite impressed. After shopping around a bit, I found that this was by far the best deal - I was taking a class and needed something portable that could browse the internet and upload photos, and I didn't want to spend a buttload. That was all. So I went ahead and bought this Chromebook and started by giving it the true test of strength by taking it on a plane.

First, it's sturdy. Quite sturdy. Not only does the construction feel solid when you hold it, but it held up to a few TSA manhandling sessions as I trekked across the country with it. The front did get a bit scruffed up, but it's only minor surface damage, and that's what I get for not having a case and having everything grinding against everything else in my bag. I carried this thing in my messenger bag during the mile long walk to and from class daily, and all was well.

Second, it boots in something like five seconds. Then you log in. And there's no waiting. No slow parsing of the various background programs, no loading, nothing - you're in. I generally use Linux at home, and this is the fastest load I've ever seen. Also, all of your Google everything is synched - e-mail, drive, blogger, etc., even bookmarks if you're a Chrome user by default. So you already have everything at your fingertips right after booting this little guy for the first time.

Third, I was taking photos in class everyday, and while there is no app for processing RAW/NEF photos (yet) the default image editor was fine when I shot in JPEG. Sure, it's no Photoshop, but for quick and simple adjustments it worked just fine. Not like I needed level editing or anything crazy. And the display is high quality enough to easily and clearly view my photos in all of their glory. I would upload everything to Drive afterwards and call it a day, and would only briefly store a few images here and there on the hard drive when I needed to (the hard drive is little. It's not meat for a lot of storage, which was fine by me). So far so good, and no problems at all.

Now, here's where I have to knock a star. Google, as it turns out, does not support Java, as they're heading in the direction of HTML 5. This is fine, but as it turned out there was a site for class that I needed to access that required a Java based application. In order to access it, I had to - and I can't stress this enough DO NOT DO THIS. UNLESS YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. DON'T DO IT. NOT WORTH IT YOU CAN BREAK EVERYHING - set my Chromebook into dev mode (DON'T DO THIS) in order to get Java working. I did, and all was good. However, in dev mode, each time you boot you are asked whether you want to return to normal mode. In a stupid haze, I accidentally hit yes, not realizing that to do this you need a pre made recovery disk (which I highly recommend making as soon as you get this, just to have on hand) to fully recover the machine. There were some words said, they were not nice, but thankfully my friend allowed me to use his machine to make a disc and get everything back to normal.

Now, HTML 5 is all fine and dandy, but there are some things that still use Java that would be really nice to have access to in normal mode, and since I know this little beast of a netbook can run Java, I'm a bit miffed that it's not included in the default setup. So sorry Chromebook, you almost get 5 stars - 4.5, really.

In short, buy this. If you're going to be surfing the web and maybe doing a bit of word processing, get this. Save your money and get something that works well, is fast, eerily quiet, and has 9 hours of battery life. Don't waste your money on an expensive machine unless you're doing something that really needs it, and surfing the internet does not count. This does that wonderfully.
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