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197 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant
Now, I was a bit dubious about buying a Chromebook. Early adoption of technology is always a risk, but with chrome it feels a lot less of one; due to the constant evolution of the operating system and huge battery life of the machine.

However, I was greeted with skepticism from all of my friends who asked "Why would you want a laptop which is only good with the...
Published on 8 Sept. 2011 by Derek Jeffries

112 of 129 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars every journey starts with a single step
The chromebook finally arrives in the uk courtesy of the samsung series 5 wi-fi chromebook - slightly delayed but at least it did arrive. I'm certain there are two reviews needed here, firstly the chromebook itself and secondly the chrome operating system.
The samsung chromebook is a competent machine, boots up incredibly quickly, excellent battery life , good size...
Published on 19 July 2011 by thementalmen

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197 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant, 8 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook (Arctic White) - Sim Card not included (Personal Computers)
Now, I was a bit dubious about buying a Chromebook. Early adoption of technology is always a risk, but with chrome it feels a lot less of one; due to the constant evolution of the operating system and huge battery life of the machine.

However, I was greeted with skepticism from all of my friends who asked "Why would you want a laptop which is only good with the internet?" to which I responded that I couldn't remember the last time I used a machine that wasn't connected to the net.

It's portable, boots very fast and has a great keyboard. Haven't fully burnt out the battery yet, but seems to give 8-9 hours easily and the boot time is about 10 seconds. It's negligible - you turn it on, and you're online. The browser is good, and added apps mean you can have games, word processing, calendar, email etc all opening up nicely.

It's solid to hold and thin (v.portable) but weighs slightly more than I thought it would.

I appreciate the chromebook isn't for everyone. But for a portable laptop that just works, keeps things simple and is very secure, you can't do better.

More portable than a laptop, easier to work on than a tablet - it holds that middle ground. And it does it perfectly. It's a journey that's just beginning, and i'm glad i'm on-board.

UPDATE: Having used the Chromebook for 4 months now - I have to say I'm even more impressed. I wouldn't suggest buying this machine as a main computer, but it's not designed for that. Word processing, spreadsheets etc are possible through google docs, but it is not as easy to use as it you have word/excel on your main computer. However, as a portable machine this is second to none. I'm a student and carry it around in my bag all the time - it's light, sturdy and never slows down. I get 8 hours of battery from it every time and the continuing updates mean that any glitches are fixed in a matter of hours. The fact that it boots in 10 seconds is very useful and the keyboard is very impressive - easily able to type up notes in lectures, or even write this review. The screen is bright and easy to read - and it really does just work so well. I'm amazed I don't see many of these machines on campus as they truly are brilliant.

If you want a portable, easy to use second computer- mainly for internet use; this is for you.
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163 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Samsung Chromebook ideal for my needs, 22 Oct. 2011
I bought the Samsung Chromebook because I wanted one fast-access device, with an attached keyboard, where I didn't have constant reminders about security updates and scans, to act as a supplement to my home PCs. I'd been very interested in buying one since they appeared on the market, as I'd remarked to a colleague a few years ago that netbooks would run faster if the browser alone was the operating system, and you could probably do most tasks using this - so I had already bought into the concept, as far as I know, before it was even announced.

Anyway, in the following, I've compiled some points which I hope will be useful to other Amazon users.

Maximising browser speed:
With all apps and extensions loaded by default, web browsing slows down. They can all be switched On/Off manually, but I found one extension, Disable All Extensions Plus, which simplifies the process. Switching off all apps and extensions visibly speeds webpage opening/scrolling, for the times when you need it.

Skype videocalls:
I've tried IMO instant messaging, to login to Skype, and see my contacts online status. I needed to allowed access to my webcam and microphone for IMO, on the Macromedia Flash Player Settings Manager page, for Website Privacy Settings, and Peer Assisted Networking. Video works both ways, but I haven't been able to get sound both ways yet - I'm sure it can be done, since video works, so I'm not giving up on it, as it seems to offer a work-around for Skype.
Anyway, when videocalling a Skype contact, they receive a message in their Skype Conversations tab, inviting them to videochat with you. Clicking the link opens a browser window, showing them your webcam video.

Online Document/File viewing and editing:
For straightforward documents/files, Google Docs should be sufficient for online preparation, while giving offline viewability.
To read MS Office files (doc, docx, ppt, etc,), I upload them to Google Docs, sometimes converting to Google Docs format. Once converted, the files can be edited, and then saved in Google Docs format, or downloaded, depending on type, as odt, pdf, doc, docx, txt, etc., and transferred from the local File Shelf storage to external media.
Upload limits are 1MB for Google Docs format, and 10MB for Word documents and pdfs, with a free 1GB file space for a Google Docs account. Google Docs format files are not counted for the used space total.
You can, also, edit MS Office files, using an MS SkyDrive account, with 25GB storage, and max. upload size of 50MB per file - the web apps are not as functional as MS Office, though. Zoho Writer and Sheet are alternative online apps for document and spreadsheet preparation. Other online apps for presentations and charts are 280Slides, Slide Rocket, and Lovely Charts.

Offline Chromebook usage:
Offline, you can play music (mp3, wav) and video files (mpeg4), view photos (jpeg and bmp), and read/reply to webmail via the Google Mail Offline app. In Google Docs offline, you can read Google Docs format files and pdfs.
Scratchpad has an offline mode which syncs with Google Docs online. You can prepare formatted text-only notes in Scratchpad offline, and when online, copy and paste this into your document.
Overall, the Chromebook has useful functionality offline, which will further improve, when Google introduces offline document editing.

Photo editing:
There are a number of web apps for this in the Chrome Web Store. I found Sumo Paint gave me editing options similar to PaintShopPro and Photoshop. Editing is done on the website, in common with all photo editing apps currently available, although Google may build in a basic image editor later.

Online video streaming:
I use standard or lower video resolution, to avoid intrusive video buffering, because my broadband download speed is too slow for HD video. As far as I know, playing streaming HD video should be fine on faster broadband connections, though.

Playing alternative video files (avi, flv, and wmv):
The built-in Media Player plays mpeg4 video only, but these 3 formats will play from your Google Docs account, subject to the 1GB space available - I've tested this for 1 min videos. Large video files need mpeg4 conversion on a PC, using freeware video convertor software. Avi playback may now be available in Developers mode, so may arrive soon.

Music/audio files:
The Media Player plays mp3 or wav audio files only. WMV files can be converted to mp3 on a PC, using downloadable freeware.
The player doesn't play CDs from an external CD/DVD drive, but if you rip your CDs to audio files on a PC, you can transfer them to a USB memory stick, or SD/SDHC memory card, to access on Chromebook. The Media Player only plays the songs ticked and queued in the list - continuous play or random shuffle isn't available, yet.
There are substitutes for iTunes with Amazon Music now, and, hopefully, Google Music Beta (currently on test in the US) soon, for purchasing and downloading music tracks.

External storage:
I can read and copy files from a DVD disc in an external DVD drive, but, of course, can't record to it. USB hard drives, currently, must be FAT32 formatted - online reports, however, suggest that NTFS formatting is supported in Chrome OS Beta, so an OS update should fix this.
USB memory sticks and SD/SDHC cards should be a good alternative to external drives for many people, though, and I use both of these.

Accessories worth considering:
(i) USB SDHC card reader to transfer files, and a 32 GB SDHC card, for extra local storage.
(ii) laptop speaker bar, for much improved sound volume and quality,
(iii) wirefree mouse with a micro-USB dongle, for finer pointer control,
(iv) USB ethernet adaptor, if your wireless connection is intermittent,
(v) MiFi wireless mobile rechargeable dongle - creates a personal Wi-Fi hotspot (for non-3G Chromebooks) in 3G signal areas. Logon is via the wireless connection, with no software installation or wires needed.

Browser extensions:
There are lots of useful free extensions in the Chrome Web Store, including for the following: extra security, switching off browser history recording, recovering accidentally closed tabs, finding your search terms on a web page, on-screen button to smoothly scroll to top/bottom of web pages, accessing downloads directly from the toolbar, automatically opening next Google search pages, ad blocking, etc..
Just use the search box in the Web Store to find what you want to add - some of these can make a big difference to the ease of use of your Chromebook, as many are installed as icons on the browser bar.

Some improvements needed:
- The File Manager - modernisation, with larger window,
- Skype app, for videocalling,
- SkyGo app (to view HTML5 video, similar to iPad's app),
- Media Player, continuous, random/shuffle play audio, avi, etc., video playback,
- Google Docs Offline editing,
- Support for NFTS hard drives.

I'm happy with the Samsung Chromebook, and would recommend it as a good device for secure browsing, emailing, online music and video streaming, video calling and some work-related documentation. I think the Chromebook is particularly good for people who want a low maintenance device, with fast switch on, and who don't want to carry out anti-virus and anti-malware scans, registry error checking, and disk defragmentation. There should be lots of people, young to old, in this category - indeed, a Chromebook might be their perfect second device.

UPDATES, JAN'12: Can now read files from a pre-recorded NTFS USB hard drive, but can't yet record to it. Also, Skype should work with IMO if you disable any "pepperflash" versions in chrome plugins, leaving normal flash running - instructions can be found online.
Gmail accounts (which you need to sign in on the Chromebook) are no longer allowed for under-13's according to US law, which Google must comply with worldwide (see COPPA), but kids can still access Guest mode, although this would be mostly for browsing, and entertainment, i.e. catch-up TV, YouTube, music sites, online radio, etc.. anyway.

UPDATE, MAR'12. I've re-checked and found that websites offering online word processing all require a valid email to sign up legally - so effectively, kids have to be 13 or over, to sign up to these as well. Some under-13 kids have tried to sign up to Google Plus, using a Gmail account set up before age was a required input, and then found that their email access was frozen immediately they updated their age - so they couldn't sign in to their Chromebook. The account could only be retrieved by a parent supplying credit card information - so that's one thing to avoid. There are some sites that can provide kids email accounts linked to a parental account, but whether these will run independently for webmail on a Chromebook is uncertain.

If you want under-13 kids to do some documentation on a Chromebook (under Google's terms and conditions of service), then, since it has to be in Guest mode, the best option seems to be to sign up for an online diary, as these, being private in nature, don't have such strong age restrictions - from what I've seen, a minimum of 8 years is OK. (Alternatively, for school use, Google may have suitable Chromebook access for minors in Apps for Education - but this has to be set up by the school, and may require a school purchase deal with Google.) Incidentally, e-diaries have facilities to include cropped photos, so short reports, essays, etc., could be done for homework, and short school projects, in a diary, by under-13 users - so lack of official access to GDocs wouldn't be a problem. If you do let a kid use a diary for schoolwork, just remember to back it up elsewhere, as some sites may not be as stable long term as Google.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chromebook, 14 Jan. 2012
i was lucky to get one for christmas, up and running in minutes instead of usally windows start up. Boots up in seconds,battery life for ever and has never failed to impress me. It makes my computer life so much easier as it just works every time. Your be amazed that this is all you need as 99 percent of the time your on the internet anyway the perfect computer saved me pounds as i nearly brought a mac book air.

Thanks Google.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fit for purpose ..., 27 Sept. 2012
Billy The Baker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook (Arctic White) - Sim Card not included (Personal Computers)
... providing you know the purpose of it.

I bought this 10 months ago and after regular use I simply cannot fault it. I use it as a secondary computer for when I can't be bothered to boot up the dektop and I want to find something very quickly on the web or carry out transactions online. This usage very often takes place in the middle of a restless night.

Open the lid and it is on. There have been many updates under the hood since I got it but I've never noticed them. No "download & install updates" then reboot to complete etc. It just checks whenever it is on and if anything needs updating it is automatically done. A battery charge seems to last forever, it is advertised at 8.5 hours and this is more than ample for my needs.

To get full advantage I think a Google account is desirable. I use Gmail along with the Chrome browser on my desktop and everything is always in total sync between the two, in fact the three as I also have the Chrome browser installed on a Tablet. Going on from that the Google calendar is also kept up to date with appointments etc. Fill it in on a single machine and it's then ready for me on all the others. All the others? Well, besides using a Samsung Galaxy Tablet there's also a Samsung mobile and all the information I need is always available on any of the four machines. I have installed the Evernote app on all gadgets and this together with Ultimate-To-Do makes life a lot simpler than it used to be.

I usually keep it at the bedside and as I said, open the lid and it is on; wireless connection never drops out and browsing is fast. So, on those many, many nights when insomnia hits me I just pull it over onto the bed along with a Logitech Comfort Lapdesk, and then maybe do some Amazon shopping or browsing; add on to my grocery list at Tescos; and even check my online banking etc. without any problems.

The Chromebook completes my set of computer gadgets and I would not be without it. Recommended for what it does.
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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete web experience, 9 July 2011
I took delivery of my Series 5 this morning which I guess makes me one of the first people to post a review who isn't a journalist.

The chromebook is simply brilliant. It is smaller, lighter, more portable and has a better battery than all but the most expensive laptops. It has a decent screen and keyboard that you can actually work on, unlike all but the most expensive netbooks. It undercuts both of these competitors massively on price. Any device that is an equivalent price will most likely have a poorer battery and screen resolution if nothing else. It can resume instantly, boots in 8 seconds and is more secure than most people could make any other computer. The downside to all this is that you can't install software, but this is far less limiting than you would first think. For most locally installed software there is now one or more pretty decent web based alternatives, and this is a growing trend. An increasing number of the latest HTML5 web applications can also support working offline too - this will soon be available in google docs, and I already have an offline note-taking application installed.

One web app that adds a huge amount of functionality - enough to sway some potential buyers - is ThinVNC. When installed on a Windows computer, it allows you to remote-desktop into it from a chromebook or any other modern web browser. If you occasionally need to use some client software, this is one great solution.

The keyboard is excellent, and having dedicated keys to toggle full-screen mode and switch between maximised windows (with cool sliding animation) makes it easy to have lots of tabs open and organise them usefully. It makes the screen feel bigger than it really is, and I'm surprised to say I don't really miss my old extended display setup.

A chromebook is not for everyone - a tablet is better for reading/watching in bed, a full size laptop is better if you really do need local software. However these devices are simply brilliant for working on the web from anywhere with a wifi or 3G connection.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Positive Step for Lightweight Computing, 23 Sept. 2011
Mr. N. Coleman (SW England) - See all my reviews
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I've been using PC's since the 8086 and have gone through the majority of operating systems. For a long while I have viewed the Cloud with some cynicism since without internet connectivity it is nought. That said, the frequency with which we are being disconnected is decreasing, many of our phones can now provide our laptops with mobile broadband so this issue is becoming less problematic.

I bought the CB for my wife who has worked her way through a netbook (which failed @ 13 months old), an iPad2 which is found wanting in so many areas - flash being one of them (and no the Cloud rendering services do not sort out the basic issues) and a Motorola Xoom (Android tablet - MINE actually....). Each of these had their weaknesses and failed to offer the necessary functionality that my wife had from the main house laptop (except that it is 17" and far from portable!)

So I took the plunge and got a CB. In for a penny... eh? First impressions? Awesome. Fast - it is very responsive and easily competes again my high power workstation for cloud based computing. We haven't as yet tried any of the offline apps so there is still a little way to go for a full appraisal, that said, with the cloud as it is, there is not much one would want to do on a CB in the way a traditional PC is used.

I've read some of the reviews here and also had the benefit of setting up and using the CB. My observations are: if you are a seasoned PC user, be prepared for a little sideways knock - things we take for granted like right-click context menus don't exist. Cutting & pasting is different. The trackpad was sluggish out of the box but this was easily fixed in system settings, as was the familiar "tap-click" which also doesn't come enabled with the CB but can be turned on - to help we PC "old-fogies" ;o)

It's quick to boot (my workstation with 1000MBps SSD's can do W7 in 8 seconds but not many PC's are quite that fast. The CB is outstanding in this regard - and waking from "sleep" is instant, there is no waiting. I haven't even seen any lag on the Wi-Fi coming out of sleep. Superb.

All-in-all this is a great piece of kit. I feel the price is a tad high when one can get netbooks for £200 less. With PC's, if you want to update them then usually that means buying the next operating system when it ships - including the bugs whereas the CB will always stay fresh with timely updates which should keep abreast of developing needs and behaviours.

In essence this is a Chrome browser which you take anywhere (subject to Wi-fi or 3G). I guess it's best described as sleek and efficient. It will be interesting to see how it evolves. For now, my wife seems happy, it can do the things she needs it to do and that's good enough for me.

I'd take half-a-star off for its price if I could but other than that, jolly fine bit of hardware.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful piece of technology, 12 Oct. 2012
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I stumbled across the chromebook on amazon and was dubious of its claims of starting up in 10 seconds, its super slimline design and the fact that it simply works (I've heard this many times before). However, after analysing what I truley did with my laptop I realised a lot of it was back ground clutter and moving to a chromebook could be a better idea.
I used my laptop for:
Word documents
storing photos
watching films
browsing the internet
That was the main jist of it and the lagging and locking of the laptop as it aged was getting rather annoying. So i took the plunge and bought a Chromebook; I couldnt be happier

Before I did I uploaded all of my documents and photos on to google drive and google plus so all are safe and I can access then easily. I only download a photo to change my avatar picture. Movies can be rented through google play or watched from a usb/ sd card and run far more smoothly than my windows 7 laptop, with no buffering, no lagging and no jumping. The only issue I have found is that it is easier to listen to things through ear phones if theres people about as the machine doesnt go as loud as my dell inspiron did.

Chromebook DOES need internet access, it would be silly to buy one and not have it, it is all about unclogging the pc with background nonsense that is rarely used and storing all important things, such as photos and documents online where it is safe and easily got to. I use it over my home wifi and when im about I have bought a 3 sim dongle for £14 which does the job nicely. However, do be careful when picking a dongle, as some need installation which obviously the Cromebook can be limited on; many have found a MiFi accessory to be a much easier and reliable form of internet when using the Chromebook on the go and so my advice would be to invest in one of these instead.

Chromebook does to my surprise start up in less than 10 seconds. Once the initial start up is out of the way you can get to facebook for example in less that 7 which is amazing. You are instantly put on a new online tab or can click on the app section to open you your games/ other apps which again open in a browser tab. It has everything a laptop has essentially, the main difference being downloading anything but a film, photo or document is a no. As such itunes is a no no as is Zune, so if you rely on that it may be best to have a pc somewhere in the house as google play isnt a replacement yet. This i found the only odd part: google play will let you download most games, and rent any movie it has yet music player is not available to the UK this year but we are told it will be by next. This was a let down for me, and so I either stick to a radio app or use my phone.
All in all a fantastic machine, that is slim, fast, reliable and cuts out all the clutter that a pc insists on keeping. Additionally there has been some people saying keep a pc for IE as some websites need that to run, which can be annoying, well theres an app for that, with one click chrome acts like IE for those very websites so theres no limitation.
fast, all safe on the cloud, can download photos/ documents if needed
can still watch films from usb/ google play, everything you need is kept on the top right of the screen/ in the app section
Battery life is amazing; lasting around 8 hours from a couple of hours of charge
Does what a pc can online with much less hassel and in seconds

pretty limited offline (but thats the point)
sound could be better but good enough to watch 40d, bbciplayer, a film etc on your own
no google music play yet
cant download anything like itunes or phone players but that is essential to keep the machine running as fast as it does

5 stars, does everything I need and keeps giving out surprises. (such as an incognito made which is great for buying presents etc.) Before you buy, sit for a day and see if you can do everything you want online through chrome and see if the clutter on your pc is a must or can be lost.
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased I got it, 9 July 2011
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Length:: 0:11 Mins

My initial reactions to my Chromebook: the screen colours appear washed-out; the trackpad click can seem unresponsive and drag-selection can feel very sluggish. Using a wireless mouse I have not had the click or drag-selection issues. This said, I am delighted with the Samsung Chromebook.

From a off to the login dialog takes about 7 seconds. (Hopefully I have uploaded a video to show this.)

The build quality feels good. It is plastic but nicely finished. Every thing is smooth edged except around the headphone jack and power jack connectors. The trackpad works in a very similar way to that of a MacBook: use a two-fingered click to right-click; drag with two-fingers to scroll. There is a backspace-delete key. To delete forward (like the standard Delete key) just alt+backspace delete.

Using Chrome OS is like using a Google Chrome browser but without the Desktop. Everything is done in a browser tab. It needs a change of mindset from regular computers. Your apps are on the web. If you use Google's products, Gmail, Picasa, YouTube, Picnik to manage your data it seems like it will be an ideal machine. If you wonder if the Chromebook comes pre-loaded with Photoshop and want to work off-line then look elsewhere.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely first class, 13 July 2011
I've had my Chromebook for a couple of days now and am really impressed with it. It does everything I need. One of the most impressive things about the machine is the incredibly fast boot time. It takes a fraction of the time that my mobile phone takes to boot!
The keyboard is really nice to use and the keyboard shortcuts are quite easy to remember after you've used them a few times. I've found the trackpad really responsive and like the gesture support for operations such as drag and drop.
The machine instantly finds a WiFi connection and once connected everything is really fast.
Google docs are very intuitive and have the ability to convert to the equivalent MS office application when sending to somebody who doesn't use Google docs. I have WiFi access in all the places I need to use this machine so don't have an issue with being unable to do anything because I'm never offline.
The web app store appears to be very good and easy to navigate. Everything I've got from the store works really well.
I really can't praise this machine enough!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Samsung Chromebook, 3 Sept. 2011
I am using my Samsung Chromebook as an adjunct to my desktop and laptop and it is excellent. I am very pleased with it. Access to the Internet on opening the lid is very swift (2-3 seconds) so the Chromebook is ideal for picking up and putting down throughout the day. The full keyboard makes typing very efficient and the battery life is a day. I thoroughly recommned this as a secondary item for someone who is on the internet regularly throughout the day. In due course, I believe it will be able to replace laptops and probably desktops too. I took it on holiday and it was the choice of everyone in the family when they wanted to browse the internet (facebook, emails, uni, Google etc).
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