on 3 August 2012
Thought that this would be an inexpensive & child friendly alternative two my Windows laptop but it's turned out to be a complete replacement. Yes, you have to get used to working in the cloud, but it's simply fantastic - I'm really pleased with the speed, flexibility, lightness and battery life. It's great!
on 18 July 2012
i ordered this last week because i really wanted something that i could use on the go, that wasn't my phone and i really like a keyboard, i wanted something nice and fast because i don't like waiting for things to load.
the set up was super simple, took just a few minutes and i was away. It comes with a 3gb 3g sim but i didnt find this until after i had gone out and signed up for a 12 month 3g mobile broadband sim with 3, though i get more data with this anyway so i will use the free sim when i get to the end of my allowance!
obviously, what you can do without the net is very limited, essentially making this a very expensive paperweight without the net, but when you have the net, it works like a dream.
to get from pressing the button to actually being online and your previous pages loaded realistically takes around 15 seconds, rather than 8/10 but that includes signing in, connecting to 3g and loading the pages that you were already on so i am very impressed with this. shutting it down takes literally 4 seconds, so this is really useful when you are out and about and only have a few minutes with which to do something.
one flaw i found in this is that i briefly disabled 3g and then found that i could not reenable it. i had to go into developer mode and delete local data in order to fix it, i hope updates will solve this as in seems very silly!
the machine has a nice screen, is fairly light and can fit into the handbag i usually take places with me so this really fits into my life.
I have no idea if these things will catch on, but for now i am very impressed and if it doesnt slow down as they say it won't, i will continue to be impressed by this.
on 7 September 2012
I have a fairly new Dell laptop, and recently bought this Chromebook. It's a revelation ... it's so fast to start and has none of the hang ups and delays while stuff updates in the background like my Windows machine.
I use the Chromebook whenever I want to quickly go on the web, which now includes using spreadsheets etc. as I've been migrating them over to Google docs format (this I have to do one at a time as I often need to make a tweak - it's automatic but not 100% foolproof).
I only use my laptop now for photographs - saving to hard drive and backing up to external drives and the cloud (through Google Picasa). Once there's an app to let me do this reliably (I use Windows SyncToy), it'll be goodbye Windows. I could already do this manually, but I'm very cautious as I have thousands of photos.
I now find it irritating whenever I have to return to my Windows machine. Really irritating. You cannot believe how irritating. Unless you too buy one of these.
on 22 March 2013
I have only just received this laptop so this is an early review
On opening you instantly get a feel of quality from the brushed steel finish to the minimal flex in the screen and keyboard. It really is a well made laptop thats light and thin without compromising strength.
The keyboard and trackpad are without doubt the best I have ever used on a laptop. The Island keys have a great feel (not too light) and do not flex at all. The keyboard layout is Chrome OS which means you get a brilliant search key that saves loads of time in locating stuff. The trackpad is huge with a great feel and more gestures than you will ever need. After using it you'll wonder how you managed with other trackpads, its that good.
The system boots in about 10-15 seconds and you then a have a very short setup period, then your away and working. The whole google OS updates itself automatically in the background and is currently on version 25.
You can now view and edit documents offline, view photo's and play music offline, and prepare and edit e mails offline.
For me the offline experience was not a reason for purchasing this laptop, as I am nearly always connected when I use my laptop anyway.
Speed is the keyword for the OS. It boots in seconds, is easy to navigate, is really simple to learn, and has a massive potential for the future.
Obviously people will still need a windows laptop to run certain programs and tasks, but I am already finding myself using this laptop virtually all the time because it does 99% of what I want to do, much much faster than windows.
Chromebook looks like a laptop but it's not a laptop nor is it a netbook. You can't download anything on this device, moreover you can't do much with this device unless you have an internet connection. The Chromebook is designed for optimal surfing for those who don't like tablets, touching screens, and prefer a keyboard to type on than a glass surface.
Because everything about this device's software is online, there are no programmes that need to be updated, no patches that need to be downloaded, no upgrades, no nothing. It's straight up internet. Opening it up, it starts automatically, in a moment you see the Chrome logo, then the log-in page (you need a Gmail account and a live internet connection), then once logged in the Chrome browser opens and you're online. Total time from lifting the lid to browsing the web - 7 seconds. Maybe even less.
That's basically what sold me on this device. The incredibly fast boot time from cold machine to browsing the net. My Vaio laptop takes around 5/6 minutes to fully load up Windows 7 and the multitude of programs that need to start up with the machine. Then there are updates that need to be downloaded and installed and the machine re-started... it's a hassle. This isn't that bad if I'm going to be using it for a while but if I just want to do a couple of things - check mail/weather/cinema listings/whatever - and then log off, it's annoying. With Chromebook you're on and off in under a minute.
But it's no laptop substitute entirely - as you can't download anything, that means no iTunes. Anything downloadable is off the table. The plus side is no virus can download onto your Chromebook either. It's basically virus-proof. Also if I need to use Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint, I use my laptop rather than Google Drive. Drive has versions of those programs which are excellent to use but the format is not as universal as the Microsoft Office package so formatting docs is usually necessary on my laptop.
The keyboard is regular size and easy to use and the touchpad is larger than a laptop's and just as sensitive. It streams Youtube HD perfectly with no blips. The desktop is very spare and looks similar to Windows 7. On the bottom left are tabs for Chrome web browser, Gmail, Drive, YouTube, Google search, and Apps. The bottom right shows the time, battery life, internet strength and profile pic. The background can be whatever you like. And that's it. Spare but functional.
Battery life is 6 hours though I've yet to test this beyond 3 hours so far. It's really light and half the size of my Vaio. As a concept, it's brilliant. Store everything online and throw out all updates and patches. Log in, start surfing straight away, turn off, pick up whenever. It's so easy. All that other stuff about maintaining a PC are taken out of the equation with Chromebook - you never have to defrag your hard-drive, do a disk cleanup, worry about malware or firewalls, buy anti-virus software, have your browsing interrupted with notices about updates being installed and your system needing to be rebooted. Chromebook looks and operates almost exactly like a laptop without the annoyances a usual laptop/desktop PC has because everything is kept in the Cloud, online. This also means that in concept it remains as fast to boot up in 3 years as it was when you first bought it. With all the extra software and data build-up over the years, my Vaio laptop went from 2/3 mins boot-time to double that in 3 years. With Chromebook, the boot-time should be 7 seconds - forever.
Besides downloads, Microsoft Office, and the occasional game, I barely use my Vaio at all. The Chromebook isn't a replacement for a laptop yet it basically has done just that! It's wonderfully easy to use, really fast, light but durable, and is a perfect portal to the internet. People talk about tablets as if they are the only future for consumer electronics but with Chromebook I beg to differ - this device offers a real and viable alternative to tablets. I couldn't be happier with it.
*Update, 18 July 2013: Nearly 11 months later and the Chromebook is still as superfast as it was on the day I got it. It's really impressive. It does update periodically though this takes a mere 15 seconds or less. If for some reason it broke, I would go and buy another one immediately - I use Chromebook almost entirely now over my laptop.
*Update, 13 October 2013: Nearly a year to the day and something started going wrong with the Chromebook and hasn't been resolved since. Every so often the screen will lock, take several seconds to recover, and then begin to flicker once unlocked. You need to restart the Chromebook each time this happens, which at this point for me, is a couple times a day at most. The upside is restarting takes a few seconds and besides the inconvenience of having to restart my browsing session, it doesn't seem to have affected anything else. The downside is of course this obvious defect that emailing Google about doesn't fix because they don't get back to you. But it's an important point to raise that after 12 months of good service, just as the warranty runs out, the machine starts displaying some obvious problems. Again, I'm still using the Chromebook daily (I'm writing this update on it right now) but it's something you should probably know about and I've deducted a star for this defect.
*Update, 6 February 2014: The flickering on the screen hasn't happened now for at least a couple months at this point, so it looks like it was fixed with a recent update. Anyway, things are back to normal and its still going, its still awesome!
*Update, 10 January 2015: Chromebook is still going, fast as ever! Occasionally the screen will freeze if I have too many windows open, forcing a quick restart, and sometimes it's like the screen can't handle some HD videos so everything slooooows down, but otherwise, terrific product continues to perform superbly (for the most part)!
*Update, 5 April 2015: Chromebook is now crashing A LOT. Whether I have one window open and try opening a second, or have a few open, things will freeze up and I'll have to restart. Still only takes seconds and I never lose any data, but it's annoying as hell and seems to be happening every day now. Today it's happened TWICE. Not sure whether this is the hardware's fault or whether a recent software update is to blame, but this needs to stop happening soon.
*Update, 19 July 2015: So much crashitude!! I've had Google Docs open and tried writing something and the whole thing's frozen at least 4 times in the last hour! I don't know if it's age - the device is 3 years old now - but man, is it annoying having to restart again and again for such a simple function.
on 18 October 2012
I use my netbook and desktop computers primarily for surfing the Net and do not really use Windows programmes and applications extensively. This Chromebook ticks all the boxes as far as I am concerned even though there is only limited functionality when not connected online. The Chromebook boots up very quickly and apps download in the blink of an eye. It is much quicker downloading webpages than my desktop, netbook or my ipad. Files are stored in the Cloud which can also be retrieved from other computers.
The keyboard feels good and the display is adequate. Battery life is about 5 hours or more which is much better than my previous machines.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Chromebook. It is not cheap but Samsung are offering a £50 cashback at the moment. As a result of my experience with this machine I am strongly considering buying a Samsung Chromebox as a replacement for my desktop computer. I think it is the future of computing (for me at least).
on 10 September 2012
Our company bought a Chromebook to see if it was suitable for replacing some of our laptops. The quality of the Chromebook is fantastic. The screen is clear and bright, it is light but sturdy, has an incredible battery life, USB ports, camera, good speakers, external monitor connector, SD card slot, wired and wireless (both 3G and Wifi) internet. Very complete. However, I could not test the external monitor as I could not find a shop which had the correct interface cable to connect to my monitor. Though the manual is minimal, as a Google Apps user I could work immediately with it. It starts up in a few seconds and all the Google Apps tools work fine right out of the box. After surfing the net for some time I found out that some sites do not work correctly. For example, I could not get Silverlight and Java to work. Also, you cannot install common software like Spotify which is a bit of a miss when you are on the road. My general opinion about this product is that it is about half way there. It is a high quality product and if you only want to use it for your e-mails, Calendar, docs and some casual surfing it works fine. But if you want to do more it lacks a bit. However, when more apps for Chrome become available, the Chromebook will become more capable automatically. Combined with the heavy price tag I would currently give it a 3 star ranking.
on 5 February 2013
Chromebook have become all the rage and this is the other, more expensive, one that Samsung have on the market. I have both this one and the budget one that sells for £229. Both are superb.
What marks the 5 550 out over its budget-price junior is the processor, the 4GB of RAM, and the lovely feel of the machine. Everything that you touch as you work feels right. The keyboard, the track-pad and where you rest your wrists as you are typing.
Because, unlike non-Chromebook computers, there are few demands on the unit's processing power apart from the browser it works like a dream. It is so fast and the 4GB of RAM means that you don't have to worry about keeping too many tabs open.
For me Chromebooks make all other types of laptop obsolete. The online apps, particularly the spreadsheet and word-processor, work rapidly and better than standard MS Office. They are always up to date and you get the latest features.
I use a lot of charts on my website and you can produce attractive looking graphs far faster than and far nicer than Office.
A joy of the Chromebook is the almost instant switch on and switch off. Also there's no anti-virus software to deal with and you never need to be concerned with updates It all happens in the cloud automatically.
It is said that the down-side is that you always need an internet connection. The 3G slot on my model eases that but how often does anybody these days use a computer without being connected?
on 9 August 2013
I purchased one of the first Series 5 Chromebooks back in 2011. After enjoying two years of faultless service I decided to replace it with the latest Series 5. Essentially the same in design layout as the original but with significant improvements, including an Intel Celeron processor and double the amount of RAM. It is lightening fast to power-up and enables multitasking with ease to get even more done. A powerful Intel Sandy Bridge Dual Core processor and 4 GB RAM ensure you can simultaneously open twice as many browser windows as the original Intel Atom based Series 5 Chromebook. Build quality is improved, including a much better sound quality from the on-board speakers.
The Chromebook is built for 'cloud computing' which means your work and applications such as word processing are all cloud based; there is no need for antivirus software either. Just plug in and away you go!
The Dual Core Processor means that you can enjoy faster web browsing, conduct Google Drive tasks (docs, spreadsheets, etc) and music or video chat without any delays involved. The full-sized keyboard has the same reassuring feel and is optimised for Chrome with a dedicated search key, a row of web-enabled keys, and a comfortable, full-size layout that doesn't cramp your fingers, so you can get more done. The large multi-touch clickpad (touchpad) gives you better control with a glass coating and image sensor it provides a stylish and convenient way of use. I am currently getting well over 6 hours of battery life.
While I still have my Samsung Series 7 Chronos for "serious" work, I find I'm increasingly migrating word-processing and spreadsheet work to my Chromebook and the Cloud. Where it makes sense I now even work between the two. Even though the Chromebook won't run my Windows-based applications, it's easy to remotely access my Series 7 Chronos from my Series 5 Chromebook and use all of its applications on the Chromebook. I simply install the Remote Desktop app on each machine, follow a simple set-up procedure, and I'm able to access my Series 7 Chronos from my Chromebook! You can find the Chrome Remote Desktop app within the Chrome Webstore. All I do to perform a remote session, is to sign into my Google account; after that the log-in process is really easy.
If you prefer to work with a keyboard and want a lightening fast - trouble free - machine, look no further than the Samsung Series 5 550, it's worth serious consideration.
on 3 November 2014
When Google conceived the Chromebook they wanted to address the fact the majority of people, when they turn on their laptops, go straight to the internet and log into Facebook, etc. If that sounds like you then read on. And if that DOESN'T sound like you, then don't lose hope! Note: the whole concept of the Chromebook is based around being constantly connected to the internet. While there is a growing number of offline apps, regular internet access is the linchpin in efficient Chromebook use.
The interface is what you will probably notice when you first use a Chromebook - it is NOT Windows based ("traditional" PC) nor is it Mac. It is a bespoke system called Chrome OS (nerd note: it's built on Linux). Chrome OS will bear some similarities to other PC and systems you may have used such as having a desktop to which you can save files and a taskbar along the bottom of the screen where you can pin applications.
Almost everything else in the interface is run through the web browser, however that doesn't really mean it is that limited in functionality.
APPS / FUNCTIONALITY
The Chrome Store is easily accessible from an app on your Chromebook and from there you can browse 1000s of free and paid apps which you can "add to Chrome" i.e. install. The majority of these apps will require you to have internet connection to use, which won't be a problem for most people. There are video and photo editing apps, all your social networks, e-mail apps, news apps, file browsers and the list goes on.
There is a growing number of offline apps which are saved onto your Chromebook itself, as opposed to accessed via the browser. These apps can be used with no internet connection, although the primary functionality is internet based.
For the spec and price this is insane - you'll be paying 50% - 75% the price of an equivalently powerful Windows computer and even more so for an equivalent Mac.
If you are not phased by a new interface and want a laptop for web browsing and some casual applications (essentially a tablet with a keyboard attached) then I would wholeheartedly recommend a Chromebook.