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Customer Review

170 of 181 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Google search and find an awesome device!, 29 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Samsung Series 5 550 Wi-Fi Chromebook (Silver) (Personal Computers)
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.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Nov 2012 09:38:30 GMT
tonyb says:
What a great review that really explains the functionality of this product.


Posted on 12 Nov 2012 09:39:19 GMT
tonyb says:
What a great review that really explains the functionality of this product.


Posted on 12 Nov 2012 09:39:46 GMT
tonyb says:
What a great review that really explains the functionality of this product.


Posted on 12 Nov 2012 10:53:44 GMT
Sam Quixote says:
Thanks x 3!

Posted on 22 Nov 2012 09:39:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Nov 2012 09:39:52 GMT
Nice review and beautifully explained thanks. I don't know if I'm ready to sell my soul to Google yet, but I'm effectively using Chrome, G. Drive and apps on my PC, so this would make sense

Posted on 12 Feb 2013 16:31:00 GMT
Good review, but you do know you can use MS Office Web apps in Skydrive for your MS Office docs?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 21:32:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 May 2013 15:18:34 BDT
Sam Quixote says:
You can but you need to pay a subscription fee. Not sure about the specifics though - google it!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 May 2013 13:56:13 BDT
Fireball XL5 says:
Noel, I've read various recent reviews of Chromebooks and the consensus is that you *can* use Office web apps with them, meaning that you have access to the full MS Office suite in the browser. It may require a subscription to the latest version of Office (Office365), but it does work. It's this that's tempting me to take a punt on a Chromebook.

Posted on 9 Aug 2013 14:55:08 BDT
101ofamind says:
Would I be able to plug my phone in through the USB and upload songs/update it? This is vitally important for me as my laptop just broke and I would like this to replace it, i'm not sure if it can.

Posted on 21 Aug 2013 11:35:52 BDT
D. Black says:
I agree with all you say. All in all, a great piece of kit and I would buy one again.
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