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This will be a long review. For those wanting a short summary, I'll include one at the end.

I've owned the Cr-48 for a while, which was a kind of test unit Google sent out to people to beta test the operating system. That came out a long time ago and none of the commercial units have felt good enough to me to justify buying, until this one. They were always a little too expensive, despite the obvious advantages.
I purchased my unit elsewhere because I managed to order early from Amazon, but they were unable to get the product to me by the date indicated.

The software

For those unclear, Chrome OS (which the Chromebook runs) is fundamentally different to a Windows, Mac or Linux-based laptop, desktop or netbook. This is because it runs the web. No native applications exist specifically for this machine. There are apps (sometimes referred to as Chrome apps) but they also work in the Chrome browser.

Because this computer runs what many call 'just a browser' it has several advantages, as well as disadvantages when compared to a Windows machine. I've chosen Windows for most comparisons here as more people typically use Windows than a Mac or Linux machine.

Security

You cannot install Windows applications (or other native software) on Chrome OS. This means that the computer can operate more securely than a Windows machine simply because the computer knows what should be installed. If something is there that shouldn't be there, the computer will erase all local data and install a version of the software that's stored in a secure area. Once you're connected to the internet, you'll be updated to the most recent version of the operating system. As your settings, bookmarks and Chrome applications are stored by Google, they are also restored after the machine is reset and you log in. Typically the operating system is updated every 6 weeks, meaning bugs get fixed pretty quickly (important bug fixes will arrive more quickly) and new features are released quickly, too.

Getting things done

This is where the big problem is for some people; you can't install Microsoft Office, Adobe's Photoshop or other software packages. You're limited to software that's delivered through a browser. Most people are perfectly comfortable with using things like Facebook, Twitter and email this way. The web offers some pretty powerful tools, though. For instance, pretty sophisticated image editing software exists on-line, as do audio and video editing tools. Using the massive resources of the internet (typically referred to as 'the cloud') means that video editing and other resource-intensive tasks can be made dramatically quicker than doing it locally. Make no mistake though, if you do need something like Photoshop it's just not possible, unless you use software specifically designed to deliver 'normal' software through the web. Companies like Citrix offer products that can do that, but given the additional cost, it's usually only big businesses that use them.

If you don't need extremely-specialised software though, there's a lot available. Google, Zoho and Microsoft all offer tools that will let you create, open and export documents in popular formats, such as Microsoft Office. There are advantages to this approach, too. Google Docs (as an example) allows individuals to use their online document, spreadsheet and presentation software free of charge and, even better, you can collaborate with up to 50 people on the same document, practically in real-time. This sort of thing just isn't typically possible with traditional software. Where it is, it's likely to be clunkier than a web-based tool as a website just lets you login and work.

Calendars, Angry Birds, finance tools (Sage and QuickBooks are available through the browser) are all also available in this way. It's worth checking out if the things you'll want to do are available in this way before ordering a Chromebook.

There are also many off-line capable applications. That is, things that will work without an internet connection. These include Google Drive's Docs, Sheets and Slides, which are Google's version of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Things like Google Calendar and Gmail also work offline to a degree. Keep in mind though that this is primarily a device for accessing the internet. Without a connection, this device is extremely-limited. Applications delivered through a browser will get more and more capable over time, though.

Other drawbacks

As I've said, not everything is available through a browser. Critical things that people take for granted either aren't available or are very different on a Chromebook.
It's not possible to watch AVI or MKV video files (at the time this was written) for example, without converting them. That's a big pain for some. Printing is different too, as you can't just plugin a printer on Chrome OS and have it work. For those that are curious, Google has a service called Cloud Print, which involves hooking up your printer to the internet. This approach does have an advantage in that you're able to print to your printer from anywhere with an internet connection, either from a mobile device or any installation of Chrome. For those without a printer that can connect to the internet independently of a regular computer, you can enable a normal printer by installing Chrome on a Windows machine and running it that way.

Storage

A key thing about Chromebooks is that they come with a 16GB hard drive. This is considered very low by modern standards as a typical Windows machine will come with a minimum of 500GB and often far more.

Google Drive is Google's solution for this. Essentially, Google Drive is on-line storage. It stores files from Google Docs and will store pretty much any type of file, too. A key thing is that it integrates with the file system, meaning you can save files directly to your account (Drive can be used on Windows and other computers, as well as Android and iOS devices) and access them from whichever device you're using.
By default, Drive uses the 15 gigabytes of storage that you get across your Google account. This can be split across email, photo backups and Drive. If you don't store email attachments long-term or use Google+ auto backup for your photos this means you're getting nearly 15 gigs for Drive. This isn't a huge amount, but for free on-line storage it's slightly above average. Many other services actually offer much less. However, if you buy a Chromebook you get 100GB free for two years, which is very useful given that it can be used across many devices. If after two years you're using more than whatever the normal free allowance is at that point (things do change) and you've not qualified for some other promotion, you'll no longer be able to add new files. Your existing data will be accessible, meaning files will not be deleted.
Another great thing about Drive is that files can be shared with others. Google Docs files are not counted towards your storage.
Again, it's worth noting that other great on-line storage solutions exist, such as Dropbox and Box. The difference of course is that they're not tightly-integrated with the Chromebook.

It should also be noted that if you wish to use Google Drive to store pretty much all your files online (100 gigabytes is actually pretty hard to fill up, unless you upload your entire private video collection - content you have the rights to, of course chances are you won't need that much) prices recently dropped (as of April 2014) to 1 terabyte for $10 a month. Online storage is getting very cheap indeed and will continue to get cheaper, from all major providers. A relatively small hard drive makes sense as this is a device designed to access the web and not store large files locally.

Hardware (general)

This new Chromebook is running on an ARM chip, the type of processor you'd typically find in a mobile phone or tablet. That may sound slow given the demands of a typical Windows machine, but it's very quick. It boots in around 7 seconds (it feels more like 5 as the logo is on the screen almost as soon as you open the lid) and you can be on-line with your normal tabs open in under 30 seconds with ease. The keyboard is extremely responsive and many professional reviewers have remarked that it's the best that's ever been on a Chromebook, which includes the much more expensive Samsung Series 5 550 machine. The trackpad, too, is very good indeed.

The machine is extremely responsive due to it needing very few resources to operate. If you attempt to run 20+ tabs, yes, it will slow down a whole lot. But if, like most typical users, you use this for email, Facebook and the like, you should have no performance issues. Depending on your usage, the stated 6.5 hours of battery life are very close. In fact I'd suggest that you'd get more, depending on screen brightness etc.

Other hardware

On this particular unit you'll find one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI out (for putting what's on your screen on a bigger screen, like a computer monitor or TV) and an SD card reader. External USB hard drives work fine in my experience and many phones are treated properly as mass storage too. However certain devices such as external optical (CD/DVD) drives will not work at all.

Miscellaneous

It should be noted that since Chromebooks are essentially stateless (that is, they have little personal data stored on them) they can be wiped at any time without a problem and you can start over. This also means that they can easily be shared and Chrome devices (a desktop version, called a Chromebox also exists) have something called Guest Mode, which allows a friend to browse the web without accessing your settings or bookmarks and when they're done, their browsing history is automatically deleted. For those with whom you share your Chrome device regularly, you can add them to the list of permanent users.

Summary

Essentially, if you use the web most of the time (this is what most computer users do) or want a second machine that can be used without any technical knowledge for that purpose by others in your household, this is an ideal device. If, however, you like to play a lot of 'real' video games or access specialised software, chances are that this device isn't for you. That said, this device is cheap enough that you can buy one for the living room or to use while you watch television. Due to the price of this machine, it's most likely to be compared to a low-end Windows machine (which are typically very slow) or a tablet, such as a Nexus 7.

If you want easy web access and don't care at all about typing, I'd suggest a tablet. A good quality tablet can (at the time of this review) be had for £159, including a high definition screen. But if typing and web access matters to you, I'd seriously consider this device.

You may be interested in my Acer C7 Chromebook review, which I did after using my Samsung Chromebook. It can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R30TOVRMD8DHM5/

Febuary 2013 update

As with other Chrome devices, the Samsung Chromebook gets better over time. Google's presentations tool was recently updated to work without an internet connection. I've not used this application much and it's worth noting that other solutions are available, but it being able to function off-line makes Chromebooks more useful, at no additional charge.

It's also worth noting that though it's in beta form (early and not perfect) it's now possible to use BitTorrent on a Chrome device. As always, you should be aware of what you're downloading via BitTorrent and the legalities. I'm not encouraging anyone to use the application, but if you're wanting to try it, search for JSTorrent.

March 2014 update

There will soon be a new model of the Samsung Chromebook, likely launching in April or May in the UK. It will likely retail for more than the original, but have much improved internals, making for a faster, more capable device. There should also be the option for a larger screen, as well as the current size. I appreciate the kind words and hope you've found this review helpful. As I'm returning to education in the coming months, I may well end up buying the new Samsung Chromebook. I'll certainly review it here if I end up purchasing one.
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on 17 August 2013
Two weeks of living with a Chromebook.
I am writing this article after living for two weeks with my Samsung Chromebook (ARM powered).

Why did I buy a Chromebook?
Because my dear “vintage” white MacBook finally really died 3 weeks ago.
The logical choice seemed to be the 11 inch Macbook Air, but after the age of netbooks, and tablets I wanted something somewhat cheaper.

What was I looking for?
Something light, cheap, that started up quickly and had a nice bright screen for emails, browsing, blogging, skping, youtube, iplayer etc. Nothing esoteric, since I don’t play games or do complicated movie editing but I did want but a real keyboard, and not a “type on the glass” version. I am already Googlified and I normally use Firefox when on Mac or Windows platforms.

What do I like about the Chromebook?
It goes from dead closed and off straight to full browsing in less than 10 seconds
Light enough to take from room to room at home without a thought
Backward/forward dedicated web keys
6hr battery life on wifi, good staying power and relatively quick charging
Low cost means I won’t be crying if it starts to have problems within 6 months
Security - no more watching or waiting for updates
Google Docs offline and resynch
11 inch Screen resolution is fine
Kindle Reader App
Chromebook survived a small incident with a bottle of Evian
I can leave 5 dozen tabs open permanently and Chromebook doesn’t die!

What could Samsung and Google improve on the Chromebook?
I find the photo rendering too slow.
Camera resolution is really low
Face recognition unlocking would be nice.
Skype isn’t available on Chrome, but I am getting used to Hangouts
Where’s the CAPS lock or key combo?

Would I buy a MacBook Air?
After 2 weeks with my Chromebook, I am not turning back. There is no chance that I would want the MBA even if it is a higher quality piece of engineering. And we won’t even talk about price.

Disclaimer
I will admit that I do own a couple of Apple shares, but do not own any Google shares.
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on 3 November 2012
I'm very satisfied with this Chromebook. Why ?
1- It boots up in less than 10 seconds,not 60 like most laptops.
2- There are no "Daily Updates" because the system updates itself and is ready when you switch on.
3- I can't get any viruses on this Chromebook and so I'll save money on anti-virus software and hassle.
4- The Chrome browser is lightning fast. It blitzes along.
5- I can store all my stuff online ( in the cloud) ... all my letters, spreadsheets, presentations...in Google Drive using Google Docs. I've been given 100 Gb for free, forever. No more Micros**t Office.
6- It has a 16 Gb hard drive and also two USB slots for storing my stuff on memory sticks, memory cards or external hard drives.
7- The full-size keyboard and trackpad are very comfortable and responsive.
8- There is a reader for my SD and SDHC cards.
9- The sound is very good from the speakers ( not " tinny") and the webcam is good too. Not fabulous but good.
10- It is very quiet and so I can listen to quiet music and not hear the laptop whirring.
11- I love it.......and I think you will too.
I would NOT buy it if you want to play games on it but if you want a VERY fast laptop to search the internet and type letters and spreadsheets and one which is hassle free .....no updates, no waiting, no viruses, no problems....THIS IS IT !
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on 23 November 2012
As a writer, I wanted something lighter and more portable than my 15" Macbook pro--this fit the bill perfectly.

I've only owned my Samsung Chromebook for two days and I'm already totally in love with it. I had trawled the internet for a device that offered a few very specific features: lightness/portability, simplicity of use, affordability, and some kind of word processor. I considered a keyboard case for my iPad (the quality of the keyboards just wasn't good enough and they were often too small); following that I looked at dozens of netbooks, notebooks and laptops and everything was either too expensive (or not good value for money), too heavy, or too ugly.

Initially, I overlooked the Chromebook, put off by what I thought to be a complete lack of offline functionality. Thank goodness I did my research! Now that certain things can be downloaded to the (fairly limited) on board memory, allowing offline access to documents saved on Google Drive, as well as reading previously downloaded email and composing new ones--all of which synchronises once you have internet access--the Chromebook not only becomes a viable option for working on the go, it beats much of the competition.

The Chromebook looks beautiful; quite like a Macbook Air. Obviously, it's plastic, not aluminium, but then it's more than £600 cheaper! It's beautifully light and doesn't seems to suffer with overheating, even after several hours of use. The battery lasts well; yesterday I was online for about four hours and had 50% of my battery left when I turned in for the night.

The keyboard is excellent. At a guess, I'd say it was about 95% the size of the one on my Macbook. It's comfortable to type on and has a few customisable keys. Google Docs provides a more than adequate word processor, as well as spreadsheets and slideshow presentation software, though they're not a patch on MS Office, but still very good for online software.

The trackpad is very responsive, if a little rough to the touch, and does not support the 'pinch to zoom' or 'swipe back/forward' multi-touch gestures. It does have single finger click (obviously), two finger double-click, and two finger scrolling.

The screen lets the Chromebook down a bit. It has a matt finish (so reduced glare), and is not amazing quality. But it is perfectly adequate, has great brightness levels, and is really not that bad considering the Chromebook's price tag.

And what a price tag. In my opinion it's excellent value for money. I would highly recommend it to writers, students, maybe as a reasonably priced laptop for someone with teenage kids demanding gadgets for Christmas (the Chromebook handles multiple user accounts beautifully).

Overall, very impressed. Ideally I would have liked to give it 4.5 stars, deducting the half for the reduced quality screen.
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on 28 October 2012
I must say this laptop is simple and hassle free. On my first use I just charged up the battery, turned it on, entered my WiFi details and waited for a software update before it rebooted. A login screen then appeared and I typed in my Google username and password and I could just use my browser with all the settings including bookmarks and all my Google docs already in place - no messages from Norton anti-virus or pointless Sony crap-ware, just a computer that just works. Easy

The keyboard is really nice to use. Touch pad is nice and big. Someone in the comments mentioned that the screen isn't great but for such little money I find it more than fit for purpose and much better than my previous 11.6 inch Sony laptop that cost almost 3 times the price about 18 months ago. My only real gripe is that the webcam is not great but I was surprised at the quality of the speakers and the clear stereo that comes across really clearly when using it on a table. And of course it's beautifully thin and loads up really fast.
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on 14 November 2012
I encouraged an old neighbour (who's desktop had finally given up the ghost)to get one of these Chromebooks as all he uses it for is banking and online shopping. Upon setting it up for him I liked it so much I got one for myself.

Firstly, the positives: My neighbour is in his late 70s with Parkinsons and hated laptops as you have to have decent dexterity to use a trackpad. He finds the trackpad on his Chromebook much easier to use. The two-finger scrolling is much easier than finding a narrow strip down one side, like normal trackpads. It's quite large for such a small laptop and I'd say it's the best trackpad I've used since my Macbook Pro (which was around £1800).

Secondly, there's no maintenance at all. If, like my neighbour, you're confused about virus scans, firewalls and drivers then this is ideal. There is no real operating system for a virus to install itself on and all security is sorted at Google's end. The updates are automatic so this is as plug and play as you're going to get.

Thirdly, the boot time is 7-9 seconds and it's totally silent. It's great to have on the coffee table where you can pick it up and be online within seconds, and while watching TV there are no fans whirring which might annoy others in the same room.

The negatives: Well, there aren't any. I see some of the comments from people complaining it won't do this or that, but you don't buy a netbook around £200 to encode video. It's just for getting online quickly and easily with the minimum of fuss. If you want to encode video, touch up high resolution photos, or watch HD movies then this might not be for you. Get a proper laptop. If you want to just have something that gets you online quickly and securely for browsing, shopping, banking and using facebook and twitter then this is a no-brainer at £230. Snap one up.
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on 27 October 2012
In the US this became an Amazon best-seller after being on the market barely a day and having had mine for 12 hours now you can understand why.

The first thing that strikes you is that it is totally silent. There's is no fan or disk drives whizzing round like on a conventional lap-top and, for me, it is a very calming computer to use.

Secondly it boots up in just seven seconds and on top of that there is the added bonus that you don't have to be concerned about soft-ware updates or daily reminders from Microsoft to install their Bing desktop and the like. That's all done for you "in the cloud".

Thirdly it is lovely to work on.The keyboard and track-pad are a dream and it just feels very comfortable as you type.

Fourthly it has a fast web-browser that wipes the floor with my old bigger lap-top with twice as much RAM. With all the software operating "in the cloud" there is more processing power for the key function, web browsing.

The main downside is that the screen is not as good as computers costing several times as much. But it's not bad. You have to play about with the angle and it is perfectly acceptable.

The set-up is dead simple.

I bought this because I wanted a super-lightweight unit for travelling. It is so nice to use I can see it becoming my main computer.
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on 28 August 2013
I took a gamble on trying Chrome after getting hacked off with MS. I'm v glad i did. But here's a quick tip - I used Chrome on my Mac first - the browser, the spreadsheets and docs, the store etc etc....I liked them so bought the Chromebook and because it's all online it sync'd with what I'd done...so maybe 'try before you buy'.

I am not a gamer so cannot review that aspect. My use is for getting online obviously but also heavy everyday (small business) use of Docs (Word equivalent), Sheets (Excel) and Slides (Powerpoint) though not fantastically heavy use of in depth macros etc, but basic use of these. I have used MS office for 15 years - hated Apple's 'numbers' - but the Chrome versions are great for what I need - I actually prefer them and they work a lot like MS Office. Overall they are probably more basic than MS Office but other than not being easily able to Portrait slides in Slides I have had no issues - again, load Chrome and give it a go - if you're doing in depth accounting type formulas it may not be for you.

I really like :
"AirDroid" - I connect to my Android phone through my laptop - send messages, answer calls, use the camera function from the laptop, manage files, etc
"Spotify" - I've always been an iTunes spend 79/99p when i get a song in my head. Not now - it's free
I can work either on my MAC, phone or my Chromebook and it syncs
Very very light - around 1 kg
The store - there's lots in there so just read reviews, add and try
The whole 'tabs' 'browser' type way of working - love it

Some moan about the screen - I cannot understand why as I think it's fine so maybe they are just used to better screens (I have a Macbook and a soon to be got rid of Vaio) maybe it's a gaming thing....no problem with sound.....no problem with the mousepad....Plenty moan about 'I can't do this' or 'it doesn't support that' - research your needs before you buy, don't buy it and give it 1* because you can't Skype (for example)

Bad points? Only one I can think of is the CB sets things up (lay out) slightly differently from Chrome on my MAC (really minor gripe that)

The only question is could this be my only computer? I'm 50/50 on that (maybe 60/40 (in the chromebook's favour) - it does nearly everything I need in a really enjoyable way and I will not be going back to MS. Oh, I print from my MAC so haven't tried that yet....

Overall really pleased :)

Quick Update:
* Plenty of help online - eg it's an american keyboard so locating a £ sign can be tough depending on what keyboard language to pick (UK/US + variants) - found the solution in forums
* It doesn't support IMAP email at the moment so if like me you use Thunderbird it's not available (you'll have to use Webmail)
* Got round set up gripe by pinning things to the task bar along the bottom
* Despite 1 or 2 'issues' like these still very happy and it's being developed all the time so these may be gone in 6 months......
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on 5 February 2013
After getting a Nexus 7, I decided that it wasn't for me because it was too small for a good browsing experience and wasn't any use for productivity. So after selling my Nexus 7, I decided to save up a bit more and get this Chromebook as a second computer that I could take to college for work. I knew the limitations of Chrome OS before I bought this, I spend 90-95% of my time on Chrome on my PC anyways so I thought this would be perfect.

I'll start with the performance and the technical specs
This comes with a Exynos 5250 ARM A15 CPU clocked at 1.7Ghz Dual Core, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD and 11.6" LCD 1366x768 screen. I thought my Nexus 7 was pretty speedy at browsing with a A9 1.3GHz Quad Core so this A15 which is twice as fast clock for clock must be faster than my Nexus 7? Well not really, because its running desktop sites and my Nexus 7 had limitations such as not being able to play Youtube whilst browsing in another tab. Personally I like using Youtube as my music player and browsing in other tabs, the problem is whilst this is fine for most sites, on some heavier sites such as Engadget or BBC the music stutters for a second or two. Didn't really expect that seeing this is a A15 1.7GHz Dual core, but hey its a fanless laptop and running full desktop sites, so I let that one off. Also it seems to be a bit slow at loading pages at times, even compared to my Old Dell Studio 15 with a T4200 2GHz Dual core, but hey my Dell has a 2 hour battery life. There isn't much checkerboarding, 2GB RAM is plenty for browsing. Now what really is amazing is how fast this SSD is, I can reboot in less than 15 seconds and wake from sleep faster than unlocking a tablet. Just what I expected but its amazing to experience it. However I ran into wifi dropping issues with my wireless network at home, it seems to have problems with getting an IP address from my router just like my Nexus 7 and brothers iPad did, whilst working fine on other networks. It was quite annoying having to go into the hidden settings and enable the Static IP feature which is apparently still experimental. However once I had assigned a Static IP, my Wifi became as stable as a rock. They shouldn't have hidden that setting really, its quite essential. For future reference incase anyone else runs into a similar problem, you can find the Static IP option on the Chrome://flags page.

Now Battery life and Build Quality
Battery life definitely doesn't last 6.5 hours at my usage. As I said I like having Youtube and a few tabs up. Also I prefer using the screen at full brightness. At 100% charge, it flucturates between 4 hours to 4 hours 45 minutes for me. Which isn't too bad, considering its only a 2 cell battery and can be extended if you turn the brightness down to half. My Dell has a 9 cell battery and doesn't last this long! The screen itself isn't bright anyways at 200nits maximum brightness but for £229 its not bad. 1366x768 resolution for a 11.6" screen is very sharp in my opinion, not Retina display sharp but easily good enough. My 19" PC monitor only uses 1366x768. You don't need Retina display resolution for browsing anyways. However the colours are a bit washed out compared to my monitor whilst both of them are matte displays. But as I said for £229 it will suffice. The Keyboard as most reviewers have said, its very good. However to me it doesn't seem to go as far down as I'd like. The key travel is very shallow, but its still definitely the best laptop keyboard I've used. The size is great, I'm typing this whole review on the chromebook! The Chromebook is THIN! Like literally thin, I could easily carry this in my bag and wouldn't notice that its there as it weighs less than 1.2KG. This is truly a portable device. Some say they copied the Macbook Air but I disagree, most smartphones look similar so its not really a valid argument. Yes its plastic but what do you expect for £229? It definitely feels like it costs more, the thin unibody design and island keys is just a pleasure to look at. The touchpad is a good size for a 11.6" Laptop and the 2 finger scroll works pretty well, however it still needs a bit more gestures such as pinch to zoom. The speakers are quite loud in my opinion, maybe its because its fanless! But the problem is that its located on the front bottom corner which muffles the sound when being used on your lap. Sound quality is pretty good too in my opinion, especially with headphones, there's no background noises at all.

Now ChromeOS
This is my first experience with Chrome OS, so far so good I'd say. Better than I thought it would be. The File manager allows copying and pasting, so you can transfer some files. The Music player is very basic, it plays my MP3's but theres no repeat, shuffle features. However you can sort of make a playlist by putting them in differently folders. It plays the next song in the folder when your song finishes which is a good feature. 1080p MP4 videos play fine which was a surprise, the GPU is quite powerful I heard so I'm guessing theres some sort of Hardware Acceleration. Youtube plays 720P videos fine, 1080P videos also plays fine but isn't as smooth. I love how they replaced the Function keys for actual useful keys like back, forward, brightness and sound control, rather than having to hold a FN key to access them. Now the make or break feature for me was the Multi language keyboard input, I needed to be able to type in Chinese and well done to Google, they have included many languages that you can quickly change format by pressing alt-shift. Thats something my Nexus 7 lacked, there was too many taps and swipes to change keyboard. Now onto Apps for this laptop, don't expect Google Play or Apple App store quantity of apps, because there's not. Also most of them are web apps that rely on internet access to work, however there are quite a few offline apps such the Google Docs, Angry Birds and few other games. Google Docs is the equivalent of Microsoft Office for the Chromebook, it can save as .docx format or .pdf, theres a spreadsheet and powerpoint equivalent so its all good. A bit basic but its free and gets the job done, if you want you could fire up the office web app from Sky Drive.

Summary
Would I buy it again? Short Answer: Yes. But after using this, I feel that I could've used the extra power on the Chromebook 550 and the 0.5"" bigger screen size and a bit longer battery. But that one is £100 more expensive, weights half a pound more and is a bit thicker. I'm more than happy with this purchase, its a great on the move device. Even though it can be a bit limited with no internet, some of the offline apps were great and I can load a few movies on my 32GB SD card that I purchased for this device. Overall 4.5/5 Stars if its possible to lose half a star, because I still think the performance could've been better and the battery life claim is a bit iffy for me. My brothers iPad 4 has a much bright screen and lasts about 8 hours, this could do better for sure. Hope Google could improve performance with future updates. Overall its £229 well spent, good for those who prefer the desktop experience with a keyboard and don't like tablets. Its more of a "productivity" device. Not so good for anyone who expects to play games and "consume" content as that's a more suited use for tablets. I would recommend you to get one if you're in need of a second computer, but also look into the Samsung Chromebook 550 if you have the money.

I'll be happy to answer any questions and hope this review has been helpful,
Anthony.

Update 23/11/2013:
Almost a year in, I must say after soo many updates Google has been top in optimising the Chromebook. The scrolling seems to be much better and there are far less stuttering with Youtube background playback in tabs. However the loading times are still the same. Couldn't really compare to an iPad Air in terms of speed but the desktop browsing experience on this Chromebook is just much better than touchscreen browsing. The new three finger gestures are amazing and I've adapted completely to them. You can middle click to open in new tab or close tabs using three fingers, and swipe between tabs with three fingers. Makes the Chromebook a joy to use and puts Windows laptops to shame that doesn't offer such gestures. Still no pinch to zoom though. :( Netflix is now working and seems to able to steam the content in HD without an issue.

You might ask, do I have anything to say about the new generation Chromebook? Well first of all the HP Chromebook 11 (currently unavailable) has a better screen and build quality than this Chromebook. However it still uses the same CPU chip and RAM, doesn't have the HDMI Port or a SD card slot and is almost £50 extra. I don't know if I could justify that, however if it was the same price or just a £20 difference, I'd say go for the HP if you can live without the HDMI Port/SD Slot. The new Acer C720 looks good, but a big problem to me about that is that it seems more bulky, weights more, worse build quality and feels like they've just reused a netbook design which isn't great. Also it has a fan! Fanless design in the Samsung and HP Chromebook 11 rocks! However the Intel Chip in the Acer is miles, MILES faster than the HP and the Samsungs, and also offers 2-3 hours more battery life. So if you're willing to trade build quality and looks for performance and battery life, then go for the Acer. You couldn't go wrong with any of these devices really. The HP Chromebook 14 looks solid if you want a bigger device but I don't think theres much news on whether its coming to the UK.

My previous conclusion about the Samsung Chromebook 550 still holds true if you can find it for cheap (Under £250). I would've loved to own one of those, but £300 seems too much considering this is only £180 now. Also the Acer C720 outperforms it with a better battery life, however Acer build quality is so so. I'd still keep the 4.5/5 rating simply because this could do with a better screen and if HP can do it for the same price, Samsung could. Also it needs a SoC update as the Exynos 5250 on this is aging, even the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 2013 has better specs that this for almost the same price. Surely they could put a Snapdragon 800 or similar in without increasing the costs.

In conclusion, I can still say this Chromebook is a solid buy especially being £180 now. If you want trouble-free browsing, you can't go wrong with one of these. They take literally 10 minutes to set up from new and require zero maintenance. However I'd love Samsung to keep this design, put in a Snapdragon 805 chip as the performance could do with a boost, an IPS screen like the HP Chromebook 11, Micro USB Charging maybe? and perhaps a bigger battery. But is that too much to ask for? We can only sit back and watch.

Anthony
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VINE VOICEon 11 December 2012
I've had my Samsung Series 3 Chromebook for over a month now. It first caught my eye when I saw it in a local store and thought that it looked nice -- and was blown away by the price. I didn't realise it was a "netbook" (in the real sense of that word) rather than a standard laptop. I did a little research and discovered a lot about Chromebooks before I purchased it. I am delighted that I did.

I have a smartphone (S3), tablet (Nexus 7), laptop (Asus) and desktop PC so I wasn't sure how the Chromebook would fit it. I shouldn't have worried. It is a niche product that serves a unique purpose. I take it with me when I have a little work to do, too much work for a tablet but not so much that I need a full powered Windows laptop. Because I often have "a little work to do", I use the Chromebook more than any of my other computers.

It's wonderfully portable and wonderfully fast (for what it does). It's not a laptop replacement any more than it's a tablet replacement. It sits between these devices. You can slip it in your bag and forget you have it. Because it's effectively instant-on, you can start it up, check and reply to an e-mail, and close it down in minutes. Try that on a tablet or a laptop. I am writing this review on my Chromebook and it is taking me no longer than using my laptop (minus the long wait for it to boot and the usual PC/Mac crap when you start a browser). I dread to think how long this would take me on an iPad.

It has good I/O facilities (USB 2/3, HDMI, wifi, SD card) and a decent keyboard and usable screen (its weakest feature). The trackpad is excellent but you can use a standard wired or wireless mouse with it (I use the Microsoft wireless mouse).

It's a perfect travel companion. Light, small, long battery, with full size keyboard and large(ish) screen.

I unreservedly recommend it. But not to replace anything. I still use my tablet or laptop or desktop PC as well as this Chromebook. They all serve a different purpose. Although this baby is becoming a favourite.
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