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on 22 April 2014
The charger just stopped working and I can't get Skype. It didn't come with the USIM like it said and it won't right-click.
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on 2 June 2015
You can't use your own dongle stick or internet, it only works for Wifi.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 November 2014
Chromebooks in general seem to get a bad reputation for only being useful when connected to the internet, or using cloud storage. But if you understand the Chromebooks limitations, and you're somebody who mainly uses your computer for internet surfing (like me), then you will love this simple little computer.

*** Pros ***

✓ Price – when you look at what hardware you're getting for the price, this machine really is a good buy!
✓ Incredible battery life – Lasts a good 9 hours+
✓ Access all your word documents, excel files, etc online
✓ Boots incredibly fast - It boots up in less than 10 seconds. Compared to my Windows PC which can take up to a minute
✓ Clean user interface – easy to pick up if you already use Google Chrome
✓ If you're currently a Google user, set up takes about 10 seconds
✓ No viruses – Saving money on yearly antivirus subscriptions
✓ Chrome Remote Desktop is awesome and free for those times you need to access your Windows machine (although oddly doesn't allow you to remote into other Chromebooks)
✓ Screen size, resolution, brightness, and viewing angles are absolutely stunning
✓ No Bloatware
✓ Regular OS updates – fast & free! No more sitting around waiting for Windows updates.
✓ Recovery media can be downloaded for free – Most manufacturers charge at least £30 when ordering recovery media for Windows based PC's.
✓ Store everything in the cloud making files more accessible from other devices.

*** Cons ***

The main downside when it comes to any Chromebook is compatibility. if you need to run specific Windows-based software or If you use a lot of native Windows apps: iTunes, Skype, Photoshop, and you're not willing to switch to web-based alternatives (Spotify, Hangouts, Pixlr), then this item isn't for you. There are millions of apps and extensions available however, its just a case of doing a bit of research.

Most external devices with the exception of external hard drives and memory sticks won't be detected by this Chromebook. For printing, the Chromebook requires a Google Cloud Print compatible printer, or a Cloud Print Server and setting this up can sometimes be a bit fiddly. Most newer printers tend to be compatible with more and more cloud services however as this becomes the norm.

I've come across a lot of people who say they hate Chromebooks and try and take them back. I generally find this is because its different to what they are use to and don't want to take the time to find alternatives for the programs they use now. It is different, and it will take some getting use to, but if you stick with it, you will like it. If anything, I now prefer some of the online alternatives to the Windows based programs!

If you're looking for a cheap laptop for someone who's not very confident with PC's, this is a good laptop for someone who needs something simple for browsing, but they might need some pointers if they get stuck.
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on 2 November 2012
Don't expect an in depth review I'm not that geeky but I will say that the Chromebook is great, lift the screen and you're away, easy peasy, light, responsive touchpad and fast. Love it
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 October 2012
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 16 September 2015
Bought as 'pre-loved' refurbished laptop because I didn't know if I'd like a Chromebook. I'm accustomed to Windows, but my Windows 7 laptop crashed after the Windows 10 upgrade. It did restore to Windows 7, then failed totally a few days later. Therefore this purchase. The refurbished laptop itself performs admirably - within it's limits. The difference is that the Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, using Chrome web browser. As a laptop to surf the web without any complicated operating system, the Chromebook is fast, responsive, very light in use, very long battery life between charges, and basically does what it says on the tin. What the Chromebook is not, is a full-fledged operating system. However, with Google's apps, like Google doc, Google cloud (MyDrive) it is very useable, both to surf the web, email (with a free Google account), type documents, save to the cloud. Also to order items, read Kindle books on Kindle Cloud Reader - Google has a Kindle app plus others. I was especially pleased that I could prop the Chromebook on my lap to read my ebook, jot a note, look up the web, or place an order without bothering to start up my other computer. I can't and won't comment on Google's apps, since I only wanted the basic ones - documents, email, with maybe an ereader. Anyway, this review is about the Chromebook. Anyone wanting a simple, lightweight (in weight and range of programmes - you have to use Google's apps for Chrome) might like to consider one of the Chromebooks. Personally I wouldn't have it as my sole computer, but for browsing the web, quick notes, reading ebooks, carrying around, ordering online, I find this refurbished Chromebook very useful indeed. Coupled with a Windows/Linux computer (or Mac, if that's your preference) for my accustomed programmes like OpenOffice/Libre Office, I am happy with my venture into Google's Chrome OS and this refurbished Samsung Chromebook. If you're thinking of a Chromebook, I would strongly recommend you read one of Amazon's ebooks about Chromebooks - there's some very reasonably priced ones to choose from. This is not a Windows computer, and I'd urge you know what you're buying if you choose a Chromebook, which has a totally different operating system from Windows (or, I believe, Mac). But the Chromebook has it's own advantages - fast, light and convenient.
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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 April 2014
From reading these reviews, I took a 50:50 chance and purchased this product. I was very excited. I required this laptop for schoolwork, coursework and even GCSE work in the near future. However, not having Microsoft the programs provided were very limited as was what you could do within them. It was hard to insert pictures from the internet (vital when doing coursework) and hard to see a clear structure of the document you were actually making. Additionally, the keyboard was very simple and basic with no F keys, delete/home/insert/print screen keys. (Also vital when doing coursework, as evidence is needed).

In saying this, while it is true that the laptop is very basic, I would recommend it for people with Google phones such as moto g etc. I personally do, and as it is a Google laptop, the music I downloaded on my phone went straight to the laptop (like Apple products).

Overall, in my opinion think carefully about what/who you are purchasing this laptop for, as its variety of uses are very limited.
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on 1 January 2014
I have to admit that I didn't use a Windows PC even before adopting this Samsung Chromebook for everyday use. If you're happy to forget using Windows applications such as Word and Excel and rely on Google Apps alternatives then this is without a doubt the best way to go.

Battery lasts for 6+ hours of solid use (months after purchase) and because of the fast boot and (equally) fast shutdown time you can preserve the battery between short bursts of usage since it is a matter of about six seconds to wait for startup to browsing - and you really can get work done without constant prompts for an update for something or other or an antivirus scan that all but locks out any Windows laptop I've ever had.

You can watch video smoothly and with rather good sound...though you won't hear any disc or fan noise which of course adds an unwanted background distraction on a regular laptop.

Keyboard is excellent for document and email typing. Could only ask for a backlit keyboard to make it perfect.

Finally, on the plus side there is the price. You just can't argue at this price. I have picked up a Google Chromecast on Amazon and use it with the Samsung Chromebook to cast iPlayer to my TV - brilliant.

As far as any negatives go, I'd have to say that the display is not excellent as you would find with a high end tablet (thinking Nexus rather than iPad as a comparison). However, it is perfectly good for everyday use and provides a great video streaming picture and is of course, great for browsing the web.
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on 6 December 2012
Chrome OS is really like riding a bicycle. Its easier than you think to learn, the limitations are easy to understand but it'll still suit most people's needs 9 times out of 10. Unlike a bike however, the training wheels for Chrome OS are free, so there's nothing stopping you starting your practice run now and seeing how you like it. All you need is to download the Chrome browser, sign into it with your Google account so that everything is synced wherever you login, download the extensions/apps you need (I recommend Check Plus For Email, Google Calendar Checker extensions which allow you to view pop-ups of both from your browser, a password manager if you don't already use Google for password storage, grab yourself a nice theme such as "Blue Space Sunset", Tweetdeck for twitter and Facebook, offline Gmail and Evernote for notes), then try to use nothing else for a week and see what limitations you have. For me its just image editing but I'd want to do that on a big screen anyway, no access to videos on my home network (although you can play files directly on the chromebook from a memory card or if stored internally) and some reduced streaming options.

For some people these limitations will be a deal-breaker and if so fair enough, Chrome OS probably isn't for you. For me though its perfect. I wanted to stop limiting myself, locking information to specific devices or echo-systems for no apparent reason. In general I was doing a good job but Chrome OS pushes you on so much more, as it encourages you to think differently. You have options like Spotify on the web or Google Music for audio, Google Movies, Youtube, BBC iPlayer etc for film and tv needs, apps like Kindle for books and magazines or Comixology for comics, google talk for voice calls (only 9p per minute to call mobiles!), google calendar, various task tools that can sync with google tasks such as Any.do, obviously the google bookmarks syncing and numerous other options I haven't mentioned. But most importantly, you can replicate your experience anywhere, as long as you have the Chrome browser.

The device itself is brilliant as its lightweight, has great battery life, very good keyboard, is highly portable and at great price. I think the best thing about Chrome OS is that it reminds you that ultimately laptops, pcs and even the internet itself are nothing more than utilities for the majority, and its up to you to make the most of them. Instead of spending over a grand on an Apple something or some incredibly superpowered laptop or pc you'll use 95% of the time for browsing only, you can get a Chromebook and a reasonably powered tower intel i5 pc a midrange i3 or i5 laptop combined for half the price, and still have enough left over for a couple of years worth of Spotify premium usage, premium Evernote membership, Lovefilm membership, Amazon prime... :)
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