If you like staying up to date with the latest gadgets and news coming from the technology domain, you will probably appreciate the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 which is an appealing and affordable mini laptop that has been designed mostly to keep its user connected to the Internet. If you prefer using web-based applications like Gmail and Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office, this is truly an interesting method to stay online. Aside from this, you also get a decent battery life, instant-on performance and seamless built-in security, among other goodies which we will talk about.
Your Chromebook experience starts right from the moment when you open the laptop for the first time. Once you open the laptop’s lid the screen will light up and then you won’t spend too much time with the start-up process as all you have to do is connect to the Wi-Fi network, accept the terms of Google’s operating system, create or sign in into your Google account, choose an image associated to the user and you are done. We should also mention that there is also a brief tutorial about the touchpad and after that you are good and ready to start surfing the web.
You will certainly appreciate the absence of bloatware since the laptops running on this operating system have web-based apps. If you click the Home button located in the browser it will direct you to the cool Chrome Web apps collection. If you already have a Google account, the experience will be more than enjoyable since everything will be synced so all of your stuff will show up.
Let’s talk about the hardware components of this Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and mention that it is powered by a dual core Intel Atom N570 processor clocked at 1.66 GHz. In the memory department it packs 2GB of DDR3 running at 1,333 MHz while for storage you get only a small 16GB SSD (solid state drive). The chipset in this mini laptop is an Intel NM10 Express while the graphics power is handled by the integrated solution in the form of the NM10 Graphics Chipset. The system measures 11.6 x 8.6 x 0.8 inches and has a curb weight of 6.2 pounds or 0.7 pounds more if we take into account the AC adapter.
Even though for a first-time Chrome user the experience is very cool and interesting, in a small amount of time this luster will begin to wear off since some basic tasks are not supported. For example, you won’t be able to open a ZIP file because there is no support for this type of archive. On a Windows or Mac system this will take a few seconds to complete the task while for a Chromebook you will have to find a website, upload your ZIP file, wait until the file is processed and after that download the file.
From this issue rises another problem as you will basically need an Internet connection all of the time with a Chromebook since there aren’t a lot of offline apps. There are a few in the Chrome Web Store but most of them are in fact games, which are not that good by the way. However, since this system is design mostly for Internet use, this won’t be a real problem for those people that decide to opt for a Chromebook. The good thing is that if you are working on Google Docs and you lose your Internet connection, you won’t lose your work with the condition that you don’t close the tab. After the Internet connection is back, Google Docs will do an automatic save so your work will be safe.
As far as ports and connectivity features are concerned, the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 comes with VGA out in the video department, while for audio you only get a headphone / microphone jack. In the data area we notice two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader. You won’t find an expansion port or an optical drive, while in the networking department it comes with 3G mobile broadband and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
It features a 12.1-inch widescreen LCD display has a native resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels which is better than most of the netbooks that came out last year. We are dealing with a matte screen so you won’t have to worry about distracting reflections if you will be using this Chromebook outdoors or in bright lightning. What we don’t like are the disappointing viewing angles which means that you will have to sit right in front of the screen to get the best picture possible. The screen manages to be very bright and it can automatically adjust the brightness on its own which his quite a nice feature especially if you travel a lot and there are changing light conditions.
Regarding the keyboard, this seems to be quite large and comfortable and comes with dedicated buttons for Web navigation. You won’t find the traditional Caps Lock button because this has been replaced by the Search key. You also get keys for refreshing, paging backward and forward, switching browser windows and going full screen. We don’t have a lot of things to say about the touchpad because it works as it should.
Probably one of the best features of this Samsung Chromebook Series 5 would have to be its great battery life, allowing the system to run for eight and a half hours of continuous use according to Samsung, a result determined by an internal Google battery test. This test consists of doing e-mail, web browsing, watching videos at default screen brightness, using web applications and Wi-Fi connection on at all times and without the system staying in idle. We have to warn you tough that the body of this mini laptop is sealed so there probably isn’t a way to change the battery.
All things considered, this is a suitable choice for those of you that want to stay connected to the Internet all of the time and you don’t want to pay a lot of money. Speaking of money, when it came out, the model which we’ve talked about cost only $499 while other similar systems from other manufacturers are even more affordable.