Samsung Series 5 Chromebook Review

The Samsung Series 5 is their first netbook to run on Google’s Chrome OS. The Chrome OS is a completely cloud based OS and is a great concept from Google....

The Samsung Series 5 is their first netbook to run on Google’s Chrome OS. The Chrome OS is a completely cloud based OS and is a great concept from Google.

The Chromebook features the standard netbook specs, although with a larger screen and SSD drive.

  • Google Chrome OS
  • 12.1-inch matte screen (1280 x 800) with LED backlighting
  • Intel Atom N570 dual-core processor (1.66 GHz)
  • Intel integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16GB SSD (SanDisk SDSA4DH-016G NAND flash)
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Mobile Broadband: Verizon 3G
  • Two USB 2.0 ports and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card reader
  • Built-in 6-cell Li-ion battery (8280 mAh)
  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.6 x 0.8-inches
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds

As you can see it also has a dual-core processor instead of the usual single core we see in most netbooks.

The construction is great as you would expect from a Samsung. The keyboard is full size and very nice to type on, and there is a large trackpad with multitouch (and no buttons). There have been some complaints about left and right clicks being mistaken for each other occasionally, but there are driver updates available for it that fix these and make it an excellent trackpad to use.

It includes the usual ports, 2 x USB, card reader, headphones, etc. The VGA out and a usb port are hidden behind a small access panel which makes for a cleaner look.

The OS is browser based, so anything that you want to do is based on using browser based apps such as google docs, email, chrome, etc. The Chrome OS now allows you to do offline document editing which is a huge improvement from the first versions which only functioned if you had an internet connection.

The Series 5 does come with 2 years of Verizon’s 3G service, but will cost you around $50 per month after that (some data plans are less). The 2 years free service includes up to 100MB of data usage which most people won’t go over. And if you’re not going to be using it on the road alot, the wifi only model can be had for only $349 from Amazon.

There is a 1Mp front-facing webcam for video chat which integrates very well using Google Plus circles. Of course other video chat programs work with it as well but Google made sure this one works especially smooth.

The whole point of the Chrome OS is to have a fast start time, and it delivers. With the SSD drive it will boot into the OS in around 7 seconds, and less than 1 second from stand-by.

The battery life is stated by Samsung at 8.5 hours with continuous use, and in real life testing this is a very accurate number. With the lid closed the netbook will go into a hibernation mode where the battery will last almost forever, so you don’t have to worry about it slowly discharging while sitting around.

The question is really what you spend most of your time doing on your computer. If it’s document editing, surfing the web, watching movies and playing games then you’ll probably be very happy with a Chromebook. If you’re doing some video editing, playing graphics intensive games, or need a desktop replacement this probably isn’t the computer for you.

You can pickup a 3G equipped Chromebook for around $425 from Amazon, or a wifi only model for only $349.