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Samsung_Chromebook_backview_webres

Samsung Chromebook is $249, skinny and already outdated

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of... More

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Samsung and Google have lifted the lid on the new Chromebook, an exceptionally underpowered device for US$249. For those who watched the video above, this online-only laptop really is “for everyone”. Just not for us.

Underwhelming specs

The new Samsung Chromebook has an 11.6-inch screen, is two-inches (5.08cm) thick and weighs a mere 1.1Kg. It runs Chrome OS, an operating system that has to be online to operate. All information is stored on the cloud, the Chromebook saves nothing save for basic user details.

The CPU is a very weedy 1.7Ghz. There’s 16GB flash memory which, as mentioned earlier, is not for standard storage purposes. The screen runs at HD, or 1366×768 but 1080p video is supported. With this little processing power, the bundled 2GB RAM suits the new Samsung Chromebook just fine.

There are a few connectivity options. HDMI, an SD card slot, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports plus Bluetooth 3.0. Finally, Google’s chucking in 100GB of cloud storage.

Obviously, the new Chromebook is not for tech-heads like us. But at this price, it may find a core casual audience and play the same trick Nintendo did with the Wii and the upcoming Wii U. Tech doesn’t need to be frightening and complex.

The Chromebook is positioned as “throwaway” laptop of sorts. Buy one, says Google. Hell, buy three and use one Chromebooks as a dinner plate. Here’s what Google has to say about it. “If you ever felt it was too complicated and too expensive to have an additional computer (or two), we hope you (and the entire family) will give the new Chromebook a try.”

And guess what? It’s available for purchase right now. At least this time it’s cheap and underwhelming, compared to the last batch of Chromebooks which were ridiculously  expensive and woefully underpowered. Progress?


  • Filipe

    It is 2.5 pounds, not Kg!!!! Converting to kilos is about ~1.1Kg.

  • Mike Smithson

    Have you actually seen and used one. My guess is not given your review.

    I got one 10 days ago to see what it was like and amazingly it has replaced both my lap-top and tablet.

    There’s a sheer joy in having a unit that is totally silent and boots up in seven seconds. There are no irritating software updates to deal with and, of course, the virus protection is done in the cloud.

    It’s very light and the keyboard is brilliant.

    Because the CPU has to do very little apart from supporting the browser it’s pretty fast.

    The main criticism is that you almost always need an internet connection to make it work – but how often do people use their laptops when there isn’t a connection?

    Most of us now have smartphones which have built in wi-fi hot-spots for tethering. Connectivity is not an issue 99% of the time.

    For most people the Chromebook makes traditional laptop obsolete. Maybe one day you will catch up.

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