Samsung Series 5 Chromebook Review - HotHardware

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook Review

11 thumbs up
Google's Chrome OS came close to being labeled vaporeware after its highly publicized initial announcement, at least by some. But at Google, there was never any doubt about its future. Just as they have done with the Chrome Web browser, Google has poured tons of resources into Chrome OS. It's a radical system, no matter how you slice it. It's the world's first commercially available desktop operating system that relies almost entirely in the cloud. That alone takes a moment to digest.


This whole thing started last year with the introduction of the CR-48. That little black laptop shipped out to a select group of early adopters (around 65,000 machines) who put the very first Chrome OS builds through their paces. It was new. It was refreshing. It was different. But was it cut out for mainstream use? In Google's mind, the answer was always "yes." They then took the next half-year to respond to criticisms from the CR-48 launch, and at this year's Google I/O conference, out popped two more Chrome OS-based laptops, dubbed Chromebooks. Acer's AC700 and Samsung's Series 5 were first out of the gate, eager to take on the public and give them a taste of what it's like to live in the cloud.

Samsung beat Acer to the punch in terms of shipments; the first Series 5 machines started shipping in the U.S. in June of 2011, and that's the unit that we're reviewing here. It's a white model with built-in Verizon Wireless 3G (100MB provided "free" for two years). Let's take a look at the specifications, which are actually dictated by Google to ensure a solid, reliable experience to users across machines.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Atom N570 (1.66GHz; Dual-Core)
  • 2GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 12.1" LCD (1280x800) 300-nit Matte Display
  • 16GB mSATA SSD
  • Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • No Optical Drive
  • Video Output (VGA dongle included)
  • USB 2.0 x 2
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack (Headphone/Mic)
  • SD / MMC / SDHC / SDXC Multimedia card reader
  • Clickable Multi-Gesture Trackpad
  • 1.0MP Webcam
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 3.73 Pounds / 4.5lbs with external battery
  • SIM Card Slot (3G Model Only)
  • Non-removable 6-cell battery (up to 8.5 claimed hours)
  • 11.6" x 8.6" x 0.8"
  • 3.26 Pounds
  • Chrome OS
  • 100MB VZW 3G Data Per Month for 2 Years (3G Model Only)
  • Price (as tested): $499
  • Price (starting): $429
  • 1-Year Warranty




The Series 5 Chromebook is an interesting device. It's definitely somewhat alien, but then again, what else would we say about a notebook with an operating system that flies in the face of traditional convention? Chrome OS breaks into an entirely new world, so we're going to do our best in the pages to come to describe what it's like living in the cloud, and who the Chromebook is really cut out for.

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Sounds like a good work in progress. Google just needs to iron out a few things and they could have a real winner on their hands, It looks pretty sleek and with WiFi continuously expanding internet could be less of a concern down the road. Thanks for the review :)

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Mhm... it'll be a few years before this even picks up. Feels like everyone is jumping upon the "cloud"... the kinks still need to be worked out... but we're on good track.

I think my university has been looking into this for some time... cloud based OS for their general tasks. Would be pretty cool if they can host their own customized version of ChromeOS on their own servers for students to use. Something like that, its possible.

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I see very little that's actually better than going the cheaper Win7 road. It would be alright to be handicapped by the software if the price was lower than a Win 7 laptop but it's the complete opposite. Even as someone who likes Google I can't even recommend this to anyone. I wouldn't even give the HH Approved stamp.

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Chromebooks are great, at least mine is for me. I have access to all of my files wherever I am, and have apps for photo editing, word processing, and just about anything else I used my last laptop for. Plus, it's up and running in far less time than what a Windows or OS X machine takes. Connectivity isn't an issue for me, as I have access to WiFi at home and work, can run a wireless tether of my Android phone's 4G connection, and have the free 100mb of 3G per month via Verizon when all else fails. The only thing I can't do on my Chromebook is play graphic intensive video games...which I couldn't care less about.

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I have one too and my experience is pretty much the same as DMcVey. I knew what I was getting into with it, but between various wifi sources, using my mobile hotspot on my Thunderbolt, and the built-in 3G for those rare times when nothing else is available it's no problem being always connected.

So far I'm very happy with it.

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It isn't worth the premium price point.

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I would love to buy a browser! :D lol that's basically what ur getting and for the price it dosn't seem to justify. But hey if you want it :)

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It does cost a little too much, but I love it!!!! It should only get better over time! I do not get those criticizing it for being only web, mostly because I am always on the web. There are a few things to iron out, but no real problems or even annoyances yet It is fast in every way, which make it significantly better than WIN7 devices and with a win7 device I am going to turn it on and use nothing but a chrome browser, so no advantage there.

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If we all lived in a world with great net infrastructure and constant, cheap, always-on connectivity then this would be a no-brainer. Just carry your docs on USB flash drives which are getting bigger and cheaper.

However, we aren't there yet. The fact that connectivity isn't there yet will hamper this product (in fact, it has).

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Just found them at Amazon for $350.00, but it's still too much money for so little real capability.

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