Samsung 11″ Chromebook Review
I started traveling more often in the past couple of months which had me considering an ultra-portable laptop. While I was mostly only considering the Macbook Air, since I am an Apple fanboy, the Google Chromebook was always appealing to me. Less than a 7 second boot up time and simple auto update features make the Chromebook very attractive, not to mention the 100GB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years. After reviewing the many Chromebook models I decided to look at the most recent HP 11 model and a year old Samsung Chromebook.
As I reviewed specs on both the Samsung and new HP 11 I realized both models used the same processor. Due to this, and BestBuy’s rather large discount for old stock, I decided getting the year old Samsung model would be the best bet. Samsung’s 11” Chromebook msrp is $249 but with the extremely generous BestBuy discount of 40% I was able to get it for a little over $160 shipped. At that price the included 100GB Google Drive storage it paid for itself.
Trackpad does two finger scroll
Comfortable keyboard and customizable keys
Long battery life
Keyboard not backlit
Performance is a little slow
Video performance sometimes choppy
Wifi only, no ethernet port
I was pleasantly surprised when I started using the Chromebook and it responded to the two finger scroll I was so used to with my Mac. I was a little disappointed with the alt and ctrl key placement but quickly found out those keys were customizable from the settings menu so I was able to configure in a more Mac like placement. The keyboard keys are a normal size not one of those compact keyboards typically used on small laptops so I do enjoy typing on it. My one disappointment with the keyboard is the lack of backlighting, as I’m sure most of you are aware it makes typing in dark places like planes a lot easier. But for the price I can overlook the missing backlit keyboard.
Overall performance has been very good handling all web usage like email, many open internet tabs and general web surfing. The 1.7Ghz dual core processor is good but the laptop would benefit from having extra processing power. Video playback from YouTube and Netflix seemed to work relatively well but there were times when it would get choppy and buffer for a few seconds. Although to watch movies on a plane the laptop is perfect given the small form factor.
So far the battery life has been very good, once fully charged usage can go for 2 days with about 3-4 hours of mixed web browsing, email and video watching. I have yet to test it for a full day of use to see where it stacks up. The display is crisp enough for the light usage I plan on using the laptop for and changing the brightness is very easy for different ambient lighting.
Based on my experience and what I paid for the Samsung Chromebook I would recommend it as a secondary computer. It is not something I would want to use everyday but for the occasional trip where I don’t want to lug around a 15″ Macbook this does quite nicely.
Update 11/13/13: Glad I purchased the Samsung, retailers started pulling HP 11 Chromebook inventory of the shelf allegedly due to performance issues. Waiting to see what happens but there has been a lot of negative press about the processor and performance of the new HP model.