After my 13″ Macbook met its untimely demise late last year, I purchased the new-to-market Samsung Chromebook. It took some getting used to, but I’ve come to love my Chromebook dearly. My buddy Andrew asked for my thoughts on the netbook since it’s been a part of my life for more than six months now. Because people do generally want to know what a real user thinks of the Chromebook (as opposed to power-users who are pissed with its limitations), I figured I’d just share my response to him. Wanna know what life is like with the $250 Samsung Chromebook? Read on.
Honestly, the Chromebook is a netbook on steroids. I absolutely love it. It’s best optimized when you adopt the full Google suite of products, with the most important one being Google Drive. Sure there are limitations to not running a Windows or Mac OS so you’re unable to download and run a lot of common applications. However, there are web-based alternatives everywhere. I’ve found online FTP clients, photo editors, a web-based Spotify player, and video editors (actually, I edited ALL of my ninja packing videos in the cloud on Youtube).
Also, The applications in Drive integrate well with MS Office in case you ever need to do something of that nature. Drive syncs to my Samsung Galaxy S III so everything is accessible. You can also make your Drive available offline so that it makes local copies of your work accessible when not connected to WIFI. The point is for you to save your work in the cloud, but there is still a bit of local storage if you ever want to save anything to the hard drive. And there’s a built-in SD port so you can expand your memory that way as well.
I never really got over it having a matte screen instead of a glossy one, and the built-in camera is crappy (slow on the video capture and the image quality is mediocre at best–actually the GS3 does camera significantly better than the Chromebook). Still, as someone who primarily uses the thing to surf the web, write, crop & resize photos, and edit together simple videos, I’d say this was the best $250 I’ve spent. I feel like the people who hate the Chromebook were hoping they could get a Macbook Air for $250. Their expectations were way out of line. As someone who’s been a poweruser in the past, I can still appreciate the versatility of a machine this simple. Plus, it’s lightweight and the battery life is awesome.