Why I love my Samsung Chromebook

A real user's review of the Samsung Chromebook

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.

Author: Quia Querisma

Quia Querisma is a designer shoe-wearing digital diva, jetsetting boulevardierre, and freelance writer who's teaching you how to pack like a freaking ninja.

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13 Comments

  1. What you wrote in this article is TOTALLY what I was wondering! THANKS!

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  2. I totally agree. I got the top of the line Series 5 last fall for around $450, and though it took some getting used to (what doesn’t??) I think people are NUTS not to give it a shot.

    Like you, I had a 13-inch MacBook go down and I thought to myself, “Do I really want to spend over $1,000 for another computer?” After all, I have a 17-in MacBook Pro for my “hardcore” stuff, like video editing. But I’ve noticed something over the last six months. I find myself choosing the Chromebook over the MacBook nine times out of 10 for anything BUT video editing. Google Drive has become second nature to me. Docs are extremely easy to use and keep me far more organized than I am with my Mac (where I tend to save to the desktop thinking “Oh I’ll organize that later,” which I then never get around to). Plus, it’s incredibly convenient to have a computer that is so extremely portable (I find myself using it even in place of my iPad in some instances now), both in the house when you’re just kickin’ it on the couch, and while traveling, which I do several times a month. Hmmm…should I take my 100-pound gorilla 17-inch MacBook Pro to the airport, or my feather-light-easy-to-remove-from-my-laptop-bag Chromebook? Yeah, you can guess which one wins that battle.

    Now, I’m lucky to a certain extent in that I was an early adopter of Google Docs, but I think anyone who has any patience at all can pick it up quickly. If they don’t have patience, well, they were probably one of those people who refused to try a Mac for 20 years until they got an iPhone and then thought, “Oh so THIS is why people love Macs!” It’ll take them another 20 years to try something as different as a Chromebook.

    One thing I really find hilarious is that people are either totally intrigued or totally snobbish (usually Mac owners) when they see the Chromebook. I work out of an office in Phoenix where our design staff, like me, is filled with Apple fanatics. So when I bring in my Chromebook, I get loads of crap…until they see me keeping up with them in everything they do. In other more public venues, I’ve had several people ask me about it, semi-fascinated.

    To anyone reading this while researching the CB, all I can say is TRY IT. (Make sure you get Series 5 or newer.) Be patient, work with Google Drive, learn Docs, be curious…it’ll pay off. If you just can’t get into it, take it back. Do I think this should be the ONLY computer you have? Not yet. But it’s a great second computer that I can almost guarantee will end up being your daily driver.

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    • I love that you shared your experience as well. People ought to know that the Chromebook isn’t so bad because let’s be real: the majority of the population uses their computer for word processing, email, streaming media, and browsing the web… all of which CB does exceptionally well (and for CHEAP).

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  3. Even your “simple” uses have me baffled–I am such an inexperienced user of computers…at age 66 I use it mostly to write a blog, hold and view and print my photos, and check up on my grandkids on Facebook. Now I have the Samsung Chromebook, and do pretty much the same thing, but I don’t even know where to find the photos I have taken with the onboard camera or how to find stuff in the cloud, (I had it take the photos off my desktop, and now I can’t tell what they are on the Cloud.) Even the “Help” on the Chromebook is confusing to me. Does anyone teach this stuff?

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    • Sorry to hear that you’re running into challenges. You may have some luck finding a tutorial on Youtube.

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    • Howdy Joanne, on your Chromebook if you click into where apps are found look for an app called “Get Started” it may look like a green tile with a large check mark inside. This is a tutorial of using your Chromebook. There are plenty of tutorials found on Youtube as another suggested as well. Or if you like, you can ask me. I used to answer these questions in another life. :)

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  4. Absolutely agree. Chromebook is a breeze to use. No longer having to worry about system viruses, updates or crashes simplifies and revolutionizes interaction with computers in several ways. I would say it’s definitely a step towards the future. I have the Acer. Its super fast and perfect for everything I need from a computer. It’s cheap but solid making it affordable and easy for anyone to use. My work is always automatically backed up and if the Acer ever breaks I can replace it 5 times before it would cost as much as a single $1300 laptop.

    Its of little use offline but these days an offline computer is about as useful as a doorstop. Wireless is pretty much ubiquitous and when its not I use my cell as a hotspot.

    There is just something wonderful about getting and keeping things simple. Certainly a huge step towards making the world’s knowledge accessible to everyone. That can’t be bad.

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  5. typos. redo:

    So I take a lot of pictures of my kids and EDIT them using ipiccy or picmonkey online. I download them to my computer, then resave the adjusted pics to my external hard drive.

    are you able to upload pictures from your camera to the computer and then … from your computer back to the hard drive?

    basically… I am having a hard time understanding the whole “working totally online” thing. how do you download pics from your camera to the computer if it’s all online?

    I’m also on google drive. love it for the most part. some of the features in the docs is not as advanced as I like on my word.

    just the pictures is my big thing.

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  6. Just curious, which FTP client do you use?

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