Many internet users prefer web browsers other than Microsoft Explorer, one of those browsers being Google Chrome. Samsung is now offering the Chromebook model XE303C12 which runs on Chrome OS, browser-based and cloud-focused. Consider it a laptop running a web browser.
The release of this laptop seems to be Google's way of showing their Chrome OS is a solid option for those serious about their web surfing. The Chromebook is the perfect option for those who only need a computer at home to browse the internet quickly and securely, and at the same time don't want to break the bank.
More Google, Please
Google already exists in the lives of so many each day. If you aren't “googling” it, you're likely hanging out in the Google cloud using Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Drive. So how does Google do when building a laptop? Hardware may not be anything to write home about, but it does its job nicely. Power up is quick, and the battery performs well and lasts for a decent amount of time. The key selling point for this laptop: the $249 price tag.
It must be noted that if you are one of those users who has a plethora of tabs open (over 15 or so at the same time), you'll likely notice the system taking a bit longer to process your requests. If this describes you, I'd probably consider another option.
Design Changes and Features
What's different in the XE303C12 and Chromebooks previously released? Besides price, size is considerably smaller. It sports an 11.6-inch screen, and is also lighter and thinner than its predecessors. It is also different in terms of power, relying on Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual, a low-power processor. It is built on ARM's dual-core system-on-a-chip Cortex A15 design, and has a mere 2GB of memory.
Its size makes it a bit smaller than the MacBook Air in terms of how narrow it is, but is deeper and thicker. The touch pad is quite big, and as long as you aren't pushing its limits, the battery life is exactly what Samsung promised (about 6 hours.) A nice design addition: a scalloped groove for your thumb to more easily flip up the screen. The touchpad is a step up from some higher priced laptops, bringing some Apple innovation such as two-finger tap to right-click. The Chromebook also offers a chiclet keyboard without backlighting.
The screen offers a decent resolution (1,366X768, not quite full HD for 1080p video) and brightness, as well as a matte coating to combat glare. However, it isn't amazingly vivid, and doesn't offer a wide viewing angle. The speakers are less than stellar, so if sound is your thing, you'll need your external speakers or headphones. Also, there is an SD card lot, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, HDMI 1.4 port, USB dongle for Ethernet (if you don't want to use the 802.11n Wi-Fi), webcam, and 16 GB of flash memory. Google is also offering Chromebook customers 100GB of space on Google Drive for two years.
Is It For Me?
To make a decision, you need to ask yourself what you'll be using the Chromebook for. If you are a Google fan, only browse a couple tabs at a time, and need quick and secure access to the internet this will likely do the trick. If you do more than browse the internet, you might want to rethink your decision. Whether or not it works out for you, the $249 price tag makes it a lot easier to give it a try.