When Samsung's Chromebook from Google debuted last fall, marketers dubbed it the laptop “for everyone” — young and old, experienced and rookie computer users, families, college students, web surfers, game players, etc.
For people who are already plugged into Google's assortment of products, like Google Mail, Docs or Hangouts, the $249 basic Samsung Chromebook lives up to its expectations. For people who aren't as familiar with the Google system, it works nicely as advertised, but it will require a learning curve, some patience and a need to sign up with a Google Mail account.
As promised, the Google Chromebook is thin (less than an inch) and light (2.4 pounds) and starts up quickly. A tutorial will walk you through how to use it.
If you want a basic device that feels like a laptop instead of a tablet consider the Chromebook. It has a full keyboard instead of a tablet's touch screen and is a great device as a secondary computer for checking email, surfing the web and creating documents or photo editing on the go. Chromebook-specific apps, online at https://chrome.google.com/webstore, include
apps like Picasa, Google Drive, Evernote, Instagram, Dropbox, Pandora, The Weather Channel and other Google offerings for reading books, playing music, checking news and editing photos. Android users will find many of them familiar.
Unlike a laptop, however, the Chromebook doesn't have much internal storage, and Google is pushing the things you create on it to the cloud, off your device. A Chromebook purchase comes with 100 GB of storage free for two years. Documents created on the Chromebook are associated with your Google Gmail ID and then are available on any device or website you use to log into Google.
The Chromebook is designed for people who have access to WiFi most of the time.
Overall, I loved the feel of the Samsung Chromebook that Google loaned me and would definitely consider purchasing one as a hearty, secondary computer for my family. The problem with all of these ecosystems, whether from Google, Apple or Windows, is that once you've committed to one, it's hard to switch to another.
Each system has its own app store and unique operating system to learn. If you have the patience to learn Google's, then enjoy the Chromebook and let me know what you think.
The Chromebook with Wifi is $249; a 3G-enabled one is $329. Google also now offers a higher-end touch screen laptop Chromebook Pixel, starting at $1,299.
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