Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Samsung Chromebook: Quick & Easy Internet Browsing

On first glance, Google and Samsung’s Chromebook may seem like an odd choice of laptop. It is devoid of the handy Microsoft programmes, and prevents you from downloading any programmes onto its system that are not supported in the Google App store. However, give it a try, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

Ultra-thin and light (weighing under 1.1kg approximately) and with a 11.6” LED HD screen, this has been built for ease of use whilst on the move, and can be easily slotted into a bag or transported around the house. 



Pros:
Long Battery Life
The Chromebook has an impressive 6.5 hours (or more, depending on how you are using it) of battery life before a charge is required. This means that it can easily be taken out of the house on a full charge for business trips, etc, without needing to find a plug source. 

Light and compact
With hardly any extra baggage included inside the hardware, the Chromebook is incredibly light and compact. This means it is a great alternative to lugging around a laptop, MacBook or other sizeable technology. The Chromebook will easily fit into your bag, and hardly adds anything to your luggage weight if you need to take it on a flight. Also, for the safety conscious, it is impossible to tell from the outside of a bag that you are actually carrying a laptop. 

Built-in Virus Protection
One of my main concerns when I loaded up the Chromebook was how it would remain safe and stable without the ability to download a virus and malware protection software. Thankfully, the Chromebook already includes built-in 

Quick Loading
The Chromebook boots up in under 10 seconds, which is significantly much faster than most laptops. That’s great news for people wanting to quickly load up a web page to show others something, and for general quick access to apps and webpages. 

Simple to Use
For the typical internet user, the Chromebook cannot be any easier to use. No software is required on start-up, so you do not have to worry about going through the initial installation phase of a new laptop. First time use can be completed within a mere two minutes. It simply asks for your Google ID and language preferences amongst other simple options, and then voila-you’re away!

After this, there is no worrying about initiating scheduled virus scans, updating your internet browser and programmes-Google takes care of that automatically, meaning you are left to simply browse the internet and try out the Apps. 

Great Sound and Picture Quality
Featuring a 11.6” LED HD screen and in-built speakers on the underside, the Chromebook contains an impressive high definition display and great sound that thankfully, unlike a lot of smaller laptops, does not sound “tinny”. Not bad for a small device!

Excellent for Internet Browsing
As previously stated, the Chromebook loads pages and apps incredibly quick. Therefore, as an internet browsing laptop, this is definitely worth considering. 


Chromebook & charger are included in the box.


Cons:
Google App Only
For someone who requires a laptop purely for internet browsing and the use of Google’s utility services, such as Gmail and Google Drive, this is not an issue. However, although there are hundreds of Google Apps to download, it may seem a little redundant if you are actually after outside programmes, such as Skype. 

Therefore, it does make the Chromebook a little limited, and well, basic. 

Requires Constant Internet
As each Google service included on the laptop requires the internet, the Chromebook requires constant internet access. Therefore, those with unstable internet connections or require a laptop for use when internet access is not available will find this somewhat frustrating. 

Google Is Always Watching
After looking around online and asking friends opinions, I noticed that not everyone likes Google’s “always signed in” service. So for those who oppose this, unfortunately the Chromebook may not be for you. The laptop can only be used if a Google ID is signed into at the start up. This in turn signs you in to all the Google services you use, such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive. 

In a creepy perspective, this means that Google is always watching, in a way. Signing in means that your history, bookmarks and viewing habits are logged for you to come back to when you need to. For example, being signed in to YouTube means that the video streaming service will remember what you viewed, adding it, rather embarrassingly at times, to your recently viewed section on your YouTube account, as well as recommending similar videos to you. Sometimes, YouTube calls for anonymous viewing-whether it be viewing a guilty pleasure song you’re too embarrassed to admit to liking, or for other, ahem, personal reasons. 

However, signing out of your Google ID on the Chromebook locks you out of the device itself, so you are required to be online. Signing out of one signs you out of all the other Google services at the same time, and this can be frustrating. 

The Mouse Is A Little…Odd
Whilst the touchpad itself works fine for navigating apps and webpages, the Chromebook’s right click function is a little frustrating. Whilst it may seem like I am nit-picking, the mouse only allows for right clicking whilst the alt key is pressed at the same time. 

Does Not Play All Files
When experimenting with software, I plugged in a USB stick with a selection of MKV files on it. However, Chromebook could not open these files, and I could not find any programmes in the app section to download in order to use them. 

Therefore, those of you who are looking to plug in USB’s filled with your TV shows or other videos may find it a bit of a problem. I will continue to look into this to see if there is a solution, or if streaming on websites such as YouTube is the alternative.



Specifications: 

  • Ultra-thin and light (weighs  under 1.1kg)
  • USB 3.0 (two ports)
  • 11.6” LED HD screen
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB hard drive
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth enabled
  • More than 6.5 hours of battery life
  • Plug-in charger included
  • In-built HD webcam
  • SD Card port, HDMI port
  • Stereo speaker
  • Intel HD graphics
  • Headphone/mic jack
  • Silver design

The keyboard contains slight variations from the usual laptop keyboard.

Visiting 8-Bit Girl on the Chromebook!

Summary
Whilst the Chromebook will not fully replace your need for a fully functioning laptop (all that runs on this are the Google programmes already found on the system and the approved apps on the Google App page), it is definitely a handy alternative to lugging around your weightier system around the house or on trips to other Wi-Fi enabled establishments. 

Perfect for internet browsing, fast and simple to use, the Chromebook received from Argos can prove to be a useful and well-used compact laptop, time and time again. 


My cat Jessie seemed interested in the Chromebook. Turns out, all she was after was the box!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kaleigh I enjoyed your post, glad you are giving the Chromebook a go. I am replying on my own Samsung Chromebook.

    Regarding your comment on the mouse. There are a number of two and three finger gestures possible (check the help) and a two finger tap is a right chick, and a one finger tap is left click. You can also move between tabs by swiping three fingers left <> right.

    Also the Chromebooks can do many things while offline, and long as you set them up first. I work most of the day offline. Just Google "Chromebook Offline" and you will get plenty of Ideas.

    ReplyDelete

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