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CNET First Look
New Chromebook's best feature: low priceThe new Chromebook from Samsung and Google integrates Google Play and offers much lighter hardware, but it's that low $250 price tag that will have you clapping.
-Chrome on ARM may sound like a mouthful, but the new Chromebook from Google and Samsung is powered by the same lightweight processor that runs your smartphone. Hi, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET, and today, we're taking a quick tour of the latest Chrome OS laptop from Google and Samsung that so low priced, it may be the first one that people actually buy. Google is making this Chromebook the most accessible one yet, starting with an aggressively affordable price at $249, that's $300 less than the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and $80 below the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox, the Chrome OS version of the Mac Mini. It ships with the ARM-based Exynos S Dual Chip, a dual-core processor running at 1.7 gigahertz. It can decode 1080p video at 60 frames per second. It supports HDMI, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0. It has a webcam, uses hardware-accelerated graphics, and runs software on its graphics hardware with the OpenCL interface. It comes with an external RJ-45 dongle if you want to use Ethernet, an SD card slot, and a dual jack for headphone and microphone. It weighs just under 2.5 pounds, making it the lightest Chromebook yet. It feels much more comfortable to carry around. Google says the battery will last you around six and a half hours, although we found the 11.6-inch screen to suffer from glitter pixel for lack of a better term. The trackpad is fairly responsive and supports some gestures like two-finger tap to right click and two-finger swipe to scroll. Some people might not like the fact that the Caps Lock key is a dedicated search button, although you can remap it, but there's no delete key either, only backspace. The Chromebooks run Chrome OS, the browser-based operating system that updates every six weeks on Google's rapid release schedule. New features in the version that ships with this Chromebook include deep connections to Google Play and 100-gigabytes of cloud storage and Google drive for two years on top of the 16-gigs of local storage. There are some limitations that restrict its usability. It's Wi-Fi only for one, but the fact that it's running Chrome OS locks you into either Google services or websites. iTunes won't work, although there is Google Play Music. The Chrome OS gets real sluggish with more than 20 or so tabs, although it does sync instantly across your Google power devices and Chrome browsers. It's a solid laptop for at home use, and if you hate typing on a tablet, it could be a great device for homework or mid-level productivity. It's not for everybody though. With the first look at Samsung and Google's latest laptop running Chrome OS, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.