CNET First Look
Samsung Series 5 ChromebookThe Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is ready for your life on the Web, but that's about it.
-Hey, I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor with CNET; and this is a look at the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. It's the first of two laptops, the other from Acer, that runs on Google's Chrome OS. Now, if all you know from operating systems is Windows and Mac. This is nothing like those. While there might be a lot going on under the hood on this thing, to the user, it just appears like a web browser and that's it. There is no software to install or uninstall for that matter. There is no updating. No security to worry about. That's stuff all done automatically. Really, it's about a simple as a computer can get because everything is web based. To go along with the simplicity of the OS, you get a simple computer. The series 5 is powered by an Intel ATOM processor typically found in netbooks, integrated graphics, 2G of memory, and 16G solid-state hard drive. That's plenty of power to stream movies and music, play casual games like Angry Birds and of course run all of Google's productivity apps like docks, mail, and calendar while giving you a potential battery life of up to 8-1/2 hours. It also wakes instantly and boots from off in less than 10 seconds. The thing is if you're used to being able to do a lot of things with your Windows or Mac computer, the shine fades pretty fast from the Chromebook. Working only on the web can be very limiting. For example, editing photos requires that you upload them to a site, edit them, and then download them again. Someone send you a zip file for work that you need to open? Tough. It's not supported, so you'll need to find a website to handle it. One last thing, getting the most from the Chromebook means having a constant web connection. There are a number of offline apps you can take advantage of, but it really limits what you can do when you've got no Wi-Fi access. You can get models with Verizon 3G Mobile Broadband access, but it means getting a data plan to do anything significant. And again, if you're out of range, you're out of luck. I'm Josh Goldman and that's a look at the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook.