In essence, Google Chromebooks are a platform agnostic platform, a concept that means you can take your browser and its applications with you, work on the go, and as soon as you’re in range of a wireless network, synchronise everything for use later on.
There are some limits to how this actually works, but in practise, it’s a neat idea, and as we’ve mentioned before, there are people we can see this working for, especially since there are no viruses for this platform (not yet, anyway).
Acer’s Chromebook was the first we looked at, and while we liked aspects of that machine, there were elements that didn’t work out perfectly. Bits like the glossy screen, the massive hard drive, and a keyboard that had barely been redesigned from Windows were just some of these, and in Samsung’s first model, it’s nice to see these issues aren’t shared.
We’ll start with the keyboard and usability, because these are two areas which feel better overall, as well as the design.
While Acer’s reminded us of a rebadged “Happy” netbook, Samsung’s Chromebook is like a smaller and thinner version of its Chronos notebook.
With a depth around 17.5mm when closed, this isn’t a thick machine, and sitting at just over a kilogram (1.1kg, in fact), it’s not heavy either.
The ports are all located on the back by the screen hinge, which we suspect Samsung has done to make this notebook look and feel slimmer, and it works well. In fact, the screen hinge sits inside a crevice just before the back, providing a small ridge to hold the laptop when it’s closed, which makes it easier to grasp.
Open it up and you’ll see an 11.6 inch HD-capable screen and wide keyboard, the latter of which lacks any keys that felt out of place on Acer’s machine, such as the “Fn” function and search keys. Making up for this are some keys that are extra long, easier to use, and – more importantly – harder accidentally press and waste a keystroke in frustration.
Likewise, the function keys at the top of the keyboard are dedicated function keys, not just keys with a double purpose, especially since some of the “F” function keys don’t really have uses under Chrome, as far as we can tell.
It is a reasonably comfortable keyboard, with just enough travel, and in writing the review on the Samsung Chromebook, we certainly had no complaints.
Over in that display section, Samsung has gone with a reasonably matt screen in its Chromebook, a choice which makes it easier to use thanks to the lack of reflections, which was a problem in Acer’s equivalent machine.