Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″) – Advantages & Limitations

Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″) is the latest Chromebook that comes built-in with Google’s Chrome OS and comes with an extremely attractive price tag! For that low price, what do we get and what do we miss? Let us have a look at some important advantages and disadvantages/limitations of Samsung Chromebook, in this post. But before that let us have a look at the,

Important Specifications of the Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″)

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos Dual-Core Processor; 1.7 GHz; 1 MB Cache
  • Display: 11.6″ LED HD Screen; 1366 x 768 Pixels
  • Memory: 16 GB SSD (Permanent storage); 2 GB DDR3L RAM
  • Connectivity/Ports: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n); HDMI; USB (1 x USB 3.0; 1 x USB 2.0); Headphone/Mic Combo; Multi Card Slot/reader
  • Battery: 2-Cell, Li-Po, 4080 mAh Battery; 6.3 hours of battery life
  • Multimedia: Mic, Speakers (3W – 1.5W x 2 – Stereo Speakers), Webcam (0.3 MP)
  • Dimensions/Weight: 11.4″ x 8.09 x 0.69″/ 2.43 Pounds
  • Warranty: 1-Year Standard, Parts & Labor

Video Introducing Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″)

Striking Advantages of the Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″)

  • If your primary work activity is on the net and you use Google’s services a lot, this might just be the laptop for you! It will help you transition from a desktop lifestyle to a cloud lifestyle.
  • Chromebook (with keyboard) is better and much more useful than tablets. One can use it effectively for utility-based applications instead of just watching movies, listening to songs and playing games. Except the last one, you can do the other two very well on Chromebook.
  • Excellent second-computer option to consider, especially for frequent travelers. It’s compact, light-weight and portable.
  • No additional expenses on Operating System (and its new versions). OS updates itself automatically as new versions are released.
  • No additional expenses on Office productivity softwares (MS Office), as long as you are comfortable using Cloud-based Google Docs/other third-party services.
  • The price of these two softwares alone may cost as much as the laptop itself, in a Windows-based environment.
  • In-built anti-virus and security options (sandboxing, etc). Every time you log-in, the cloud drive checks if any  suspicious changes have been made to your applications/OS and can overwrite them with the previously stored data in the cloud.
  • It’s a simple and easy-to-use option for applications like email, browsing, video chat, streaming music/videos and all the other applications that people mostly use on the net.
  • There are many Chromebook Apps (free and paid) that extend the functionality of the Chromebook. These Apps provide an alternative to the PC-based programs that you are used to.
  • Switch-On and start working in less than 10 seconds. No more waiting for minutes together just to get the laptop to start!
  • Native Google Drive integration and free cloud space (of up to 100 GB) on the cloud gives a powerful reason for users to switch over to the cloud. But the cloud storage is free for only two years and after that, you need to pay for the amount of cloud storage space you are going to use.
  • Automatic updates/upgrades for Chrome OS and Chrome Apps. No user intervention required.
  • Data, Apps and Settings are automatically and instantly backed up in the cloud (Google drive). If you happen to lose your laptop or data accidentally, you don’t lose any data.
  • Chromebooks allow you to remotely log-in to any PC/Mac or Linux computer (that has Google Chrome browser installed) and access any application/files stored in them. Of course, the computer you are accessing needs to be switched-on. It can also create secure VPN connections to workplace servers, etc.
  • You can plug-in a USB thumb-drive/USB external hard-disk and the Chromebook will recognize (and play) common media (pictures, music, video) files/file-formats stored in it. This easily compensates for the lack of hard-drive within the device.
  • 6.3 Hours of Battery-life should be sufficient in normal usage scenarios.
  • The keyboard is excellent to type on (a major advantage over tablets) and has Chrome-specific keys like search, etc.
  • The Chrome OS will not slow down after a period of time as no new softwares/applications are loaded into it. Surprise: Due to continuous updates and optimizations, the OS will only become faster in the future.
  • There is an offline Gmail App which lets you to access Gmail even when you are not connected to the Internet. Of course, the changes (new messages, etc) and checking for new messages can happen only after you connect to the Internet. But it will happen.
  • There are a lot of Chromebook Apps that can work offline. They are marked by a lightning bolt symbol in the Google Play store.
  • Multi-user support is available. More than one user can log-in and each one can be restricted to their apps/file-environment.
  • The Chromebook is more reliable as it doesn’t have any rotating parts (No fans, No hard-drives).
  • There are Google based/Third party alternatives for all major office productivity applications like documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings. etc. These are free of cost to use (mostly) and one gets limited interoperability with MS Office formats.
  • PDF viewer and Document viewer is built-in.
  • There is a good level of integration between Android phones and Chromebook. For example, all the settings/bookmarks can be synced between the two devices and data stored using one device is instantly available on the other (because of the cloud integration).
  • Last but not the least – The enticing price point at which this laptop is being offered. It is just irresistible!

Striking Limitations/Disadvantages of Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6″)

  • There is nothing to boast about the hardware specifications. But for this price, Chromebook has packed the best hardware, it can.
  • This Chromebook is not for users who intend to do a lot of gaming or use windows-based applications like Photoshop, Excel, etc. extensively.
  • 16 GB of internal storage is less than what some music players offer! But then, the whole point of a laptop like this is to encourage users to store their content on the cloud and not inside the device!
  • People with unreliable/slow Internet connections might want to think twice before buying the Chromebook. Though offline working capability is there, it is limited to certain applications.
  • Some users might find the screen size to be slightly less, but it gives compactness and portability.
  • The casing has a nice silver look and it comes with a good-looking matte finish. Still, the laptop is made of tough plastic.
  • You cannot upload any device-drivers into the Chromebook. So, your printers, scanners, etc. may not work with it. This issue can be mitigated in two ways – If your printer/scanner offers cloud-based operation, you can just type the IP address in a browser and still be able to access them without having to install any drivers. Alternatively, some printers/scanners support SD card based operation. Users can manually copy data between these devices and the Chromebook using the SD card.
  • The Chromebook is fine for normal day-to-day usage and applications. But if you are specialist and want to do some advanced image editing using Photoshop (for example), you cannot do it with this device. But you can use the alternate applications provided by the Chromebook App store. Needless to say, there will be a short learning curve.
  • It takes some time to get accustomed to the Google Docs environment for handling your documents. Perfect interoperability between Google Docs and MS Office may not be practically possible.
  • Though there is limited offline access for Google Docs, complete offline access may not be available yet. Google says they are working on it and will make it possible sooner.
  • You cannot install PC-based applications on the Chromebook and it does not support Java.
  • There is no optical drive for working with CD/DVD/BlueRay disks. But then, these days most of the data transfer happens using USB-based and SD-Card based devices.
  • There seems to be no RJ-45 Wired LAN port. At least the specifications do not indicate its presence. Do confirm.

More information/Official Web-page: Visit Samsung’s official information page for Chromebook.

Alternative models to consider:
Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook (Wi-Fi)

Where to buy: If you live in the United States, you can buy the Samsung Chromebook from Amazon – Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch).

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