Google may be most known for its search engine, Android, and Chrome web browser, but the company also has a variety of other products. In addition to excellent cloud storage and office offerings, Google also makes a “desktop” operating system known as Chrome OS. For the most part, Chrome OS has been relatively unsuccessful. It’s been on low-powered hardware with high price tags (for what you got), and the whole operating system is cloud-based – meaning that most tasks are done via the internet and an internet connection, and what you can do on the hardware itself is fairly limited.
Thankfully, the price for a quality Chromebook is starting to go down: today, Samsung and Google announced a brand-new Chromebook – which will cost only $249.
The main reason that the new Chromebook is so cheap is the fact that it’s powered by an ARM chip, in lieu of the traditional Intel processors that Chrome devices past had utilized. This isn’t a normal ARM processor, though, as it is a Exynos 5 Dual processor; in other words, this new Chromebook is the first device to use ARM’s new Cortex-A15 architecture.
Other specs include an 11.6-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, WiFi, and Bluetooth. As far as ports, the Chromebook includes USB ports and an HDMI-out port. All of those specs are powered by a battery that will provide six and half hours of battery life. It’s a barebones laptop; but considering that it’s running a barebones operating system, it’s actually quite a beefy set of specs, which all come together to produce a very admirable performer of a laptop: Google claims that the new computer can play 1080p video at 30FPS with no problems.
Two things that aren’t beefy in this new laptop are weight and thickness: the laptop weighs just 2.5 pounds and is only 0.8-inches thick, making it a very good mobile option for power users of Google’s cloud-based services.
The design is strikingly and eerily similar to that of Apple’s 11-inch MacBook Air – not surprising considering that Samsung was the maker of the laptop, but it’s still disappointing. That’s not to say that it isn’t an attractive package; the black keys and silver body come together to make a device that looks decidedly good. It’s Apple’s winning combination of colors, and Samsung’s smart to take it.
For $250, this looks like a great device. If you’re a user of Google’s cloud-based services, you’ve got the perfect companion to take with you for a relatively cheap price. And as an added bonus, Google is giving Chromebook adopters a lovely 100GB of cloud storage with which to store files for easy access through Google’s cloud apps.
I’m strongly expressing the fact that this Chromebook – and any Chrome device before or after it – is best used by someone who is heavily into Google’s cloud services. Without proper native apps, the Chromebook is useless for someone who isn’t connected to Google’s apps – like Drive, Docs, and others.
Then again, $250 is a low price to pay for a full suite of office applications, 100GB of cloud storage (accessible by any computer), and a rather attractive piece of hardware. Let us know if you get one!