After extensive research on various technology related websites, blogs, and magazines, I pulled the trigger on a Samsung Chromebook Series 3 a few weeks ago. Overall, I am quite impressed with this computer.
The Samsung Chromebook reportedly has a battery life of 6.5 hours. In my own experiment with my Chromebook, I found this estimate to be fairly accurate. My battery lasted about 5.5 hours while I browsed the internet using my usual wireless network and setting the display at full brightness. The computer has a Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, a VGA Camera, a HDMI port, and two USB ports (one for USB 3.0 and another for USB 2.0). The Chromebook runs on the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor, which is not particularly powerful but is functional for the Chromebook's purposes. Furthermore, the Chromebook runs a 16gb solid-state hard drive, which makes the computer never overheat, and allows for a boot-time of less than 10 seconds from turning on the computer to opening your first browser. Of course, since the space isn't large enough for you to keep all of your photos, music, and videos on the Chromebook, Google offers 100gbs of free storage on the cloud through Google Drive for 2 years after you buy your Chromebook. The Chromebook is also Bluetooth 3.o Compatible.
At $249, the price is hard to beat. Where Apple computers sell for $1000+ at the minimum and Windows computers generally sell for $600+, the Chromebook's $249 price range is a steal.
The Samsung Chromebook features a 11.6" inch display (1366x768), is 0.7" inches thin, and weighs a mere 2.42 lbs, which makes it one of the most travel-friendly laptops currently on the market. The design is simple and elegant (very similar to the current Apple Macbook Air 11"), and the computer carries with it an aura of sophistication.
Google Chrome O/S:
I've been a Mac user for more than 6 years, and found my transition to the Google Chrome operating system seemingly painless. First, the Chrome operating system is extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The fact that the entire operating system essentially runs on the Chrome browser makes the internet experience quite simple and easy, even for people who think they aren't good with computers.
There have been many criticisms about the Chromebook with regard to its elimination of traditional programs that are installed on traditional computers. It's true that you won't be able to install Microsoft Office products and other programs that run directly on your computer (think .exe files); you will only be able to use whatever you can access on the Chrome browser. However, usually, there are substitutes that are just as effective, and sometimes even better implemented, as the traditional programs. For instance, while serious Word and Excel junkies would find the Google Docs and Sheets applications slightly lacking, these programs are perfectly fine for the average computer user.
The Chromebook is top-notch when it comes to privacy and security for your files. The Chrome operating system is unique to each individual Google account holder, and requires and log-in for different users. When I log off, the computer returns to a blank slate, in which none of my files are directly saved on the computer, and no one can access my personal data. If someone else wants to use my Chromebook, they would need to log-in using their own Google account, in which case the settings would be personalized for them. If you were to log-in on a different Chromebook, all of your saved settings would transfer over. Furthermore, everything on the Chromebook is encrypted, adding additional security for your personal data. If your Chromebook were ever stolen or lost, you can rest assured that no one will be able to access your files without your Google log-in information.
Other Considerations & Conclusion:
The Chromebook is not for everyone, and you should think hard about your computer usage before putting down the $249. If you're a graphic designer, a hardcore gamer, or someone who needs access to all the traditional computer programs, then this is probably not the computer for you. However, if you mainly use your computer to browse the web and check e-mails, or if you travel often and want a lighter luggage load, then I highly recommend the Chromebook. At $249, the Chromebook is perfect as a secondary computer that you can take with you anywhere, especially when you don't want to drag your fully upgraded $3,500 Macbook Pro with you to the beach. As for me, while I did buy my Chromebook as a secondary computer, I find myself using it much more than my Macbook, and it's the laptop I grab when I am rushing out of the apartment (it's also the laptop I used to type this article). The Chromebook is indeed money well spent.