Is the Samsung Chromebook Worth It?

Google Chromebooks are out, and the trimmed-down operating system is starting to receive some mixed reviews from the tech community. So, are they any good? Is the Samsung Chromebook worth it?

In a previous video and blog post, I went over the expectations set by Google. They announced several different methods of obtaining one of these notebooks, including a leasing program that gives users access to the hardware without a lot of money.

If you want to buy one outright, you’re currently looking at a price between $430 and $500, which puts it at a point above many netbooks and tablet computers, which offer roughly the same access to web apps as the Chromebook itself.

The Samsung Chromebook line has two colors to choose from, white and Titan Silver (shipping soon), with optional 3G capabilities which up the asking price from $430 to $500. This difference in price isn’t surprising, and could be considered modest given the typical price difference for 3G capabilities.

A lot of the heat from reviewers stems from the fact that the price matches that of other systems that can run the Chrome and Chromium browsers that give the user virtually the same experience for a lot less money. Atom processors, 16GB solid state drive, and 2GB of RAM are all traits commonly found on netbooks.

One area where Samsung’s Chromebook might have an edge is in battery life. With a promised 8.5 hours, it promises greater long-term portability than many portables in its class. This is due, in part, to an extremely trim operating system which focuses the majority of its processing power on a simple browser without the bloat other operating systems require.

It’s important to note here that the Chrome OS is still in its infancy. Google is constantly tweaking and changing it to meet the needs of its customers. Early adopters of any operating system or platform can expect at least some degree of frustration. If you have some degree of patience, and enjoy the idea of being one of the first to switch to something new, then the Chromebook might be worth taking a look at.

With a list of positives including the ability to keep your data, even in the event of a complete hard drive failure, it is easy to overlook the challenges involved with working in a cloud-based environment. Without an active connection to the web, the Chromebook is really not much more than a paperweight. In some ways, the greatest strengths of the Chrome OS are also some of its biggest weaknesses.