Google is taking its hand at everything, even computers. The programers at Google have created their own operating system which they adapted from their web browser, and thus the Chrome OS was born. As a beta tester of the first chrome netbook, the CR48, I will tell you the good, the bad, and the improvements of the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and the Chrome OS.
All you have to do is click the break.
I really liked the CR48, comparing it to other netbooks I owned, it was amazing. I only used netbooks to browse the internet, I mean, what else can a netbook do? Sure it can run the Microsoft Office Suite, but little besides that. When I first got my hands on the CR48, the first thing I noticed was that the OS did, indeed, fully load in ten seconds. From complete off to complete on in ten seconds? Needless to say, this is extremely fast. It is like comparing the speed of a car to an airplane.
Next I got around to testing out what my new baby could do. You might think that only being able to use the internet is limiting, but in reality it isn’t. Want to do some word processing, make a presentation, or a spreadsheet? Use Google Docs. Want to listen to music? Use Google Music. Want to play games? Get some add-ons. Want to download some pictures to post onto Tumblr? The Chrome OS has you covered. Even though the CR48 uses only flash memory, you can still download, store, and access files.
What does using only flash memory mean? To the average consumer it means that almost no data is stored on the computer itself. All the data is stored on a cloud database. That is all the data except the files you downloaded. But this also allows the Chrome OS the ability to detect that something is wrong, wipe itself clean, then re-download itself from a secure cloud database while you lose no data. The whole proccess takes but a few minutes and you are left a computer that runs as well as when you first got it. That’s right, this OS is essentially virus proof. On a related note, the OS is also impervious to key trackers. This guy is even safer than a Mac.
However, not all is well with the CR48. Although the software was amazing, the hardware was lacking. I found that left clicking was a challenge and the track pad was hard to use. And considering how you use these non-stop, I was more than a little unhappy. I was hoping that the problem would be lessened somewhat during one of the many OS updates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. This is another amazing thing about the OS. All updates are free. When you have a Mac or Windows, every year or so a new version comes out which sets you back a couple hundred dollars. The Chrome OS, on the other hand, is constantly being updated and all the updates are free!
Now, perhaps a year later I got the Samsung Chromebook Series 5. Well, technically it isn’t mine but Google’s property, but whatever. By this point I had stopped using the CR48 for a couple months since school ended. When I started up the Series 5 I was excited to see both the hardware changes and the software changes. I noticed right off the bat that left-clicking was still a challenge and the track pad was still painful to use. However, now the OS can use USB devices! A mouse solves these problems, but that prevents the use of gestures. Luckily, the Series 5 does well in other aspects. We now have two USB ports instead of one, a VGA output, and more internal memory. I also noticed a big software change. Instead of having multiple displays, like on a Mac, we can have multiple windows. This means you can now have two separate windows open at once! You take that for granted on a normal computer. Another great part of the Series 5 is the battery life. As a netbook, the Series 5 has a huge battery life. I can use my Series 5 literally all day long and not have to charge it!
I found, and still find, that having a computer running Chrome OS is very useful at school. I used it everyday in high school instead of a laptop which would be big, bulky, and need to be charged often. Now, in college, I still find it useful even with a high-end tablet laptop. I use my Series 5 to display reference material rather than constantly switch windows or print out an ungodly amount of paper.
Is getting the Series 5 worth it? I would say yes. This is an excellent machine and far cheaper than a laptop. Is it a laptop replacement? If you only use word processing and browse the internet on your computer, then yes, this is a laptop replacement. However, if you do more than causally browse the internet I would advise using this as an auxiliary machine rather than as main computer.
GO Rating: 4.5/5