Reviews and Problems with Samsung Chromebook Series 3 / XE303C12
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Samsung Chromebook XE303C12 review: Pure essence
12 June 2013
Excerpt: Pure essence. That's the Samsung Chromebook in a nutshell. Chromebooks are made for online use, but they're not netbooks. When they were first introduced a couple years back, they featured a 12-inch display, an Intel Atom processor and 16 GB of internal storage. It looks like a laptop, but the ChromeOS makes it into a different type of product. Today we're taking a closer look at the XE303C12-A01UK.
Summary: I understand that there are other options for browsing the internet, on a more powerful hardware for a few dollars more, and can do much more that the Chromebook, but do not underestimate the “it just works” factor. Less is more with the Chromebook. Less (no) troubleshooting, less (no) maintenance, less configuration, one centralized seamless update process, less (no) worries about backups, settings, applications not working for one or another reason.
Conclusion: Hardware-wise, the Series 3 is a solid laptop. However, as with all Chromebooks, the sticking point is the software. With this model, you have the advantage of the low $250 price tag. That amount isn’t much for a machine that can do basic tasks fairly well, especially if you know you’re going to use it in areas where connectivity isn’t in question.
Pros: Good keyboard and touchpad, Speedy performance, Long battery life, Lightweight, yet solid build
Cons: Chrome OS still lacks functionality, Not enough offline apps, Display is dim
Conclusion: If Google keeps improving Chrome quickly, and Samsung can keep the cost of its excellent Chromebook hardware down while improving battery life a bit, Chromebooks could represent a very strong alternative for many users versus pricey Windows-based, productivity-focused tablets such as the Microsoft Surface or the Asus VivoTab RT
Pros: Extremely low price, 100GB of Google storage for two years included in price, Excellent keyboard, Light and slim
Cons: Limited functionality when away from Wi-Fi, Battery life should be better, Screen has viewing-angle issues
Summary: While previous Chromebooks were too pricey and limited in functionality, the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 comes closest to capturing Google's original vision. With a cost of $249, this notebook gets people online on the cheap and provides a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. The 1.7-GHz Exynos 5 dual processor and 2GB of RAM can't run some of the games in the Chrome Store, but these components should satisfy many user's needs.
Pros: Ultra-light design, Long battery life, Very affordable, Improved Chrome OS
Cons: Relatively dim display, Most features require Internet connection, Can't handle many games in Chrome Store
Conclusion: While the Chromebook concept is better on paper than it is in practice, we still admire the fact that Samsung and Google have made a usable, well-built laptop for less than £230. The astonishing battery life makes it ideal for workers on the go, and its relatively cheap price and walled-garden OS is attractive to parents. But stick to Windows or Mac computers if you want anything more.
Pros: 9-hour battery life, 10-second boot-to-log-in awesomeness, Fast, Apple-slick and silent, Google apps that work offline
Cons: Shaky media playback, Let-down sound quality, Substandard screen