Mobile and Wireless: Chromebook's Google-Only Experience Leaves User Feeling Disconnected
The latest editions of Google's portable and desktop hardware line, the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook and the Samsung Chromebox 3 are simple-to-use, consumer-oriented devices for people who want an Apple-like hardware, operating system and application market experience without the hefty price. Both new hardware devices reached the market May 30. The second-generation Samsung Chromebook comes in fairly slim, lightweight Samsung case and is built around an Intel Celeron 867 dual-core processor with a 16GB solid-state drive (SSD) and 4GB of RAM. Security features are built-in and updated to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses, reducing the need for users to install antivirus software and simplifying life for IT administrators. But the comparison to Apple really stops almost as soon as it starts. Apple devices have a far greater breadth of application choice. And at the time we tested Google Docs, the productivity apps still had a limited ability to work offline. The new Samsung 5 550 ($449.99 for the WiFi model and $549.99 for the 3G wireless model) and the Acer AC700 Chromebook (starting at $299 and not tested here) can optionally use Verizon 3G cellular service in addition to the wireless LAN capability found in the previous-generation Chromebook. Unlike Apple, the Chromebook has an RJ-45 wire-line port. The all-new Samsung Series 3 Chromebox 3 is the first iteration of the Google Chrome OS in a desktop product. The compact form factor device measures 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches and resembles a set-top device. The Chromebox comes with a 16GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron B840 Dual Core (1.9GHz) processor and can support up to a 30-inch monitor or use an HDTV using the Display Port output. The Chromebox supports Bluetooth and comes with six USB ports. Both devices tout an "always-new" computer via automatic, mandatory updates. Both devices are intimately connected to a user's Google account, which is required to log on to either device.