Samsung Series 5 Chromebook: Initial Impressions

We’re less than a month away from the June 15th release date of both Acer and Samsung’s Chromebook. As it comes down to the wire, we’d like to share what we know about these revolutionary new web-focused machines, and how we feel about each model: A “pre-review,” so to speak.

Samsung Series 5

The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up the Samsung Series 5 is that its entire startup sequence takes 8 seconds. That’s from the moment you hit the power button, to when you can browse the web. Think about that for a moment. No programs loading, no updates, just an open web browser ready to go wherever you want.

Now, think of how long it takes your netbook to boot up.

Speed is one of the main characteristics behind Google’s newly-unveiled Chromebook, and the Samsung Series 5 demonstrates this to full effect. From the moment you hit the power button on the Series 5 Chromebook, you barely have time to lean back in your chair before the computer’s ready for you.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook front

Chrome OS was designed to get you to the internet as fast as possible, and in this, it succeeds. It’s a unique feeling to use a brand-name computer that comes with literally no bloatware. There’s no anti-virus software eating up resources in the background — the Series 5 doesn’t need it. All you see when you turn it on is Chrome OS, with your apps right there.

It’s only surprising it took until 2011 for this kind of computer to be made — Chromebooks are what Netbooks should have always been. Once you’ve gotten your hands on a Chromebook and used it to surf the web, you’ll never want to use a netbook with Windows 7 Starter again unless you have to.

And, unlike Windows, Chrome’s updates are expected to be seamless and will actually make your Chromebook faster as time goes on. This is possible because so much of the processing is offloaded onto the cloud, rather than being limited to the processor, RAM, and hard drive (which is a lightning-fast SSD — a pleasant surprise).

The screen is bright and sharp, with a size of 12.1″ and a high-definition resolution of 1280 x 800 making 720p HD videos look spectacular. The complete absence of all the Windows 7 services, background processes, and bloatware running on Chrome Samsung’s GPU, as well as a newer, faster dual-core processor, makes video performance on Chromebooks (including Flash) very good, and frequently better than on Windows netbooks. By the way, the screen is anti-glare — something your eyes will thank you for if you’re using your Chromebook near windows, bright lights, or outside.

The keyboard on the Samsung Series 5 is full-sized. It has special keys to go with its intended role as a fast web surfer. There are keys to shift between windows, a full-screen key, as well as keys to control the screen brightness and volume. Under the mac-like island-style keyboard is an over-sized, rather plain touchpad. The plainness of the touchpad is made up for, however, by the revolutionary “Search Key,” which replaces the Caps Lock on Chromebooks. If you prefer having Caps Lock, just check the setting in Chrome that makes the Search Key behave like Caps Lock instead. But give it a chance — it’s really convenient to be able to hit a single key and instantly be able to search the web.

When you plug in a USB thumb drive, a memory card (The Series 5 comes with the industry-standard 4-in-one multi-card reader), or a USB portable hard drive, you’ll see Chrome’s file manager, which is basically some file properties and an all-purpose preview window (sounds like they’re taking some cues from OS X here)/

Samsung’s specs state that the battery will last 8.5 hours of “active use.” As with all notebook batteries, we can expect the actual battery life to be a little less. If you’re watching videos in 720p or playing games, we’d say 6-7 hours is a more likely estimate.

The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook will be released on June 15, 2011.

Lowest Price Link: $429.99 Samsung Series 5 Chromebook with Free Shipping

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About Jake T.

Blogger. Chromebook Reviewer. Chrome-magnum. Then I say something.