Generally Chromebooks can be a tough sell to a lot of people, a machine that can only run most of its applications when connected to the internet, and only some whilst offline (Google’s processing applications being some of them), it is generally seen as something quite laughable in the tech community, however before you decide to join them you should definitely take a look at this piece of kit as it’s actually quite good.
Featuring a 1.7GHz Exynos 5250 single core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD, the Series 3 Chromebook from Samsung is actually pretty decked out for only £229, a price which it is currently available from Argos.
On top of that the Series 3 is also extremely light, fanless, diskless and completely silent, making it perfect for anyone looking for a notebook that is both portable and powerful, two things that are the main reasons to buy one of these machines.
Given its tiny price tag, and ease of use, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook is perfect for anyone looking for a first-time notebook or just something that doesn’t need a manual to operate.
Whilst using the Chromebook myself, I found it great for doing any kind of work, in fact I have used it to write every article that I have published over these last two weeks. It’s a system that stops you procrastinating and helps you to focus on the current work you are doing, making it a perfect option for anyone who has to type out a lot of documents or is a student.
Samsung’s is also good-looking, using materials that look like they should be on a £700+ laptop, the Series 3 uses frankly plastic materials to get the cost down, but in a way that I wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen with in a room full of ‘techies’. Weighing only 2.4 pounds (a pound lighter than the Intel version of the laptop), it’s also something that can be easily thrown into a bag and taken on the go.
In terms of actual hardware, the trackpad on the Series 3 is perfectly useable, with gestures like two-finger scrolling and tap to click, it’s actually quite useful, however when physically clicking it is a little louder than we would prefer, and for some reason to do so you need to click the right side of the trackpad not the left, something that certainly takes some getting used to.
The keyboard is pretty good to, using a chiclet style set, you get a full QWERTY keyboard design with access to volume/ brightness controls and various buttons that control the browser along the top, it makes using the browser easy.
Unfortunately we cannot say the same about the port layout, with everything apart from the headphone jack and the SD card slot placed on the back of the laptop, it can sometimes be a struggle to plug anything in, as to use any other the USB ports or the HDMI port, you have to lower the lid and rotate the Chromebook just to be able to see what you are doing, that said having a USB 3.0 port anywhere on a Chromebook is quite handy, even if it is quite pointless.
On the inside of the lid you also get an 11.6 inch display, which I found to work perfectly fine for most cases, however being that it is a matte display, I did notice a lack of clarity within text and saturation could definitely be improved, however a matte display does mean there’s no reflections or glare, so I guess it’s a decent enough tradeoff, and at the end of the day, the display is perfect for some simple browsing of the web and general word processing, two things that you will find yourself doing most of the time with the Series 3.
Leading on from that, in terms of the software the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, a simple and easy to use piece of software that we found to look great and perform brilliantly when conducting the tasks it has been limited to, however that’s just it, the software is extremely limited in terms of what you can do, only allowing use of apps that have been downloaded from Google’s Chrome OS store, you won’t find anyone raiding on a Chromebook.
That said the Series 3 does perform well in almost any task you set at it, achieving a SunSpider score of 735.0ms (My 2013 Retina MacBook Pro gets 170.7ms in the same test) and a Peacekeeper score of 1066 (7/7 for HTML capabilities) in our benchmarking tests, you should be fine to play almost any HTML game or view more or less any website out there.
Samsung also say that the Series 3 can get over 6.5 hours from a single charge, and I have to agree with them, when only browsing the web and writing up a few word documents on a WiFi connection, I managed to get just over the 6 hours 45 minutes mark.
All in all, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook is a great choice for a lot of reasons, however only if your someone who only needs it for those particular reasons, so if you’re someone that’s just looking to browse Facebook, write-up some word documents and even play a couple of games, this Chromebook is definitely one of the best options, I would even say that it might make a good second computer, maybe a good portable option if you only have a desktop PC at home.
This article was posted in collaboration with Argos.