Product Review: Samsung Chromebook 2

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Product Review: The 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 (Photo: Samsung.com)

Several weeks ago we decided that we needed a second “family / house” computer.  With a Samsung Ultrabook already in our possession and virtually no issues with it over the past 3-4 years, I was leaning on another Samsung laptop.  The Ultrabook already had Microsoft Office and Windows 8 and there wasn’t a need for another $700+ laptop with all of the same programs on it.  The second laptop was going to be for web browsing, watching video and … surprise, surprise … blogging.

I quickly turned my attention to the Samsung Chromebook series and it quickly became a matter of “which one” vs. looking at other devices.  After viewing a number of YouTube videos (like the one below) on the nuances of Chromebook, I figured it was worth a shot.

The Samsung Chromebook 2 has not disappointed.  We went with the 13.3 inch screen, Luminous Titan version due to the slightly stronger specs vs. the 11.6 inch versions.  It has been exactly what we were looking for at a relatively inexpensive cost.  Here is a deep dive into the positives, “opportunity areas”, and more.

Positives:

You may recall my proclaimed loyalty to Google and their products/services.  After unboxing the Chromebook it was up and running in less than five minutes.  My Google account and Chrome preferences were instantly carried over to the device.

The hardware itself feels sturdy, the keyboard and touchpad work with virtually no issues whatsoever.  You may want to watch the YouTube clips embedded in this write-up for a few tips and tricks on how to work a Chromebook touchpad if you are new to Chromebooks or are considering one for the first time.

The video playback and quality is phenomenal in the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2.  Whether you are viewing video in Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or elsewhere, the 1920×1080 LED HD screen makes watching content incredibly easy/enjoyable.

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

The Full HD picture for the 13.3 inch Samsung Chromebook 2 is worth the extra $ (Photo: Samsung.com)

Here are several additional tips for using a Chromebook:

Where there is room for improvement:

There is one particular area that I am struggling with.  When grabbing images to coincide with blog entries, I do need to revert back to our other laptop and MS Paint.  While Picasa is an available option, it will not allow me to customize image sizes as easily (by specific size) as MS Paint.  While you can crop and choose different size options in Picasa, I need to be able to specify the width of images and can not do that in the current tool.

(Here is where I am asking anyone for a tip or secret to how to better leverage the Picasa photo editing tool because I have yet to find something that would allow me to never touch our other computer.)

While we leverage Hangouts for video chatting with friends, it would be nice if the Chromebook would allow access to Skype.  I somewhat understand Google’s decision to push people towards their own products, this is a nuisance.

Apps:

If you leverage a Google/Android device for mobile (phone or tablet), you won’t have many surprises at all.  Everything is in the Chrome store for you to download to the device (now including MS Offices extensions).  If you are unfamiliar with the Chrome Web Store, take a look for yourself and decide if the market has what you are looking for … or an acceptable alternative.  I’m virtually certain you will find what you need.

Overall:

Before purchasing the Samsung Chromebook 2 I posed a question to the Jelly community and received the following feedback:

  • “You can find a better laptop”
  • “Make sure it can play well with the rest of your gadgets.  Install Google Remote Desktop to control your Chromebook from your phone anywhere.  Highly suggest Chromecast”

After receiving that first comment several others chimed in that the Chromebook isn’t meant to replace a laptop, etc.  I couldn’t agree more.  The Chromebook is a fantastic second computer in our home and is as fast and easy as hoped/imagined.

From the un-boxing to date, the Chromebook has been a great device that meets our specific needs.  Connecting to our other devices around the house was easy and Google’s ability to transfer preferences, account information, etc. makes it a highly recommended device.  The price/value of the Chromebook series of laptops is just the icing on the cake.

If you are looking for a second laptop or a lower-priced first option, I would recommend the Samsung Chromebook 2 without hesitation.

I’m always interested in learning more tips and tricks.  If you have any for the Samsung Chromebook 2, I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email.  Thank you!