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!

 

The Fall Means the Return of SaveThanksgiving.net

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us ... #SaveThanksgiving Gobble Gobble

Visit SaveThanksgiving.net and help us … #SaveThanksgiving
Gobble Gobble

The end of summer 2014 means that we are entering fall and here at Shore Branding that equates to paying attention to the forthcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We began our #SaveThanksgiving efforts in November of last year and now with more time available, we would like to take it to another level.

As mentioned last year, there is no greater holiday than Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, the day continues to be swept under the rug while consumers leave their families behind to get the early bird deals for their holiday shopping. More and more retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day and it is a growing tradition that I would truly like to see broken.

With the help of Berry Smart Media, we launched SaveThanksgiving.net as a site to take back the holiday and its traditions. Our goal is to remind people that this is a day for giving thanks for all of their respective blessings from the past year, and spend quality time with their family … not leave the house the second the doors open at local retailers.

Last year several retailers remained closed on the holiday, including; PC Richard & Son, Costco, TJ Maxx, and Marshal’s. We want to help support these retailers and those like it that refuse to open their doors, taking their employees away from their families on the holiday. Whether through sponsorship or something as simple as making it a point to shop at these stores in the coming weeks, help these retailers over the coming months.

If you, or anyone you know, is open to partnering with us and joining the “fight” to #SaveThanksgiving – please let us know. Let’s give thanks to our friends and family and spend one day with them without the distractions! With a little addition to our family, we will be contributing to at least one food drive in the area but will not be running our own. We’ll keep you posted on where those contributions will be made and/or let us know if you have suggestions and we can help spread the word.

Again, you can visit SaveThanksgiving.net and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. Every Thursday we take a Thanksgiving theme and share a few pins.

How can you help? Share your stories with the world – it could be a simple memory of loved ones, a funny story that makes you think of the holiday, or a picture and memory. If these stories can convince one retailer, one radio station, or just a few people, this will have been worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving! #SaveThanksgiving

Product Review: Samsung Gear Live

What do you think about Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch?  (Photo credit: play.google.com)

What do you think about Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch? (Photo credit: play.google.com)

After focusing a Sunday Musings on wearables last month and toying with the idea of getting a smartwatch for about a week, I finally caved and purchased the Samsung Gear Live from the Google Play Store.  Within two days, the smartwatch was at my doorstep and ready for use.  Below are a few thoughts and considerations for the device, along with a wishlist for improvements.  You will also find a few app recommendations sprinkled in.

Ahead of the purchase, I had read a good amount of complaints about the Gear Live’s band and the way that you snap it into position on your wrist.  I actually don’t have any problem with getting the band on my wrist and it fits comfortably. [Read more…]

New Poll – What wearables are you planning to purchase in 2014?

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

What wearables will you be purchasing in 2014? (Photo credit: Diginomica.com)

Wearables are beginning to turn the corner in terms of consumer acceptance and adoption. The latest poll on ShoreBranding.com builds off of yesterday’s #SundayMusings and asks which wearable devices are you thinking about purchasing in 2014?

We have selected several of the most popular wearables for the poll but have also included a general “Other” for the many others that continue to pop up. Whether you are focusing on a smart band to track your physical fitness, or taking a step up to a full smartwatch … or even Google Glass, let us know what wearable devices are grabbing your attention and which you are most likely to purchase this year. [Read more…]

New Poll – Will your brand spend money on mobile ads this year?

Are you budgeting for mobile advertising in 2014?

Are you budgeting for mobile advertising in 2014?  (InteractiveMarketingTraining.com)

 

As witnessed in our May 2014 “Pin of the Month”, mobile and smartphone ownership and usage continue to grow. It seems like every few months, if not weeks, we are spending more time focusing on mobile-related stories in our Sunday Musings (including this coming weekend).

So our latest poll on ShoreBranding.com is simple – will you be spending any portion of your marketing budget specifically on mobile? A simple “Yes” or “No” is all it takes. It doesn’t matter where – whether it be on social media apps, location-based services or companies, or anywhere in between. [Read more…]

ShoreBranding.com Book Review – “Brand Against the Machine” by John Morgan

 

Go read this book! "Brand Against the Machine" by John Morgan

Go read this book!
“Brand Against the Machine” by John Morgan

Occasionally, I fall into a book and feel strongly enough that it is worth putting together a few additional words on it so that readers know that I feel it would be worth their time and investment.  That time has come as we have found another fine example with John Morgan’s “Brand Against the Machine”.

Brief Summary: [Read more…]

Super Bowl Ad Review 2014

This past weekend’s Super Bowl was the most watched event in television history, with over 112 million viewers tuning in!  With the growing popularity of the NFL and a match-up of the two #1 seeds, there was a lot of talk about how good of a match-up it would be.  Well, the game itself didn’t pan out (for the Broncos at least), but the viewership numbers certainly eased the minds of the marketing teams that spent a good penny to advertise during the game.

Here are my personal favorites from the game, with a few comments for each, along with a few additional ads towards the end – two that I didn’t like and two that caught my attention well before kickoff of the Super Bowl. [Read more…]

New Poll – Where will you be advertising in 2014?

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014? (Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014?
(Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

Over the course of 2013, we covered off on several different trends in the advertising space, including the shift to advertising on various social networks (throughout many of our weekly Sunday Musings) and mobile advertising (most specifically with startup Nearwoo).

With that in mind, our opening poll question for 2014 is relatively simple: which advertising platforms will your brand/business be leveraging in 2014 to increase awareness and/or build stronger loyalty?  The options include:

  1. Mobile
  2. Paid Search
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. Twitter
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Foursquare
  8. Other Social Media Networks

After voting, if you would like to endorse a particular avenue, please feel free to do so in the Comments section below.  If you have already leveraged any of these streams, let us know what level of success you may have encountered.

Thanks for taking the time to vote and Happy New Year!

ShoreBranding.com Book Review – “Brandscaping” by Andrew Davis

 

Andrew Davis' "Brandscaping" (Photo credit: Amazon.com)

Andrew Davis’ “Brandscaping”
(Photo credit: Amazon.com)

Two of the first few blog entries we put together on here on Shore Branding were book reviews for my favorite six books revolving around branding and digital marketing over time.  While two others have been read this past year, neither were as enjoyable as Andrew Davis’ “Brandscaping”, so I thought it was appropriate to put together a review of the book.

For convenience, here are the write-ups from my top six books – Part 1 and Part 2.  I have to say that I would put “Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Brand Partnerships” in the top three.  (Apologies to Mitch Joel…)

Brief Summary: [Read more…]

New Poll – What Is On Your Holiday Wish List?

 

What is on your holiday wish list?  (Photo credit: 123rf.com)

What is on your holiday wish list?
(Photo credit: 123rf.com)

We were overdue for a new poll for a few weeks on Shore Branding, but held off in the spirit of our #SaveThanksgiving efforts.  With Thanksgiving past us, it is now time to think about what your holiday wish list looks like.  Our new poll question is simple: What is the one tech-related item that you hope to receive as a gift this month?  (Whether this is self-gifted or from someone else is unimportant…) [Read more…]