Review: Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

Maybe it's just ahead of its time, or maybe the world will never want a laptop that does little more than run a browser.

By Jason Cross, PC World |  Hardware, Chrome OS, Chromebook

Documentation is a major problem. There's a help menu stuffed under the wrench icon that covers a few basics, but doesn't tell you about important shortcuts like CTRL-M to open the file browser. You can press CTRL-ALT-? to view a neat keyboard overlay that will show you keyboard shortcuts, but oddly enough, CTRL-M is absent from it. It makes me wonder what else I'm missing. Most of these shortcuts exist to give you access to the kinds of things you would click on an icon, taskbar, or other intuitive visual feature to access in Windows, OS X, or Linux. For instance, CTRL-N opens a new window: a separate full-screen Chrome window to fill with new tabs and switch back and forth from with a touch of the Switch Windows button. In another operating system, there would be an icon for this, or you would simply launch the Chrome browser again. I'm sure the computer nerds at Google (and elsewhere) are comfortable using keyboard shortcuts for basic tasks, but have they ever watched an average user operate their computer?

Want to print something? Google Cloud Print is your only option, which means you need either an HP ePrint capable printer, or a printer hooked up to a Windows or Mac based PC running the Chrome browser (and of course, said PC has to be powered on and connected to the Internet to enable printing). At least you can watch a little Netflix, right? Well, no. Netflix's streaming site informs us: "We're working with Google to ensure that Chromebook users can instantly watch TV shows and movies from Netflix. More details will be announced in the coming months." At least the browser has Flash 10.2 built in, so Hulu works...sort of. Video clips from many sites often stutter and chop, especially high definition and full-screen video.

Living on the Web

Yes, a computer built to run a browser and nothing else has its advantages. Everything stays in sync with your Chrome browser on other computers. It boots fast and wakes up fast. It can be seamlessly updated to new software without even prompting you (a double-edged sword if ever there was one). But for every benefit of "it's just the web," I find at least two major annoyances that make me pine for a less-lightweight operating system.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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