My mom still owns one of those small, now out-dated computers we had before tablets commonly referred to as a “netbook.” This was her first introduction to using a computer and the majority of her time on it has been inside a Google Chrome browser. She checks her e-mail, browses Facebook and plays a lot of Bejeweled. She seemed like the perfect test candidate for someone who only uses the computer for the web browser and after an hour I had a hard time prying it from her hands.
Traveling back home by train I opted to use the Samsung Chromebook 2, which uniquely features a familiar Intel processor, to do other tech reviews for this site. It was snappy, the battery life lasted the journey (and then some) and it was quiet (there are no moving parts, so no hot fan either) which made it really pleasant. Aside from my Adobe Photoshop needs (which Google and Adobe are working on bringing to Chromebook in the near future) the Chromebook 2 did everything I needed it to.
Once I was home, my wife took a shot at using it, replacing our typical home laptop. It’s lighter which meant she could lay on our couch while using it and lift it with one hand with ease. It was light, fast, easy to use and was capable of doing everything she did on the bigger, more powerful laptop.
My two year old loves a show about a train named Thomas and his adventures on the island of Sodor along with the typical kid-favorite, Elmo. Netflix and YouTube, the two go-to standards in kid’s entertainment, made it easy to navigate and light enough for a toddler to be trusted with.
I was shocked everyone loved this thing as much as they did. I was shocked I loved it as much as I did. But that’s biggest takeaway from the Samsung Chromebook 2, it’s a pleasure to work with, easy to use and handles most of what we do on a daily basis.
The Google Chrome eco-system aside, Samsung makes a go at using an Intel processor with their latest sorta-PC and it’s comforting. The design, features and usability of a laptop that locks you into a web browser is a lot more relaxing than you’d think. While I still needed to look to do things (like Photoshop) on my larger PC, the Chromebook 2 can do most of what my family all does already (I was also able to use Chrome’s Remote Desktop to reach my home PC and do some of that work anyway).
At a sub-$300 price, the Chromebook 2 is really solid. Focusing on the hardware, where Samsung really has the most input, it’s built well. While the body is plastic, it’s light but still feels a little durable. The textured back may not be the coolest design but it’s functional in keeping off fingerprints. There are ports galore for connecting to HDMI, USB or dropping in a MicroSD card to bump up local memory.
One negative was the trackpad which seemed difficult to navigate. Part of that could come from Google Chrome OS’ design but connecting a wireless mouse (which Chrome OS can handle) made this feel a lot more complete.
The biggest takeaway from reviewing the Samsung Chromebook 2 is how functional it is for everyone. I could write my blogs, my wife could shop online, my mom could play online games and my son could watch movies.
It’s also worth noting how secure it feels. Chrome OS means not having to worry about updates, drivers, malware or most other things that garner a phone call from your bewildered family. It just works, and that’s the biggest reason why this works so well.
- Easy To Use