back to article Samsung's Chromebook Pro: Overpriced vanilla PC with a stylus. 'Wow'

It's been nearly six years since Google announced the launch of its own operating system, Chrome OS, and the CR‑48 Chromebook running it. Since then, Chromebooks have carved out a solid chunk of market share for the operating system. Around 50 per cent of US schoolchildren use Chromebooks in the classroom and Chrome OS is now …

  1. Dabooka Silver badge
    Meh

    That hinge

    Does that mean in tablet mode the keyboard is just exposed at the back rather than the base of the unit?

    Seems an obvious flaw to me, although I'll openly admit to never using anything that does that.

    Besides I think I'll wait until the apps are fully functional, and by then of course the next big thing will be upon us anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: in tablet mode the keyboard is just exposed at the back

      My Lenovo is like that. Once it goes past 180 degrees the keyboard stops working. It's ugly and open to getting crap on it but it's no problem to use. Windows 8 is pretty crap in tablet mode though so I seldom use it open like that. I imagine an Androidy OS would handle this much better.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: in tablet mode the keyboard is just exposed at the back

        I had an acer switch as a test sample. That had 8gb ram and 64gb storage with a further 500 in the keyboard. It docked and undocked from the keyboard just fine. I think the asking price was about 450. They ran ok but we ended up going with dell venue pros (mainly for the docking stations ).

        The venue pros are going strong after 18onths, no failures out of 250 units.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    If you could stick ubuntu or even windows it might be worth a look.

    1. theOtherJT

      Absolutely. If I can get debian on this thing I will almost certainly buy one. Looks like an excellent alternative to my aging zenbook.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        There's no shortage of mid-range laptops capable of Windows or Linux. Why bother with one that's got a crappy keyboard?

        1. James 51 Silver badge

          The pen and the screen.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          how many have screens

          that are better resolution than the 1366x768 that you usually find on budget laptops then?

          This seems to have a decent screen for once.

          Shame about it running an OS that slurps data to the Chocolate Factory. At least that is better then slurping data ro Redmond but not by much though.

          As has been remarked on already, if a non Ubuntu Linux was available for this then there would be a market for quite a few amongst those who comment here. Debian or Mint, I don't mind really.

        3. Mage Silver badge
          WTF?

          Also

          What's the point of a Chromebook compare to same HW with Linux?

          You can add whatever cloudyness you want to Linux. ChromeOS seems just like crippleware in comparison.

          Looking at a Lenovo X201 Tablet. Decent touch screen which doubles as a Wacom tablet. It's six years old. It had Win7, but works better with Linux Mint + mate.

          I can accept Android on my phone, because it's just a phone, I don't create more than notes with it and the realistic alternative is iOS with an iPhone at a higher price.

          Similarly unless you MUST have windows on a laptop or possibly convertible laptop/tablet, the better options than Chrome OS are MacOS, Linux or maybe iOS on the Apple equivalent to a Surface.

          I just can't see the point of this or Chromebooks in general.

          My own workhorse is a Lenovo E460, i5 + GPU + HD display running Linux., My previous nearly 15 year old Inspiron 8200 still goes (XP so no longer on Web and not used since Nov 2016), with a slightly more useful 1600 x 1200 display. The Lenovo display is a little small at 14"+, but then a 17" laptop (the traditional 1920 x 1080 replacement for 15" 1600 x1200) is too big

          1. Martin
            WTF?

            Re: Also

            "I just can't see the point of this or Chromebooks in general."

            Then Chromebooks are not aimed at you. Chromebooks are for people like my wife, my daughter and (most of the time) me who want to pick up a computer and do basic browsing, office work and email - which is what 99.9% of users do every time they pick up a laptop. They don't want to have to wait for Windows to install yet another set of updates; they don't even know what Linux is, and they don't care either.

            We have three in our house - one each. Mine also has Crouton installed, so I can play with Linux.

          2. Esme

            Re: Also

            - the point of the Chromebook being that Google get to spy on you all the more easily?

            1. Mellipop

              Re: Also

              How childish. Nearly every web site is collecting data on you and it goes to aggregators which you know as advertisers.

              They probably know more about your habits than you do.

              It's not just Google that collects data about your interests. Although society has put them in a good position by ignoring other search engines.

              The point of the Chromebook has been explained to you in this discussion. It'll overtake PC usage anywhere where there are concerns about sensitive data being stored locally.

              1. SundogUK

                Re: Also

                "They probably know more about your habits than you do."

                No they don't.

                https://noscript.net/

          3. jacksmith21006

            Re: Also

            'ChromeOS seems just like crippleware in comparison."

            ChromeOS is the same. They both use the same kernel! The plus with ChromeOS you get to also use Android apps in addition to full Linux if you want to.

            Linux is different in the kernel and OS are completely separate. So Linux kernel can have SteamOS or Android or ChromeOS or a combination!

            I get it is kind of confusing because how Google markets the Chromebooks but fundementally the computers are NOT crippled. The Linux kernel on them is the exact same that is used to run Google cloud for example.

            It is a full featured and sophisticated cluster running. The difference is the other software that makes use of the kernel. With ChromeOS you have to bring it to the box which is what Crouton does for you.

            But now Google has containers working and we need them to give us access and offer persistance away from ChromeOS system disk. So Crouton would no longer require developer and would run in a container nice and safe.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Also

              My experience is that ChromeOS (and Crouton, if you put that on top) *is* still crippled. Yes, it is a Linux kernel underneath, but it is the kernel that the OEM chose to put there, with whatever options they chose when building it and whatever modules they chose to ship it with. A couple of years down the line, you'd still be running kernel version "old.past-it" and relying on Samsung or Google for security updates. (I don't know which, but if it is like phones then it will be Samsung and you are shit out of luck.)

              At least this model isn't ARM-based and so it will probably conform to all those nice de-facto platform standards imposed by Microsoft for everything around the CPU. That means you have a reasonable chance of putting a recent Linux build on and keeping it "recent" for the lifetime of the hardware, which (contrary to the hardware vendor's fondest wishes) is *not* "six months and then you toss it away and buy the latest model".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This seems to be aimed at a totally different use case, a large use case, than Linux PCs.

      Sales pitch - Do you like your mobile device? Most people - Love it. Do you like using your PC? Most people - Not really, use it if I need to.... Here is a PC that works like your mobile device. Best of both worlds.

    3. DNTP

      An important part of a Reg review of any laptop should be the experience of trying to install Ubuntu/Mint/Debian on it, because it seems that's what a significant minority of the readers here are going to want to do to anything as soon as they buy it. And Best Buy salespeople get all flustered and stern when you try to do that to their demo machines.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Installing Linux on any Chromebook needs you to put it into an "insecure" mode that warns you about that on every boot-up, I think.

        That's how it's worked on anything I've had.

        They don't have a traditional BIOS that you can add in secure keys, and if it's not signed by Google, it warns on bootup and you have to press a key to boot.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Installing Linux on any Chromebook needs you to put it into an "insecure" mode

          After that it is usually reasonably plain sailing on an Intel one like this. In fact, if memory serves me right the Intel ones are supported by the standard Ubuntu installer.

          Now Arm... that is not for the fainthearted. I have an Arm Samsung Chromebook hacked to Run Debian. The experience of installing it was like fighting a pig in the mud. The end result works quite well (though it needs a small protrusion on the back in the form of a micro USB-thumbdrive to be even remotely useful), but is definitely not worth the amount of effort you need to put into it.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          EFI

          Though the Lenovo EFI didn't mind at all. I had to disable "legacy/both" and EFI only in setup so that the Linux live / USB stick would do the EFI based Grub.

    4. Chris 125

      It should work fine - take a look at Crouton, which gives you hotkey-swapping between ChromeOS and Ubuntu.

      That even worked on my 5 year old Samsung Series 5 with it's 486 DX2/66 or something (edit: I checked, it's an Atom N570 so not much better - but it runs both OSs reasonably well.)

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Or check out Seabios which allows most (all?) Intel chromebooks to run from a USB or SD device and install native Linux on the internal 'disc'.

        I favour Mint Cinnamon on a Toshiba CB II - sadly no longer available - for the brilliant IPS screen.

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Reading the review my main complaint is the lack of built-in connectors for HDMI and older USB. Who really wants to have to carry a bag of dongles where ever you go that you might need to plug in to anything?

    I have a el-chepo Chromebook and it was good for certain things, provided Google's whoring of your information is acceptable. For a "technically challenged" friend it was almost perfect (until they stood on it - not really and OS fault).

    However my main gripe with that Chromebook was the keyboard. Yes, I like getting rid of caps lock, but they also got rid of the cursor keys and home/end and for many, many tasks that just royally pissed me off.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "but they also got rid of the cursor keys and home/end"

      Odd. *My* Chromebook has the arrow keys but doesn't have Insert or Delete. There are really quite a few programs where the latter omission means I have to pick up the mouse and navigate through a menu or two, just to perform an action that for the past few decades has been a simple keypress.

      Is there some sort of standard for ChromeOS keyboards or is it just "you can provide whatever subset of a full keyboard that you like, as long as it is a subset"?

      1. Boothy

        Oldish Lenovo N20P here, and that also has cursor keys.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "making it easy to mishit." - is that just a bad Nintendo Mii figure?

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Mishit

      I've arrived here with "The often-used backspace button has been chopped down, making it easy to mishit." in my copy and paste buffer.

      WTF is "mishit"? He's used it at least twice.

      1. Hero Protagonist

        Re: Mishit

        Mis-hit

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Mishit

          My Hero clarified, "mis-hit".

          Thank you. My parsing got hung up on 'mi-shit'.

  5. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    A TPM os good on Chrome, and bad in Windows?

    Please explain...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: A TPM os good on Chrome, and bad in Windows?

      Is a very good point.

      The real answer, of course, is secure/TPM boot is good when you have the ultimate control over its use, and not what the OEM has decided you should get. However, I don't know what this Samsung laptop is like to actually answer that. My old Acer Chromebook allowed you to disable it so I could boot Ubuntu, etc, if I wanted.

    2. Philip Storry

      Re: A TPM os good on Chrome, and bad in Windows?

      On a general purpose machine in a class where you can traditionally run whatever OS you like, a TPM is bad.

      On a machine sold as custom built for one specific OS, it's good.

      There are other factors too. If you're spending a lot of money on a machine you hope to be general purpose, a TPM is bad. If you're spending little money on a machine you will treat as a commodity, it's a lot more acceptable.

      It's all very situational.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A TPM os good on Chrome, and bad in Windows?

        So the same as Windows then?

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: A TPM os good on Chrome, and bad in Windows?

        I would say is exactly the other way round - a TPM where I can run the OS of my choice, and the TPM helps to protect it from unwanted modification is good. If it is used to hinder any modification and run only the Google/MS/Apple/etc. approved OS is bad....

        And if I spend a lot of money for a machine to be general purpose, why should I get *less* security? There's a big chance it will hold more valuable data than a commodity, cheap, machine....

        But it looks that in Google Alternative Universe everything is upside down...

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Well the problem with TPM is...

      ... that it claims to be able to do lots of things, like protecting your system from physical access or someone becoming root in order to modify your boot process. Obviously that's bollocks, since if your system has already been compromised that way, it makes very little sense to achieve persistence via the boot process. There are lots of other, much simper ways to do so.

      That by itself wouldn't be a problem, but then there's the obvious problem of hardware vendors not allowing you to add new keys yourself... or making that particularly difficult to do. Microsoft already dropped the requirement to turn off the TPM, on ARM they even require it to not be possible to be turned off. Essentially we are now seeing the things people warned us about 20 years ago. Most smartphones already have locked bootloaders and if we are not careful, laptops and desktop computers might follow soon.

  6. ridley

    For use in a school environment Chromebooks/Boxes and Bases are brilliant. Easily controlled, secure, fast, cheap with an OS, Admin and utilities that are all free.

    Trying to lock down a MS environment for school use is a futile game of whack a mole.

    A school based on Chromebooks and Google GSuite (FKA Google Apps For Education) saves a fortune and has a better system to boot.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Save a fortune...

      ... .and sends your children data to Google. Enjoy! You pay for it anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Save a fortune...

        ".. .and sends your children data to Google. Enjoy! You pay for it anyway."

        What is this obsession with Google collecting data? Is this just a tin foil hat thing? Google wants your data so they can serve you ads based on stuff you might want to buy as opposed to serving you ads at random. It is not like they are trying to blackmail you or track you down and send you to a CIA black site. It's harmless. Seems like a small price to pay, meaning really no price at all, for free, great software. Also, MSFT attempts to do the same thing *and* they charge you for it.

        1. jacksmith21006

          Re: Save a fortune...

          The comment about Google and collecting data is a smoke screen to take the focus off of Windows slowing dying. It is a reaction to try to grab something to discount what is happening in from of them.

          I am old and seen it with every platform when it starts dying. Techies go through the stages of grief.

          Some can let go and others will persist for years complaining about silly things.

          Best thing our schools ever did was move to using Google. Not only the Chromebases and Chromebooks but also Google Classroom. It is pretty incredible this software and the more valuable K-12 aspect for Google, IMO.

          Our schools are now all Google from chromebooks, chromecasts on all the smart boards, how they use YouTube in the classroom and most importantly the Google software. Love how they use Sheets to break down all your kids in the school so you can break it all down.

          Was out to eat one evening a couple of years ago. My daughter was on her phone and told her to put it down. She told me she had to finish something for school and submit. She was in grade school at the time. I said BS. She shows me her iPhone and yes she was typing in Google Docs.

          I was blown away and this was a couple of years ago.

          My boys knew how to type way before writing. So having Chromebooks at young ages is ideal, IMO.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Save a fortune...

            "take the focus off of Windows slowing dying."

            Fact. All of this 'Google is looking at your data... ooooh' stuff was created as a Microsoft FUD campaign in the Ballmer years. They were selling 'Scroogled' apparel at the Microsoft store in Redmond. It was sad. Microsoft couldn't produce a Google quality product at any cost so they tried to scare people. Check it out if you think I'm making this up. Microsoft paid millions in PR to try to convince people that Google was doing some nefarious with their data... even though MSFT knew full well that Google was just using abstracted user data to serve relevant ads, and was busy trying to copy Google's ad tech.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Save a fortune...

          Data of K-12 schools? You feel fine if someone collects data of from you children for "targeted ads" (but once data are out, you could do everything you like with them) - even when it should not be allowed?

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/18/mississippi_says_google_harvested_student_data/

          And I'm perfectly fine to pay form my children software so they aren't tracked whatever they do. Who cares about "targeted ads"? I teach them to never trust ads, all of them <G>.

          Are you really so greed you are ready to sell your life activities for a bunch of "free" software?

          Then, for the part Google doesn't allow TLAs to access its data - even those collected abroad, and without a warrant...

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Chromebooks - Check.

      But you can't secure MS? What the hell are you doing? GPO and software restrictions and it's game-over for the kids.

      What you CAN'T secure is a damn iPad, even with the world's most expensive MDM software. Can't stop them doing all kinds of stuff, even if you think you would be able to or you appear to have options for it.

      Chromebooks are a cinch in comparison and the kids hate them because they lock them down so well.

      And MS networks - it makes me wonder what you do for a living.

      (Hint: School IT Manager for the last 15 years).

      1. Fuzz

        ipads

        ipads are easy to lock down as long as you have them enroled in DEP. That way it doesn't matter what the kids do to them the restrictions can't be removed. Even if they hook the device up to a computer and use iTunes to wipe it. It boots back up connects to your MDM and sets itself back up again.

      2. ridley

        Re MS systems being made secure that is easy, pull the plug. Making it secure AND usable in a school, well good luck.

        With GSUITE it is a piece of cake.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Headmaster

      School Lock down

      The only suitable windows for total lock down and School was NT4.0.

      Linux can be locked down for school use.

      Chromebook may not even be legal for minors in many countries! Dataslurp.

      1. ridley

        Re: School Lock down

        Google have a policy of not slurping GSUITE accounts, of course I would like that confirmed. But if they did their plan to convert schools would go off the rails PDQ

  7. TVU

    "Since then, Chromebooks have carved out a solid chunk of market share for the operating system. Around 50 per cent of US schoolchildren use Chromebooks in the classroom and Chrome OS is now the second most popular operating system in the country."

    In other words, (a modified Gentoo) Linux is doing rather well in the classroom and it's beaten macOS into third place in the USA.

    Regarding the Samsung Chromebook, I'd personally suggest going for something like the robust and cheaper Asus C202SA Chromebook instead (£180+).

    1. arthoss

      Strongly doubt that chrome is the second most popular os in the US. Android or iOS or some Othe Lunux version.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'Strongly doubt that chrome is the second most popular os in the US. Android or iOS or some Othe Lunux version.'

        Chrome is the second most popular PC OS. Android is the leader in the overall end user OS market by a wide margin... so with Google bringing Android and Chrome together, it could soon be the overall share leader by a wide margin.

      2. jacksmith21006

        Yes earlier last year Google took #2 with PC/Laptops.

        "Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in the US"

        http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/19/11711714/chromebooks-outsold-macs-us-idc-figures

        Now realize Macs have been around like 30 years and Google Chromebooks just a handful of years.

        Also realize YoY Mac sales declined as did Windows and the only one growing was Chromebooks which enjoyed over 40% YoY growth!

        This was before Android came to the platform. It will only accelerate, IMO. But give us access to the containers and it will take the development community very quickly.

        Having a box that we can develop on that runs the exact same services that we use in the cloud on a laptop is idea.

        Then to consider that same software will run from iOT, wearables, mobile, tablet, desktop, TV and the cloud.

        Finally the holly grail! Lucky I lived long enough :).

  8. tiggity Silver badge

    skimping

    Get really sick of miserliness on RAM and internal storage on "lightwight notebooks" (be they chromebook or windows or android).

    Biggest bugbear is pitiful internal storage - I have a computer, I may want to install applications, store data locally (because we cannot always get wifi to do everything cloudy)

    My work laptop has way more software installed, local databases etc than desktop, precisely because laptop could go to various sites with no guarantee of accessing wifi to get at stuff via VPN, so needs to function standalone... Whereas desktop sits on a LAN & can access various data / software on servers hassle free.

    A bit of extra RAM is always welcome, 4 Gb fine most of the time, but there will be occasions when you are pushing a machine hard and extra RAM will help (especially with how bloaty some applications get - stares at various browsers that can easily consume a Gb in a short time for no obvious reason)

    Caveat: Potential purchaser of small (not a vast screen) lightweight notebook but one with a bit of decent storage / RAM and a non ludicrous price, a few devices come close but I'm still waiting (the ones with the grunt tend to be too large a screen size - may as well get a full fat laptop if I'm buying a large screen device)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: skimping

      This is a Chromebook - it has essentially one application = chrome

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: skimping

        'This is a Chromebook - it has essentially one application = chrome'

        Had one application. With Play Store it has over a million.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: skimping

      Tiggity suggested "4 Gb [RAM] fine most of the time"

      4 GB of RAM might be fine, but a laptop with 4 Gb of RAM wouldn't be.

      GB = gigabyte

      Gb = gigabit

      "4 Gb" is 0.5 GB

  9. Tim99 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Samsung and TPM - Extra security

    So it could set itself on fire before Google slurps all of your data?

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Nope

    I'm still waiting for the laptop with 3 screens...

  11. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Intel, sigh

    Show me something like this without TPM and that only runs Android and runs on ARM (so no app problems) and have some cash.

    1. Mellipop

      Re: Intel, sigh

      It wasn't mentioned in the review but Samsung Chromebook Plus __IS__ ARM and $100 cheaper than the Pro.

      It also runs android Apps, mostly without problems.

      Unless something else comes along it's what will replace my Nexus 10 and HP Chromebook.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HDMI adapter you claim?

    "An HDMI port would have been nice too, although Samsung will sell you an adaptor for that."

    Yes they will, and if it is as "brill" as the one they crapped out for the Tab 2 series, it won't actually do anything. I tried it on at least two systems, and the HDMI adapt{o|e}r is recognized, and then when you try and play a video with it there is zero output on it. Complete garbage, and if I recall highly overpriced. More Samsung "fire sale" garbage for the landfill. Hopeless.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reviews with a real sense of humour:

    "and I suspect it's going to be a real selling point once Google finishes the software "

    Bwahahahahahaahahahaaaaa! In this reality, or a different one?

  14. jason 7

    A quick question for those of you mentioning Google's data slurping.

    Just what is it that Google is doing with all this 'data'?

    You seem to think it has some amazing scary purpose. But in over ten years of using a LOT of Googles services, I've never had one email or ad from them. Not a single letter in the post, not a phonecall offering me something. I don't get that sort of thing from pretty much anyone else either.

    So you know...let us in on the big secret.

    Or are you just talking shit?

    1. luminous

      Optional

      Ok I'll bite...

      Unless you are using an ad blocker, you get ads from google all the time. And they are targeted to you according to your browsing, other sites you visit, all the other things you do on your google devices. So you may say, well I'm a pretty boy and I don't do anything wrong so I've got nothing to worry about. We all have private lives and we shouldn't put up with big corporations or governments spying on us. Or would you prefer that everyone's life is open all the time and big brother is recording exactly what you are doing all the time? This principal is what gets a lot of us, even if we don't experience an actual embarrassment over leak of data. We don't want to live in the matrix.

      And you may disagree with the above... that's fine. You don't care that your data is being slurped and spied on by other people. But there are other consequences that will effect you daily. It's called bubbling and this is mainly what google's slurping is for. Ever wondered why a friend's search results for the same string are different? Google shows you the results they "think" you want to see. This is really dangerous and dividing, and very very wrong. We've seen major consequences of this last year and I guess it will only get worse.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Optional

        ...rubs chin.

      2. a pressbutton

        Re: Optional

        Google shows you the results they "think" you want to see.

        This is really dangerous and dividing, and very very wrong.

        ... not so sure

        Type in 'Chicken'

        Depending on your personal preferences you may want to see

        -chicken (the animal)

        -chicken (a recipe)

        -chicken (the game)

        -a kilo of drugs

        -a young gay male

        -nandos

        I see recipes - and that is good for me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Optional

          When we type in 'Chicken', we expect google search engine to return all possible results in the order of relevant to the keyword 'Chicken', and not some articles about young gay male running across the street because we've watched three random youtubes and people commented with 'Chicken' run.

          Also If you really were looking for a chicken recipe, you really should have typed 'Chicken Recipe' and stop being lazy. Just because you want to face roll the keyboard and hope google understands doesn't mean you should.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: A quick question for those of you mentioning Google's data slurping.

      How do you believe Google makes money? Selling Chromebooks or selling the data it collects? And why other pay for those data? Just to waste space on their servers?

      Google itself won't try to sell much to you - especially if your a simple user (my father company gets many calls from Google reps who want to sell ads services to it...), you're not the Google customer, you're the Google product, you're being sold to others

      If you don't receive pretty anything else probably it's because analyzing the data they found you're the kind who's not going to buy anything, or a bad/dangerous customer... <G>

  15. jason 7

    On the subject of the hardware specs.

    Can I just point out to those of you that have lived under a rock for the past 5 or so years or have never actually used a Chromebook.

    The hardware requirements and processes for Chromebooks are quite different from running Windows or Linux. Hence why the specs look low. When you are not running a huge monolithic OS that isn't designed to locally carry your entire anime collection around with you, you don't need that much.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: On the subject of the hardware specs.

      Surely the requirements and processes for Chromebooks are exactly the same as those for Linux, as that's what Chromeos is?

      If the processor is fast enough to keep up with a video playing, if there's easy external storage (e.g. micro-SD or USB), and there's enough memory to avoid regular thrashing then for most people that's going to be good enough.

      Certainly is for me, for the portable sofa-surfing machine... sure, it gets a bit slow trying to use the Gimp on large images in 16 bit/colour mode, and I wouldn't care to use it OCR a thousand page novel in one go, but it's quite happy doing 2-d CAD and software development, LaTeX book authoring and Libre Office tasks. For the heavy lifting, there's an older but still operational laptop with a couple of spinny discs in and a decent amount of memory which spends most of its time being a file server.

      A Chromebook is a lightweight commodity laptop with a decent screen and a good battery life. I prefer to use a different OS, that's all. My only complaint is that they took away the bloody delete key...

      1. Boothy

        Re: On the subject of the hardware specs.

        Quote: "My only complaint is that they took away the bloody delete key..."

        Just in case you're not aware, Alt+Backspace should be Delete (doesn't get the button back, but better than nothing!).

        For anyone that doesn't know, there are tons of keyboard shortcuts in ChromeOS. To view them on the Chromebook, just hit Ctrl+Alt+? and an interactive overlay should popup, just press the Ctrl, Shift, Alt buttons to see what each modifier key does.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: On the subject of the hardware specs.

      "The hardware requirements and processes for Chromebooks are quite different from running Windows or Linux"

      Well, yes, because most of the software is running in the Dalvik or JavaScript engines, so the hardware needs to be rather better than a Linux machine running natively compiled apps.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree that this Chromebook is not quite right, but it's close. Someone is going to create a high quality, touch enabled Chromebook with the Play Store apps and sell a huge number of PCs.

  17. mike panero

    My use case

    I blow things up on my desktop

    Email etc the phones (3 last count)

    Got a 10inch tab for some games, viewing imdb whilst I watch the telly and recording my gas and electric on a spreadsheet (started life as an xhell orifice 2000 back in '06...)

    But a tablet/laptop combo for nadda coin?

    With HDMI?

    That tablet never leaves the house so GPS is meh.

    And it runs Android Bookmarks?

    Castrate some Kodi loading crim in public just as you give $$$ free movie for x months*

    * With a rusty knife, on a rainy day...

    If the droid thing is sorted by my birthday... else crimbo

    £200+ ish budget

  18. Mike Campbell 1
    Happy

    Roll on April

    Big fan of Chromebooks. Acer Chromebook 14 4GB recently joined Dell Chromebox & early Samsung. These complement a portfolio of PCs, Macs & iPads.

    Instant on with very few updates are big pluses. They "just work". Latest Chromebooks have vastly improved screens. Acer Chromebook R13 is worth a look.

    Will use Samsung Chromebook Pro primarily in tablet mode for Browsing, Zinio Mags, PDFs, News, YouTube & Videos etc. Only downside is the "higher" price but I'll be going for this in place of a new iPad or Pixel C.

    Excellent review & video at Ars Technica. Check out Chromeunboxed.com who specialise in all things Chrome.

    1. Mike Campbell 1

      Re: Roll on April

      https://chromeunboxed.com/samsung-chromebook-pro-review/

  19. Roopee
    Meh

    Chrome OS high end...

    ...is an oxymoron, shirley?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another option if you want a skinny, cheap laptop....

    ....which isn't tethered to the internet would be the Acer Chromebook 14 on which this is being written.

    Pluses:

    - very cheap (160 pounds UK)

    - very light (less than 3 pounds)

    - good 14 inch screen (but only 1368x768)

    - HDMI output

    - slot for SD card to extend file system space (from 32MB installed)

    - no moving parts (everything is integral with the motherboard -- so no fan)

    - runs Linux like a champ (Fedora 24/XFCE right now)

    - 10+ hours away from wires and wall sockets (might be 12+ hours -- never tried)

    Minuses (probably depends on personal taste):

    - no touch screen (not a minus for me)

    - no upgrades possible (apart from the SD card) so the RAM is fixed at 2GB

    - no CD/DVD drive

    As an aside, the base 32GB RAM is plenty when running Fedora/XFCE since the software footprint is less than 5GB.

    This is the laptop I should have had ten years ago...cheap, light, good screen and plenty powerful enough for 95% of everything I need to do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another option if you want a skinny, cheap laptop....

      Sorry...finger trouble....the laptop is described is called the "Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14".

      Otherwise the description is correct.

  21. mmeier

    Can I remove GoogleSpyOS<<<Chrome, stick a bigger SSD in and install a proper OS like Win10 on it?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      It's an x86 machine, so I don't see why not, but it will put 200 notes onto the price tag.

  22. Rattus Rattus

    2,400 by 1,600 pixel touchscreen?

    On a twelve inch screen, WHY? Drop that down to a standard 1080p and you can probably knock a hundred off the price.

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