Google and Samsung announced Thursday that they will be launching new Chromebooks to follow up on the cloud-based laptop Google introduced last year.
The WiFi Chromebook will be available on Monday, for $249. It has an 11.6-inch screen, weighs 2.43 pounds and is less than 0.8-inches thick. The company says it has 6.5 hours of battery life, a 16GB solid-state hard drive and comes with one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI Port and is Bluetooth compatible.
The Chromebook seemed pretty far ahead of the curve when the company announced it last year — a notebook with very limited local storage and nothing but a browser. Like its predecessor, the new Chromebook is uniquely tailored for Google’s biggest fans — the ones who use Google Docs, Gmail, Google Search, YouTube, Chrome’s app store and Google + — and don’t need a computer to do much else.
Those programs do cover a lot of ground from basic document creation to video-conferencing, but those looking to buy a Chromebook still have to be prepared for an all-Google, all-the-time experience.
In a review from Computerworld, JR Raphael said the machine’s performance was fairly good, though he did see some “slowdowns” once he had around a dozen tabs open. The Chrome OS that powers the Chromebook— and is, essentially, the whole point of the device — has “come a long way” since its introduction, he said. And the ability to have a computer that automatically syncs with one’s Google account is pretty darn useful.
So what’s the bottom line?
Raphael says that the computer is a useful little tool, but not for power users who need to run serious programs or do heavy multi-tasking throughout the day. For the price, he said, it’s a great value as long as buyers recognize that limitation.