74

A decent Chromebook, and at a price we can get behind

74

No matter how cheap Chromebooks get, they will always be a polarizing class of product: There are some people who couldn't be paid to use a laptop where everything is done in the browser. That said, $249 seems like an appropriate price for this sort of device -- more so than $450, certainly, which is what the last-gen model sold for. At $249, this device's faults (a dimmer display, less processing power) are the sorts of shortcomings you can easily deal with. Our biggest complaint is that it doesn't currently support Netflix streaming, but we believe Google when it says it's working on a fix. After all, it's already brought streaming to other Chromebooks, so we have no reason to believe this model will get left out in the cold. Again, we might mind these things more if the device cost twice as much, but as is, it's priced in impulse buy territory.

So who's this for? For starters, we've always felt that Chromebooks could be useful in computer labs and one-to-one laptop programs in schools, but now they're priced aggressively enough that mainstream consumers might want them, too. We're thinking travelers who need a lightweight machine for the road, or parents who cringe at the idea of spending $600 on a laptop for their kids. And these were always the target customers, really, except now they're unlikely to find a tablet or equally nice netbook for the same amount of money. In that regard, a price cut goes a long way.

Buy It:

90-Day Price History

now
high
$249
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$184

Critic reviews

7.6
17 reviews
  • Speed and features
    7.9
  • Design and form factor
    7.9
  • Battery life
    7.7
  • Display
    6.0
  • Durability
    7.6
  • Expandability
    6.4
  • Noise
    9.6
  • Portability (size / weight)
    8.6

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User reviews

8.1
23 reviews
7.0
Engadget Nov 7, 2012

Chromebooks will always be polarizing, but at $249 the price is far more appropriate than it had been. We recommend it for schools and people looking for a cheap second laptop.

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9.0
ZDNet Oct 21, 2012

It's a reasonably fast, go anywhere, do anything computer that will cost you less than an iPod. ... Sun's motto used to be the network is the computer. Today, that motto has been made reality in my hands by Google and Samsung with the ARM Chromebook. This really does change everything.

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9.0
New York Times Nov 29, 2012

It’s been a long, patient slot for Google to get here, but with year after year of careful tweaks and improvements — and a jaw-dropping $250 price — the Chromebook is finally ready for prime time.

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8.0
Computerworld Oct 19, 2012

Whether as a secondary system or a primary computer, the new Chromebook is outstanding for light Web browsing and Web-oriented work... Google seems to be marketing this machine as a secondary computer for the family, and in that regard, it's a pretty enticing proposition.

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8.0
TechCrunch Oct 31, 2012

But now at $249, the Samsung Chromebook makes perfect sense: it’s a cheap, effective portable web browser with a full keyboard and nearly all-day battery life.

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7.0
AnandTech Oct 31, 2012

Ultimately the Chromebook puts pressure on the traditional PC notebook ecosystem from below... If a $249 Chromebook delivers a competitive keyboard, trackpad, display resolution and quality experience to your $499 PC notebook, it's time for a change.

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7.0
AllThingsD Nov 6, 2012

If you’re looking for an additional computer and you don’t want to break the bank, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you can do with this cloud-based operating system running on a $249 Chromebook.

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7.0
Wired Jan 31, 2013

The new Chromebook feels cheap and looks cheap, and that’s OK for a secondary computer or a student’s machine. Yes, it’s much less powerful than higher-priced Macs ... But it’s so capable, so cheap and so easy to use for those living in the cloud, it’s hard not to like it.

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7.0
PC World Mar 19, 2013

While the Chromebook isn’t for everyone, it’s certainly a cheap and productive alternative to a similarly-equipped tablet. You don’t get a touchscreen, but you do get extra Cloud Drive storage, better performance, and a keyboard.

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8.0
SlashGear Oct 20, 2012

This Chromebook from Samsung is a value offer you might just need to think about, if only because the quality matches the price so very closely. Considering the alternatives start at several hundreds of dollars higher, you risk being called “silly” for not considering the Chromebook.

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7.0
Time Oct 29, 2012

Compromised as it is, it works pretty well — and for a $250 laptop, that’s no dubious distinction.

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7.0
Pocket-Lint Dec 12, 2012

The Samsung Series 3 may be the best Chromebook we've seen so far, but it still lacks the excitement factor, doesn't look too appealing from the outside and the screen's poor viewing angle is a frustration when in use.

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8.0
TechRadar Nov 9, 2012

It is, ultimately, good at doing the thing it's designed to do. All you have to do is decide if that thing is right for you.

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8.0
T3 Nov 20, 2012

So can the cheaper Samsung Series 3 Chromebook pave the way for more people to leave a life of optical drives and desktops littered with icons behind them? The price and performance is certainly a step in the right direction.

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8.0
TrustedReviews Feb 6, 2013

t’s slim, stylish, light, quiet, lasts a good while on a charge, offers a great typing experience and it's available for a ridiculously good price.

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7.0
Liliputing Nov 1, 2012

The new Samsung Chromebook is remarkably light, surprisingly responsive, and offers a pretty great laptop experience — if you don’t mind an operating system that only really runs one app: a web browser.

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9.0
bkowalski3000 bkowalski3000

When I bought this Chromebook, my immediate intention was to use it to take notes at my University. I was tired of lugging around my giant HP laptop and I was even more tired of plugging it in every two hours to get a charge. I've had this device for almost a year now and I haven't gone back to...

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9.0
bmorenoy bmorenoy

I have to bump up the rating because of the 12 free go go flight connections and 100gb of free(for 2 years) cloud space. Its snappy but buffers videos on the slow side out side of YouTube For the price its almost perfect. All it needs is a better media player that supports more codecs, better...

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9.0
steveboland steveboland

The killer category for this machine is the price. It is absolutely the best performer in the world for $250, and makes it so attractive for everyday use. I have an old Windows PC for the house, but I only fire up the beast when I have to use Word, which is pretty rare these days. Despite...

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9.0
BushysXP BushysXP

The Samsung Chromebook is a very compact device that help me in my everyday challenges. However if you want a Chromebook you will have to sacrifice some apps, like Skype or Microsoft word. However the Chromebook accounts for that by adding Google hangout which is a video chat service for free. It...

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10
alstonr96 alstonr96

It is a great little laptop for travel or portability. It is also good for games and surfing the internet. Its not a main computer. For the price it is great. I haven't found any major problems yet. Would highly recommend

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8.0
ThDreamer ThDreamer

I got the WiFi+3G model. I like that it has 802.11a support and the basic 3G has come in handy (like recently to purchase data for my MiFi). While its stability and performance in using it for Google Hangout, the primary reason I got it, has been disappointing. It has done quite well in...

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9.0
Joeljanski Joeljanski

I have been a huge Apple fan for years and have been getting sick of not being able to afford just a basic computer I like that can browse the web, type some documents, and a few other random things. When I saw the price on this, I made an instant decision to make my move away from Apple and...

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7.0
Sushubh Sushubh

It is not very powerful. Starts choking if I open 2-3 heavy web pages. Forget about listening music on Google Music in the background and working!

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8.0
maxm11 maxm11

I really love the Chromebook, it gives me everything I need. It boots within seconds, updates all the time, never get viruses, and is really fast. If you absolutely need native apps, there are ways to get Linux working. Chrome OS alone allows me to get all the work I need to do, done. There is...

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8.0
joesterne joesterne

I own the 3G version. For the cost, you can't beat it (factor in 12 passes from Gogo and 100GB from Drive- its almost free at that point). The design apes the MBA 11.6 inch, but hey, it works. The trackpad is miles better than the one on the Cr-48 (no surprise there)

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9.0
HMerida HMerida

I'm enjoying it. Yes, it is secure, you just have to take proper precautions, like 2-step authentication and something like LastPass.com

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