Google really impressed us in San Francisco here today with its 11.6-inch ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. The $249 laptop is 0.8-inches (20mm) thin and weight only 2.43 pounds (1.1kg). It features a 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel matte display, a full-size keyboard, a button-less trackpad and a 30Wh battery for 6.5+ hours of operation. Specs include a fanless dual-core A15-based Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (5250) SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in flash storage, WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth. There's a full-size SD card reader and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (with mic support) on the left, plus the power input, HDMI output, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 connector and SIM slot (currently unused) in back.
First impressions? This is a solid machine -- build quality and materials are fantastic for the price. It's also pleasantly thin and light, a boon for people who are used to carrying a laptop around every day. We're happy with the display which is bright and crisp. Viewing angles could use some improvement, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better laptop screen at this price. The keyboard and trackpad feel great (we're coming from an 11-inch Core i7 MacBook Air), and two-finger scrolling works like a charm. Performance is somewhere between the original Atom-based Chromebooks and the current Celeron-equipped Series-5 model. The system didn't have any issues playing back 1080p content in YouTube, but we didn't get a chance try Hulu or NetFlix.
Ultimately, this is a phenomenal device for the price. If you're used to working in the cloud, you're basically getting 80 percent of the entry-level MacBook Air experience for a quarter of the price. Factor in the Google Now integration and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years and this latest Chromebook is a winner. Check out the gallery below and hit the break for our hands-on video.