Google’s new Chromebook, manufactured by its trusty hardware partner Samsung, comes with a 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display, Samsung Exynos 5 Dual processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage space, VGA webcam, 2 USB ports, one HDMI port and a battery that can last 6.5 hours.
The specifications are very decent, but the success of the device will ultimately depend on how many people are willing to spend money on a computer with a browser-based operating system. Although the offline capabilities of Google services have improved since Chrome OS was introduced, they mostly require an Internet connection to truly shine.
To attract users who are unconvinced, Google has made an offer hard to refuse: $249 for the Samsung Chromebook plus two years of 100GB cloud storage on Google Drive, which normally costs $4.99 monthly, or about $120 for two years. Deduct the amount from the Chromebook’s selling price, and the actual device price costs only $130. That’s even cheaper than Apple’s new iPod nano.
It’s a good bargain, especially if you rely heavily on Google services and have a way to use up the 100GB of cloud storage. But if you’re planning to save a huge deal of money by making the Chromebook your primary computer, you might want to reconsider.
CNET wasn’t exactly pleased with Chromebook’s performance:
My current favorite browser torture test, panning across my nine columns of Twitter feeds in the TweetDeck Web app, could be slow on the Chromebook. And something I hadn’t seen before: initiating a new tweet often took the Chromebook 5 or 6 seconds before a window appeared where I could type.
The Chromebook must reload older tabs that haven’t been used in a while. That’s a fair strategy for devoting limited memory to the task at hand, but it happens more often than I’d like—when revisiting The New York Times or Hipmunk sites after just a half-hour away, for example.