Final Words

The move to ARM doesn't fundamentally change the performance or usability of the Chromebook. It's still a slow (relative to more expensive notebooks), limited use notebook. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be aware of what you're getting into with this thing.

The display is functional but not very good. Build quality is decent but the new Chromebook is still a plastic notebook. Thankfully the keyboard and trackpad are both pretty decent.

For a basic web browsing and glorified typewriter platform, the Chromebook really does get the job done. It's a very focused, simple device that serves its purpose well. I don't know how big the Chromebook niche is, but Google has targeted it very well. At $249 if you need a physical keyboard and only need basic web browsing support, I don't know that there's a better solution. As an almost-disposable notebook for writing and browsing the web, I'm happy with the Chromebook. Good ultraportables are much more expensive, and even low cost PCs don't come with any sort of solid state storage. Admittedly the eMMC solution in the Chromebook isn't setting any records, but it does deliver consistent IO performance which is more than I can say for a cheap 5400 RPM 2.5" hard drive. 

Ultimately the Chromebook puts pressure on the traditional PC notebook ecosystem from below. Tablets have been doing that for a while but they are a physically different form factor. For those who still want a traditional notebook form factor, there hasn't been much low-cost competition. The Chromebook applies a good amount of pressure there. Compared to a $1000 notebook, the Chromebook's display isn't great but move down into the $500 - $700 range and it doesn't look all that bad thanks to many PC makers failing to invest in good quality panels. 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. With Apple pushing at the top and Google working the bottom, the hope is that the entire PC notebook stack gets better.

On the SoC side, our first look at ARM's Cortex A15 is quite positive from a performance standpoint. I'm still not convinced on its power consumption for smartphone use (big.LITTLE must exist for a reason) but from a performance standpoint, it's going to make current smartphone/tablet SoCs feel very slow. And that's something we can all look forward to in 2013.

Battery Life & Power Analysis
POST A COMMENT

149 Comments

View All Comments

  • rootheday - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    sure, the Atom N570 on 45nm is not so competitive on power and performance but I think it is misleading to compare A15 vs this rev of Atom because newer and better Intel processors are available....

    I think more interesting comparison point for future competitors to A15 would be:
    Acer Aspire One 756 - 11.6" notebook with Sandybridge Pentium or Celeron - I have seen it as low as $290 at Best Buy and Costco. Similar price point but way more performant.

    Clovertrail based machines - reviewed on this site.. http://www.anandtech.com/show/6340/intel-details-a...
    ... while this is Win8 not ChromeOS, I would expect power and performance to be similar.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    I bet those don''t look as good as the Chromebook either. You're paying for the whole package. Reply
  • Midwayman - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    I just wish the Surface had shipped with this SOC. Windows RT sounds more interesting than chrome, but it got saddled with a much older SOC in a product twice the cost. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    me too. If surface had this SOC with a higher res screen, I'd buy one. Instead I'm waiting for a hardware refresh. Tegra3 and atom are too slow, i5 is too power hungry. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    I agree, Tegra 3 and current Atom are too slow, but the upcoming Atom should be better. I'm considering buying that instead of windows RT as a media pc replacement.
    I'm hearing a lot of miracast, has anyone coming out with the dongle yet? anything decent in the retail?
    Reply
  • jeffkro - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Haswell should make a pretty nice media PC. Its suppose to be really good with power consumption especially if you get into the ULV versions. If your media PC is plugged into the wall the difference between 10W or 20-30W isn't that big of a deal. I'm pretty big into HTPC and I'm probably going to swap out my llano system for haswell when the i3 or pentium versions are released. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I probably mislead you.
    What I'm looking for is surface type of tablet when I want to work on a tablet, and then I can dock it on my coffee table and use miracast as a wireless mirror display. That way, I can get rid of laptop, tablet and media pc and use 1 device only.
    Currently I have an old core 2 duo laptop plug in 24/7 with a hdmi display and a wireless mouse as a media pc. The laptop is getting old and a replacement is needed soon.
    Reply
  • wsw1982 - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    the samsung a15 is also 6+ w range soc according to the review Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    Anand has said Haswell will have higher TDP than IVB on the same level of performance. That 10W variant is just a significantly lower powered version. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Agreed, even WP8 got a better SoC than T3 (Krait). Odd choice. Snapdragon S4 Pro in the surface would have been nice. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now