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
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  • superflex - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Way to use the crappiest pictures of the display you could wrestle up.
    If the display is on par with other 768 TN panels used in laptops reviewed by AT, why did you use those washed out pictures of the display? I don't see the same lack of photography skills when reviewing other laptops with similar panels.
    I guess since Google isn't stroking AT the same way Apple does, a fair review with fair pictures would be pointless.
    Hacks!
    Reply
  • PsychoPif - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Why would you base your opinion on a picture when they provide numerics to back up the review?

    Since I learned about Photoshop, I no longuer believe what I see on a picture anyway.
    Reply
  • superflex - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Ever hear the phrase "A picture says a thousand words"?
    For the casual viewer, who may not delve into the display numbers, the pictures certainly do tell a story. It just depends on what story AT wants to tell.
    Reply
  • superflex - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Look at the review of the Dell XPS 14Z. According to the numbers in this review, the panel in the Sammy CB is on par, if not better than the one used by Dell. Look at the pictures of the Dell display vs the CB display. Are they on par with one another?
    You can certainly influence a consumers purchasing decision based on some sub-par photographs.
    Well done AT.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Do you really think the people technologically sophisticated enough to be interested in an AnandTech review are the same people who would base their purchasing decision on one photograph of a display? Reply
  • superflex - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Do you really think nobody will do a Google search for "Samsung Chromebook Review" and find AT's site on the list?
    I guess Google is smart enough to know a persons IQ and direct them away from AT and its "sophisticated" readers.
    Sheeesh, get over yourself.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Seriously? Just start reading the review, it is clearly not targeted at consumers. Heck, there's a photo of a circuit board on the first page! There's a tear down of the device (complete with photos) before the display is even discussed! Who is going to read this review other than people who care deeply about the technical aspects of the Chromebook?

    But I'm starting to think you know that, and the real reason you're upset is because AnandTech pointed out that the Chromebook has a crappy display.
    Reply
  • SND_ - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Most likely the Chromebook doesn't have a very good display AND the picture sucks.

    I did notice that the display looks very poor in that image. I doubt it's that bad (two feet in front of you). . . typing "Chromebook" into Google will fetch you better pictures of suggesting a display of higher quality.
    Reply
  • LogOver - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    I would like to see a comparison with the Celeron-based Chromebook Reply
  • krumme - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    Celleron is a different price segment.

    The comparison was perfect and valid imho.
    Reply

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