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Samsung Chromebook 550 review

Does the new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook overcome past problems?

While many of the specifications we've mentioned are great in theory, a lot of the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook's success relies on the new and improved Chrome OS. The revamp includes a more desktop-like experience, with icons for your favourite apps displayed on a desktop wallpaper of your choosing.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS apps

It looks good and works well at helping users from traditional operating systems acclimatise to the Chromebook's way of doing things.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS picture editing

As you'd expect from a Chromebook running a light operating system from a speedy solid state drive, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 boots up in a matter of seconds, and after logging in you can dive straight into browsing the internet. The boosted hardware inside this Chromebook gives it a much sprightlier and smoother feel as you're browsing the web and running apps.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS multiple windows

However, we still experienced playback problems when running high definition video, both from a USB stick and streaming it online. While a Chromebook isn't ever going to be an all singing, all dancing media machine, it's disheartening to see a product this new - and at this price (£379 in the UK or $499.99 in the US for the Wi-Fi-only model, or £429/$549.99 for the 3G version) - struggling with 1080p video.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS presentation

Apart from that, things have certainly been tightened up. When we used the first generation of Chromebooks we were dismayed at the lack of support for certain file types. Not knowing if your Chromebook was able to open or play a file resulted in an extremely hit and miss, not to mention frustrating, experience.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS remote desktop

Added support for most of the popular formats is a very welcome addition, and makes the Chromebook far more enjoyable to use.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS games

Battery life is pretty decent, with about six hours of heavy use, although considering the specs we were hoping for quite a bit longer. It's slim, light, (25.5mm thick and 1.4kg) and looks great though, so you'd have no problem taking it around with you.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review
Chrome OS handling docs

Tech Specs

Product TypeNetbook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
BluetoothNo
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8.50 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity16 GB
FireWire/i.LINKNo
HDMINo
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyChromebook 5
Operating System Architecture32-bit
Processor ModelN570
ColourArctic White
Operating SystemChrome OS
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed1.66 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size30.7 cm (12.1")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.50 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelNM10 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Total Number of USB Ports2
Height20.3 mm
Width294.6 mm
Depth218.4 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series5
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelXE500C21
Product NameChromebook XE500C21 Netbook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineChromebook
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberXE500C21A01US
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Nothing but the Web
Chromebooks are built and optimized for the web, where you already spend most of your computing time. So you get a faster, simpler and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers.

Thin & Light design - just 3.3 lbs.
Weighing in at 3.3 lbs and just .8 inches thick, the ultra compact design provides maximum portability without compromising on functionality and optimal performance.

Instant Web
Chromebooks boot in less than 10 seconds and resume instantly. Your favorite websites load quickly and run smoothly, with full support for the latest web standards and Adobe Flash. In fact, Chromebooks are designed to get faster over time as updates are released.

Maximum Memory2 GB