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Samsung Chromebook 550 review

Does the new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook overcome past problems?

Overall, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 is a big leap forward for Chromebooks, and is easily the best Chromebook we've reviewed. Of course, the previous generation of Chromebook was rather disappointing, so that's not saying too much.

We liked

Improvements in both the hardware and Google's Chrome OS software are very welcome, and make using the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 much more enjoyable. There are still some flaws, though.

The improvements to Chrome OS, alongside extra RAM and processing power, make the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook much more desirable. You can really begin to see the promise of Chromebooks.

We disliked

Media playback and editing, in particular, are not served well by the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook's underpowered integrated graphics.

Even with the changes to Chrome OS that make it behave more like Windows or Mac OS X, it's still a limited operating system compared to the full fat operating systems. Apps are downloaded and installed from the Chrome Store, and while it's growing daily with plenty of apps, there's still a scarcity of apps that offer the depth and complexity of traditional desktop applications.

This means that despite the advancements, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is still a device that you'd only want to use for quick web-based tasks. Anything heavier and you'll want a standard laptop or desktop computer.

Final verdict

So without being able to recommend the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook as your only computer, does it do enough to warrant you buying it to go alongside your existing laptop, desktop or all-in-one? Sadly, not.

While it's certainly well built, the form factor isn't as convenient or as easy to carry as the Chromebook's chief competitor: tablets. While Chrome OS has been improved, it's not as powerful as the iPad's iOS, or that other Google operating system, Android. Has Google itself made the Chromebook obsolete with its Google Nexus 7 tablet?

Once again the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22, like the Chromebooks before it, finds itself in an odd place.

On the one hand it's a forward thinking device, geared towards cloud services and apps. We feel that this is definitely the way technology is heading, but the tech isn't quite there yet. So in some respects, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is a bit ahead of its time.

However, its limited tech, along with the absence of next-gen internet standards such as 4G and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, means that it could soon start feeling out of date. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is a decent computer, and an improvement on its competitors, but it doesn't quite answer the Chromebook conundrum.

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