Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Would you pay $430 for a browser-only Macbook Air?

samsung-srs5_chrome-glamor-open-lg

Because that’s what you get when you buy a Samsung Wi-Fi Chromebook.

Admittedly, it’s not a perfect analogy. The Macbook Air is skinnier in the front and capable of 1080p playback, whereas the Samsung Chromebook can only render 720p HD. The former is also made of industrial titanium, whereas the latter uses high-end Macbook-like plastic. And in terms of startup and resume times, the Chromebook is faster—near instantaneous.

But other than that, Angry Birds HD plays just as well on Samsung’s Chromebook as it does on Macbook Air, as is the case with other web applications. What’s more, the keyboard, screen, HD camera, ambient light sensors, and trackpad of the Chromebook are a lot more Mac-like than PC-like.

In that sense, I consider my new Chromebook the best secondary computing device I’ve ever owned, and much-improved over the lovable (but slower) CR-48 prototype by Google. It’s not as fun as an iPad, but it’s a lot more productive. And if you need a portable computer that doubles as your primary, a 13-inch Macbook Air is still the way to go.

But for everyone else, the Samsung Wi-Fi Chromebook is a wonderful device. Four stars out of five (I would have given it five stars if it had HDMI-out and a lit keyboard).