The Chromebook's reliance on an active internet connection and unreasonable price tag make it ill-suited for business use.
Reasonable keyboard and trackpad, Chrome OS works well when connected to the internet
Reliance on internet is a pain, external case scratches easily, incredibly overpriced, feels heavy
Model: Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook
Processor: Dual-core Intel Celeron 867 1.3GHz processor
Storage: 16GB SSD
Display: 12.1in 1280x800 pixels
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x DisplayPort++ output (compatible with HDMI,DVI, VGA), 1x gigabit Ethernet, headphone/mic jack, four-in-one memorycard slot
Battery: Six‐cell (65Whr) lithium ion extended battery
The Samsung Series 5 550 is the follow up to the company's original Series 5 Chromebook, offering a faster processor, increased RAM and slightly sturdier outer casing.
Like its predecessor, the 550 Chromebook runs using Google's Chrome operating system, meaning most of its features and services require constant internet access to work. Sadly, as was the case with Samsung's original Series 5 Chromebook, this means that when disconnected from the internet the 550 is fairly useless.
Visually, the 550 Chromebook is incredibly stylish, and could easily pass for a high-end ultrabook design. Unfortunately, this ultrabook look doesn't carry over to the 550's build quality. Despite having a metallic finish, the Chromebook's outer casing is plastic. The only sturdy metal to be found on the device was in the area surrounding its trackpad.
So while the 550 is travel friendly, measuring in at an easily portable 295x218x20mm, it is prone to scratching, with its metallic paint regularly chipping and picking up marks when carried in a bag. The 550 Chromebook is also surprisingly heavy, weighing 1.48kg, making it feel significantly more cumbersome than competing netbooks and tablets.
That said, the 550's keyboard and trackpad are a joy to use. The trackpad responds instantly and accurately, even when compared to other top-end ultrabooks' components. The keys provide a comforting degree of travel and the layout allows for prolonged use, without feeling as if the onset of RSI is just around the corner.
Screen and ports
Samsung's new Chromebook features two USB ports, a DisplayPort, Ethernet and headphone/mic jacks, but lacks a DVD/Blu-ray disc reader.
The 550 comes with a 12.1in 1280x800 pixels screen. Using the new Chromebook, while we found that the screen is clear and legible when viewed directly indoors, it has incredibly poor viewing angles and becomes all but illegible when used outdoors in sunlit conditions. In some respects that's a moot point: given its need for an internet connection, there's limited scope for outside use.
Next: Chrome OS.