Saturday, July 16, 2011

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

First Netbook. Is Google's Chrome browser enough to be happy in the Web-world? We logged into our Google account. How much Office is actually possible with this browser? Do Google Docs, Picasa and DropBox suffice? Found out in our review.

The first true netbook. The netbook class developed as a simple mobile computer capable of carrying out marginal Office programs whilst serving as a player and web browser. Since 2007, manufacturers have brought countless netbooks of this ilk to the market. But have the Eee-PCs and the other Windows-minis really done their job?

Yes, yes they have. But in serving the simple task of “Web-surfing”, the entire Windows infrastructure was dragged along in the process. One should consider that in order to merely surf the Internet and read emails, the user had to, and still has to fight off viruses and Trojans, go along with Windows updates and put up with long booting times. Couldn’t it be a bit simpler?

It can be with the Linus-based Chrome OS of our Samsung Chromebook (Series 5 500C21). The user is confronted with nothing more than the familiar Chrome Web browser. Is this enough for a fulfilling web-experience? Can the Chromebook replace a Windows netbook? Find out the answers in this review.

Specifications Samsung Chromebook Series 5
  • Processor : Intel Atom N570 1.66 GHz
  • Mainboard : Intel NM10
  • Memory : 2048 MB, 1 x 2048 MB DDR3
  • Graphics adapter : Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150
  • Display : 12.1 inch 16:10, 1.366x768 pixel, 300 cd/m², glossy: no
  • Harddisk : 16GB SSD, GB
  • Soundcard : none
  • Connections : 2 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, Audio Connections: Kopfhörer, Mikrofoneingang, über einen Anschluss, Card Reader: MMC, SDHC, SDXC, SD, TPM Modul
  • Networking : 802.11a/b/g/n (abgn), 3G Modem
  • Optical drive : none
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 19.9 x 294.2 x 219.5
  • Weight : 1.485 kg Power Supply: 0.165 kg
  • Battery : Lithium-Ion, 6 cell 8200 mAh
  • Price : 450 Euro
  • Operating System : Google Chrome OS
  • Additional features : Webcam: 1.3MPixel SVGA, Mini-VGA auf VGA D-Sub Adapter, 24 Months Warranty.
Samsung relies on an Atom N570 CPU with two cores (2x1.66GHz) for its 2011 netbook. The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150 as well as a memory controller for DDR3 (1x2.048 MB) are integrated into the CPU. The TDP is around 8.5 watts. The CPU is something of a descendent of the often used Atom N550 (2x1.5 GHz), which is found in many consumer netbooks. The memory of the Chrome OS (Linux) is only available through a single non-sensitive 16 GB Flash memory (SSD). But this isn’t intended to save the user’s data.

We tested the application performance of the browser with the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark 0.9.1:1517 ms (the smaller, the better). As a comparison, the Windows-based Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 (Atom Z670 1.50GHz) we tested at the same time needed 1907 ms (+25%). The result speaks for the energy savings of the Chrome OS on the Samsung.

We dared to carry out a further benchmark with the Peacekeeper (Futuremark) Browser Benchmark. The browser benchmark tracks its speed with computing Java script functions. We got 1.373 points (version 12) with the Chromebook. But the Windows System Stylistic Q550 with a very similar system (Atom Z670 1.50GHz, 30GB SSD, Intel GMA 600, Chrome Version 12) got an even better 1653 points. The Chromebook looses out in areas like social networking and complex graphics. This could be because of the slow GMA 3150 (200 MHz) instead of the GMA 600 (400 MHz).

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