General Question

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Is it worth it to buy a Samsung Chromebook?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6520points) November 14th, 2013

If not, what would you recommend instead?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

tom_g's avatar

This is somewhat similar to the phone question. It depends. For many people, this is the perfect choice. Remember, however, that Chromebooks are inexpensive vehicles for interacting with the browser. If you depend on native applications, you won’t be happy with this device. But if you are embedded in the Googleverse, mostly use your browser, you should be happy.

Important: The Chromebook 11, which was recently released and is probably the best inexpensive Chromebook to get ($279) was pulled off the market temporarily yesterday due to reports that the provided charger was getting too hot. Hopefully this will come back soon.

Pachy's avatar

I wouldn’t want a Chromebook no matter how inexpensive because, while I visit the the Google world a lot, I don’t want to live in it exclusively. Plus, I prefer a larger laptop. I have a MacBook Pro.

flip86's avatar

No. Chromebooks are a huge ripoff and are extremely impractical when you really think about it.

You’d be better off spending more money to get a full featured laptop.

tom_g's avatar

@flip86: “Chromebooks are a huge ripoff and are extremely impractical when you really think about it.”

I’ve thought about it, and haven’t come to this conclusion. Fill us in.

@flip86: “You’d be better off spending more money to get a full featured laptop.”

Remember, “full-featured laptop” != positive in all cases. It would be in the “cons” list for many of us.

flip86's avatar

Everything runs in the cloud which means if you can’t connect, you can’t do anything. You have to rely on Google products. The hardware isn’t worth the cost of having such limited use.

A full featured laptop is much more practical.

tom_g's avatar

@flip86: “Everything runs in the cloud which means if you can’t connect you can’t do anything. You have to rely on Google products. The hardware isn’t worth the cost of having such limited use.”

Hmm….you don’t think my “it depends” answer is more appropriate?
Let’s try this…

My daughter (6th grade) is having to type many of her papers and do more research this year. Since she uses Google Drive (Docs) and everything that she needs a computer for is browser-based, what would I gain from getting her a mac or windows laptop?

I would gain the fun of having to install and maintain anti-virus software, and for that luxury I would get to pay more $.

If 100% of what you do is done in a browser, then you are not losing functionality.

@flip86: “A full featured laptop is much more practical.”

Again, this makes no sense. A Chromebook is a specific tool for a specific purpose. It is significantly more practical for those people who need a Chromebook.

flip86's avatar

It’s funny, I was going to say that Chromebooks are only practical in schools for students. They do serve that niche well.

For me, I use a desktop and while I may use the web quite a bit, It isn’t all I use the computer for. Also, I don’t like the idea of the cloud. I don’t like to relinquish control of my own content to a company like Google. I like storing content natively.

Also, paid antivirus software is scam. Sure, you should scan every now and then for viruses, but a free program is all you need. Norton and McAfee are unnecessary. I haven’t had a computer virus in 4 or 5 years.

And finally, if you don’t like Windows or Mac OS you can always go with Linux. Linux has open source equivalents for just about every well known program.

tom_g's avatar

^ That’s all fine, @flip86. But for many people, a Chromebook is the most appropriate tool for the job. A custom-built laptop running Ubuntu might be fantastic, but if the user doesn’t do anything but boot it up and do 100% of their work in the Chrome browser, what’s the point?

So, like nearly everything in tech, “it depends” is the appropriate response here. I am a software engineer, so obviously I will not be someone who can have a Chromebook as my main pc. But for nearly everyone else in my life, I recommend (and they love them) Chromebooks. They’re also great just as secondary family devices. 7-second bootup, $249—$279, no screaming to me for IT help.

If I lived in a tropical climate and needed a raincoat, I would not be convinced that I need an insulated waterproof jacket rated to -40F because it is more powerful and flexible. What I would need would be simply a rainjacket. That would be the most “practical” choice.

tom_g's avatar

Also,

@flip86: “Also, I don’t like the idea of the cloud. I don’t like to relinquish control of my own content to a company like Google. I like storing content natively.”

Again, that’s wonderful. But not everyone feels that way. And this ideological reason isn’t reflected in your original “Chromebooks are a huge ripoff and are extremely impractical when you really think about it” answer. You could have gone this angle. And while I don’t share your concerns, it would be a legitimate approach.

flip86's avatar

This isn’t a ripoff? When you could get this instead?

tom_g's avatar

@flip86 – Oh, please. Are you intentionally trolling now? The Pixel is not a consumer device as much as concept device from Google. Notice what @AnonymousWoman is asking. She is asking about the Samsung Chromebook ($249). This is the one that nearly everyone who has kids gets. $249. The one that just came out is the Chromebook 11 ($279), but like I said, it was just pulled yesterday while they look into a problem with the supplied charger.

Even I would get a damn macbook pro over the Pixel – and that would just because I would be able to sell it a week after getting it and realizing I don’t need either. Nobody would choose the Pixel. That is not what this conversation is about, however.

flip86's avatar

I’m not saying you have to get a laptop with all the bells and whistles. What I meant is that you can get a laptop at a comparable price point to a chromebook and have a lot more functionality. You may not always use it’s full potential but it is nice to know you do have it, if you ever DO need it. That is my point.

I’m not trolling. You keep coming at me so I respond.

tom_g's avatar

@flip86: “I’m not saying you have to get a laptop with all the bells and whistles. What I meant is that you can get a laptop at a comparable price point to a chromebook and have a lot more functionality. You may not always use it’s full potential but it is nice to know you do have it, if you ever DO need it. That is my point.”

So, provide her the answer to what she asked…

@AnonymousWoman: “If not, what would you recommend instead?”

And just remember – a $249 Windows 8 laptop’s additional functionality might actually be a negative to someone who neither wants or needs it. That’s all I’m saying. It’s always good to find the right tool for the job.

@flip86: “I’m not trolling. You keep coming at me so I respond”

That’s what I do :). Honestly, I’m running an app in debug mode right now and monitoring a log in hopes of discovering a nasty bug that exists in my code. Had some time, and this is a topic (right tool for the job) that’s important to me. I’m also tasked with doing this in real life. Friends and family often come to me with “you work with computers or something, right”, and then proceed to ask me what they should buy. I never give them an answer without a thorough interview to determine exactly what they need. Like I said in the phone thread, despite being opposed to everything that iOS is and stands for, I have recommended the iPhone (and iPad) to more than a handful of people. Sometimes it is the right tool.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

This is all very interesting. I actually was just going to straight up buy a Samsung Chromebook at Staples on the way back from an Ottawa Public Library branch yesterday. At my local library, they let you borrow a Chromebook for two hours and I fell in love with the one I was using. But after talking with my boyfriend, he told me that sounded too much like an impulse buy and suggested looking into it more before buying one. So then questions like this came to mind. :)

I appreciate all the feedback and the questions people have either asked, whether indirectly or directly! I will get to as much as I can…

I don’t actually like saving a whole lot to my main computer. What if my computer dies? And then I can’t recover anything?

To @tom_g I mainly do use the web, so that’s not an issue for me. I like playing around with paint programs as well, though… and sometimes having temporary files on the computer.

You brought up Ubuntu. Apparently there are Chromebooks that let you install this??? What do you know about that?

@flip89 I can’t afford a huge laptop at the moment, and I’m not really interested in buying one. They are huge and bulky. I liked the Chromebook I was using because it’s small and light, but not too small like a tablet. And it has a keyboard! It feels perfect in my hands and on my lap. You do bring up good points about them having more options, though. If they had more options to fall back on, I would find that more satisfactory and may have never asked this question. You recommended Linux, which I already use. Actually, I’m using it right now to respond to you. :) I’m not a huge fan of Apple for the most part (I do have a soft spot for the iPod Touch), but I do like Windows… if any of that information helps.

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room Understood. :) The limited options do somewhat bother me.

@ALL .. Something else I was concerned about are articles that claim you will start having to pay a monthly fee if you get a Chromebook after 2 years…. Is there any truth to those claims? I’m hoping that the articles I saw are misleading…. I’m not all about that life. :)

tom_g's avatar

@AnonymousWoman: “I like playing around with paint programs as well, though… and sometimes having temporary files on the computer.”

You’ll definitely want to do some research in this area. I’m not familiar with the web-based paint tools, like Sumo Paint and Pixlr Editor. This could be a deal breaker, but I’m not sure.

As for Ubuntu on a Chromebook, you could check out this or this.

@flip86 apparently has some $249-level laptops that he’ll be offering as alternatives to the Chromebook. You might want to check those out.

Something else that I would want to mention regarding the Samsung Chromebook – this has been out for some time, and while it’s been sufficient for most people, there have been complaints that more RAM would be nice (to handle many tabs). The Chromebook 11 (as I’ve mentioned) is the $279 device that people really like, but it just got pulled yesterday. I expect it to return shortly. The problem was with the supplied charger, which to some degree is irrelevant because it charges via standard micro usb, so any charger you have (or USB) should be fine.

Good luck.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Thanks for all of the information, @tom_g. :) I will check back for @flip86‘s alternatives.

As for the multiple tabs, when I was talking with my father about the Samsung Chromebook, he told me that one of my brothers had seen people complaining about that. I didn’t find that to be true on the Chromebook I borrowed from the library, though….? A lot of people use those Chromebooks, but I was able to open up several tabs. I often open multiple tabs (in fact, I have many open right now). Chrome was still super fast and I didn’t notice anything wrong.

Hopefully the Chromebook 11s get put back in stock soon. :)

Thanks again!

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Just wanted to add that something that bothered me about the Chromebook was that I could not figure out how to copy/paste…. so if any of you know how, please let me know. That’s a very important feature for me.

tom_g's avatar

^ Standard shortcuts should work (CTRL-C, CTRL-X, CTRL-V).

flip86's avatar

Here is a laptop for $250.

Here is another for $229

They aren’t top of the line but neither are the Chromebooks. You could install Linux on either of them.

tom_g's avatar

Just to follow up, I bought my daughter (6th grade) the Acer C720 (4GB version), and I couldn’t be happier. It’s super light, battery life is great, it is instant on from sleep (or < 7 seconds from cold boot), no moving parts, and it is exactly what we needed.

Additionally, my wife or I can also login to the thing, and in less than 7 seconds, we have everything we need.

Note: I went with the $249 4GB version, but I think the $199 2GB version would have been fine. Also, the $299 touch screen version of this is on sale starting December 11th, I believe.

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