Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook: Day one

Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook: Day one

Summary: After a full day of using the latest Chromebook from Samsung it's clear the Chrome OS has evolved to be a powerful platform. It handles my work so perfectly it is like an OS made just for me.

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Chrome snap view(600x375)

The Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook is not a new laptop but mine arrived yesterday. I have not put the thing down since getting it, and it is already clear it is a great solution for me.

The best way I can describe the Samsung Chromebook is that it's like a special MacBook made just for the way I work. It's not for everybody as the Chrome OS is not as robust as other alternatives, but for those of us who work in the Chrome browser all day it is the best way to do so.

See also: Will a Chromebook be your next PC?

There are many reviews online for the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook so I won't rehash that. I can state that the 12.1-inch laptop is highly portable and has long battery life for life on the go. 

I am the target audience for the Chrome OS as I am firmly entrenched in the Google system. I use the Chrome browser on all devices I use, Gmail for email, Google Drive for online storage, and as a long-time Android user I have migrated my music collection to the Google cloud.

Getting started with the Chromebook was as simple as logging into my Google account. In just a few seconds all of my stuff was accessible from the new Chromebook. The browser had all my bookmarks, browser extensions, history, and cookies synced up. My Google Drive was there with all of my online documents. My entire music collection was available for immediate streaming on the Chromebook.

Chrome desktop (300x188)
Chrome OS desktop

The Chrome OS desktop is essentially an extension of the Chrome browser. All apps are actually web apps, all Chrome apps in the web store are supported in fact. The OS has evolved to a better state than when it first appeared, and all web apps/pages can now be run either in the tabbed browser or as separate windowed applications.

The UI has been designed to make working with either the tabbed browser or windowed applications easy to do with the Chromebook trackpad. Windows can be snapped side-by-side for working in two at a time or blown up full screen to get the UI out of the way.

Apps/web pages can be pinned to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen for easy access. The taskbar can be hidden like the Windows counterpart. All web apps are one tap away in a simple app manager. 

Operation is intuitive for anyone used to working with the Chrome browser, and the learning curve is almost nonexistent. I was productive within minutes of powering the Chromebook up, and have been so the entire time.

There is a simple file manager in Chrome OS that straddles both local storage, which is only 16GB, and the Google Drive. Interaction with files is straightforward and easy to do with the trackpad.

The trackpad on the Samsung is worth mentioning. It is far better than any trackpad I have used on any Windows laptop. Samsung has nailed it on this Chromebook; I haven't even connected an external mouse, something I often do with laptops.

I have been surprised at the quantity and quality of web apps available in the Chrome web store. There are apps to do just about everything, and all I have tried so far work well on the Chromebook. Chrome OS is much more than just a browser, even though it is an online platform.

There are a lot of tricks in the Chrome OS that I am still learning, but it's safe to say I am already more productive with it than I thought I would be. I can see this becoming my full-time work machine given the nature of my work. It's not for everybody but I am a happy camper today.

Topics: Mobile OS, Google, Laptops

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28 comments
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  • Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook: Day one

    A blogger who writes all day only needs a browser so this solution could work for you but anything outside of that like running apps and your screwed. You still have to be weary of the dangers of using it. Google has been known to spy on its users and that could be you. Your 0 day report just got leaked by Google employees and now you no longer have the exclusive. Don't forget the linux underpinnings as well and its known to have its security issues with the telnet port. Given these two statements alone I wouldn't trust any chromebook.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Give it a rest, LD

      You sound like a horrible, tired, broken record.
      D.T.Long
  • James, Glad to hear Chromebook is working for you

    I agree with you comment in the article, Its not for everybody but if a consumer
    is happy with the tools they use Kudos to them.

    “It's not for everybody but I am a happy camper today.” -James
    RickLively
  • Windows 7 mixed with iOS

    It looks nice, but I like Windows and I use core Windows apps like Word and Excel which I need to do my business. I am not always connected to the Internet, so the offline experience in Windows is way much better. You seem to love it, if its working for you, more power to you.
    adacosta38
  • How is the performance when running windows apps in an emulator

    I think thats the big concern for most people if they move to a non windows os, that presuming of course that their apps run fine in an emulator.
    Johnny Vegas
    • For real?

      Why on earth would anybody do that?
      D.T.Long
      • Funny choice of words

        "For real", something you're not. ;)
        William Farrel
        • The pot calling the kettle black

          "For real", something you're not. ;)”
          RickLively
        • Re: Funny choice of words

          Clever way of avoiding answering the question.
          ldo17
      • Because ...

        ... most users have to get actual work done using LOB apps, data analysis tools, case management tools, manufacturing and design tools, etc.

        Not many people do nothing but web-email and simple doc editing.
        bitcrazed
        • Missing the point much?

          If you have those types of needs, you do not buy a Chromebook, period. End of story. I am sure you understand that, but felt the need to make a mindless fan boy post anyway.

          And yes, VERY MANY "people do nothing but web-email and simple doc editing". For them, a Chromebook may indeed be suitable.
          D.T.Long
        • A minority of computer users in businesses use those tools

          "LOB apps, data analysis tools, case management tools, manufacturing and design tools".

          Maybe 2% tops use those tools.
          Mah
        • Re: actual work done using LOB apps, data analysis tools, case m

          Most of which can run happily on a Linux/*nix server, let's face it. A web-based interface would do fine for just about all of them, no need to build a native front-end for the old version of Microsoft Windows which won’t work for the new one—just avoid Microsoft’s fragmentation problems completely.
          ldo17
        • Most People

          Based on my experience on in computer support, most people don't even know what a browser is (or the difference between RAM and disk space), and a browser is all they need. Most people are completely unqualified to manage a computer operating system, which is why they have so many issues, and the Geek Squad can make enough money to send people around in specially marked VWs to make house calls.

          Many people need (or think they need) more than a Chromebook can offer, and a Chromebook is not a good fit for them.
          S_Deemer
    • Remote Desktop

      I don't have access to a Windows machine, but I have run remote desktop against a Mac, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it works. I started it up, remoted to my wife's Macbook, then sat down next to her with the Chromebook and said, "Look at this." "What? I don't see anything unusual." "This is Chromebook, not a Mac. This is my account on the Macbook." No function keys, though.
      S_Deemer
  • im with ya!

    im new to the chromebook and have fallen hard for it as well. the trackpad, keyboard, display, speakers and battery life set it far above similarly priced laptops. as long the chrome web browser stays at the top of the market, development and improvements will continue to flow to chromebooks. i just wish people weren't turned off by the lower-than-normal specs (its a web browser, it doesn't need a lot if power) and give it a shot : D
    portermiked
  • I'm really not sure how much I should worry about this whole idea that

    you lose ownership of things you upload to cloud services...
    theoilman
  • also- James

    are there any actually useful office suites available as chrome apps? let us know if you find one; from my experience none come close to cutting the mustard.
    theoilman
    • "Useful" and "Cutting the mustard"

      Would that not depend on your needs?

      Another mindless fan boy post?
      D.T.Long
  • Money spent better elsewhere

    For the price, a smaller/lighter 10" netbook will beat this, never mind offering far greater features and functionality. I see no benefit in locking myself into Google, relying on the cloud for storage and working out of a browser when Windows 7 lets me do so much more.
    lgpOnTheMove