This is a review of the Google Chromebook CR-48 laptop. This was the beta version of the Samsung Series 5 Chomrebook variant, and there are some things to improve. In this review, I will include many topics including the externals and internals as well as other important features of Google Chrome OS. I would also like to thank Google for sending me the Google Chromebook CR-48 to review.
The main thing that I like about the Google Chromebook CR-48 is the boot time and convenience of using the device. If I need to check Twitter, or my email quickly, I don’t have to wait the 4-5 minute boot time of my normal PC or not have the worry about the small screen size of my mobile phone. It is very convenient and is one of the main reasons that I use it as my main device while on the go.
I would first like to talk about the outside of the laptop. There is a rubberized texture, and this material goes all around the device. I would also like to note that the laptop is a giant fingerprint magnet. After use for less than a minute, you can easily see where you touched the laptop. Also, when receiving this free notebook from Google, I also received a sticker sheet. Some of the stickers are very irrelevant to the Chomebook, but I just used the Google Chrome logo in the same placement of the Apple logo on a Macbook Pro, for example.
Screen, trackpad and keyboard
Now, I would like to talk about the screen, trackpad and the keyboard. The screen is nice like a regular screen, and I have nothing to complain about in this category. Something other to note is that it has a matte screen. Now we are onto the trackpad. I would just like to say that the one of the only cons is the trackpad. To explain my opinion of the trackpad in one word, I would say terrible. It’s a dread to use, and is probably the only reason why I don’t use it as much as I want to, other than the sluggish processor. I just in general hate how it feels to my finger, and also dislike clicking on it. It is at the point that I refuse to use it without an external mouse. The only thing good I could say about the trackpad is that the gestures are a nice addition. I enjoy scrolling using a two-finger movement and other cool gestures. Other than that, I can’t say anything good about the trackpad.
Lastly, we are onto the keyboard. I’d say that the keyboard = Perfect. It is a perfect size, and I like the spacing of the keys. Maybe I just like it because I am used to the Apple Keyboard. The keyboard has some adjustments to what a normal keyboard has including a Google search button, replacing the caps lock button on normal keyboards, which I got used to pretty easily, so that’s not something I could complain about. The top row of keys on the keyboard is actually not an F1-F12 line of keys. Rather, it is more of web controls, special for a web browser. The keys are as follows, going from left to right. Esc button, Back button, Front button, Refresh button, Full screen button, down and up screen brightness, speaker mute button, down and up speaker buttons and finally a power on/off button.
I would like to say that I don’t you any of them, for (obviously) the power on/off button, and speaker controls.
The port selection of the CR-48 is fairly simple. On the left side there is a VGA port, so you can easily hook the laptop up to a t.v. a view the screen on a t.v. I didn’t use this at all, but I heard it worked. There’s also an SD Card Slot, and the interface to view pictures, videos, and other content is fairly simple, and nice.
Along with the SD Card Slot on the right side, there’s one USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack sitting right beside it. Lastly, there is a power jack so plug in the power cord.
Camera, microphone and speakers
One other terrible thing about the CR-48 is that the camera is non-functional for anything that I can find. I tried countless applications, Youtube Instant Upload and more, but I couldn’t find anything that would work with the on-board camera.
Since I can’t use the camera, I’m not sure how I can use the microphone, so thumbs down on both of those. It is most likely just my machine specifically that has this problem, because there are some videos on Youtube of CR-48 camera tests. Although it worked for some people, the people that it did work for also noted that there were occasional problems which tells me the it’s a problem on Google. I can’t really say anything about it, because it doesn’t work for me but the videos I have seen shot by the webcam tells me that the quality is very low in megapixels, but the microphone is good. One other awful thing about the CR-48 are the speakers. They are really low, and washed out. I also would recommend headphone if you used the CR-48.
Chrome OS, Processor and Battery
The whole point of getting the Chomrebook is for the OS. I honestly don’t have much to say at all because the Chromebook is pretty much a standalone web browser with some extra features that you would need to control an operating system. One thing about the Chromebook that I love is that you can sign in trough your Google account, and it syncs all my bookmarks, extensions, apps and more. Also, you can sing in through a guest account which doesn’t save history, and is in an incognito mode. You can add as many accounts as you want which is nice if this is a family computer. My thoughts of the processor are also pretty bad. It’s fine for just searching the internet, but for web video or doing anything else, I would definitely not recommend it. Lastly, there’s the battery. The battery is extremely large and is very good. It lasts me a few days on light to moderate use, and I am really impressed with it.
Pros/Cons & The Conclusion
- VGA Port for external viewing on a t.v.
- Great battery life
- Great, full size keyboard (if you’re comparing it to a modern tablet)
- Apps, extensions and bookmarks sync over to your computer, and more
- Fingerprint magnet
- Horrible trackpad
- Camera isn’t functioning (possibly just my machine)
- Microphone doesn’t function (possibly just my machine)
- Speakers are dreadfully low, and washed out
- Processor is slow
- Not on the market to purchase
All I can say is that if you like Google Chrome, and all of Google’s ecosystem of products, I can almost assure you that you’d like it. It does what it advertises. If you can overcome the cons, you’ll probably like it. Unfortunately, I can’t really can’t recommend it to you because number one, it’s not available on the market, so I’m kind of stuck there. But, what I can tell you to do is to get the Samsung Series 5 Chomrebook which is on the market and has a much better spec sheet including an Intel Dual-Core Processor, HD Webcam, and stereo speakers, which kind of fixes all my complaints about the CR-48 for a low price of $429 and $499 for the Wifi-only version, and 3G version respectively. Since it is a free notebook sent to me by Google, I honestly can’t complain. So overall, the Chomebook CR-48 is nice to have, but can’t be my main computer for video editing, watching online videos, but more for just surfing simple webpages.