Monday, June 10, 2013

Problems with Samsung Chromebook Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch

Samsung Chromebook features a 11.6 inches Display, Dual Core Processor, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB SSD. For device connectivity, it has a USB 3.0, a USB 2.0 and an HDMI Port. It has built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n for network connectivity. Samsung and Google claim that this a laptop for everyone. It starts in seconds, has virus protection built-in, and runs your favorite Google apps plus thousands more available from the Google Play store, many of which are free. The Chromebook comes pre-loaded with Search, Gmail, YouTube and Hangouts, so you can start using it right out of the box. It weighs just 2.4 pounds, just 0.7 inches tall, and boasts over 6.5 hours of battery life. It's built to stay cool, so it doesn't have any fans and runs silently. It also has a built-in webcam. Is Chromebook worth the price ? Does it have any major drawbacks that would prevent it from becoming the computer of your choice ? Cautionista finds out...

After careful research, here's what we think could be some of the disadvantages of Chromebook:

  • No DVD or Blu-Ray drive. Can't play movies, but you can always stream movies from services like Youtube, Amazon Videos and Hulu.
  • No wired Ethernet port. Not a major drawback since most people prefer a wireless connection anyway.
  • No DVI or VGA port to connect to older monitors that do not have an HDMI port. You can get a cheap HDMI to DVI cable or an HDMI to VGA adapter to use with your existing VGA cable.
  • Only two USB ports. You could get a really cheap USB hub to extend the number of ports.

  • Screen doesn't support Full HD 1080p. Since the screen is small you probably wouldn't notice the difference though.
  • Only 16GB hard drive. Most of your data would be stored in the cloud, but in case you need extra local storage, you could get an inexpensive SD card to expand the memory of the Chromebook.
  • Power adapter is somewhat fragile, the tip seems to break off after several plug in, plug outs. Replacement adapter used to be hard to find, but now they are readily available. It's always good to keep one as spare.
  • Netflix wasn't working until recently, but it seems to be fixed at the time of writing.
  • The machine crashes, freezes or resets after around 10 minutes of operation. Many customers worked around this by doing a factory reset. Others were able to recover the Chromebook by reinstalling ChromeOS from a USB stick, which was not hard to do.
  • Touchpad wouldn't work well. Mouse also behaved erratically when the laptop is plugged in. This could be due to the AC power not being clean, try another outlet. This could also be due to a faulty power adapter. Try another one.
  • Blank screen when turning on the Samsung Chrome after just one month of use. Try holding the power button down 20-30 seconds, the screen would come back to life.
  • Screen cracked without reason after around 6 months of normal use. Only a small percentage of customers seem to have this issue. If you are concerned about this or other electrical or mechanical defects, you could buy a Squaretrade Warranty which is the best-rated warranty for electronic goods.

The Verdict

There are some minor disadvantages with the Samsung Chromebook Wi-Fi 11.6 inch, but we think that it is still a good buy for the price. It's a decent laptop for everyday use. Software bugs would get fixed as the Chrome Operating System evolves. All data and apps are moving to the cloud anyway, so you shouldn't be carrying the weight of a huge hard-drive or other expensive components in your laptop for no reason.