When the $249 Chromebook from Samsung was announced, I was immediately curious. Finally, it appeared that the unique notebook fitted with an OS that ran little more than a browser was priced fairly for what the user receives. At $249, the new Chromebook certainly hits that sweet spot for consumers where a purchase might be made on impulse rather than careful consideration.
Let’s start this analysis by getting the obvious points out of the way. The new Chromebook is running a dual-core ARM processor. Top performance shouldn’t be expected from any budget PC, let alone one that costs less than $300. The real appeal of the device comes to folks that want a nice portable Internet experience without having to lug around their primary PC. It’s a secondary device, and not something that Google is neither promoting nor expecting people to use as such. It might be a primary for a child or senior that just wants to use the Chromebook to check Gmail and do very basic Web browsing, but it is heavily promoted as more of a toss-around secondary option.
When Chris Pirillo picked up his Samsung Chromebook, it appeared as though it performed quite well, especially given the small price. He noted some of his pros and cons in a recent Google+ post.
Chris Pirillo’s Pros:
- Price (dude, it’s $250)
- Great Internet machine
- Great keyboard
- Power cable on the back
- Feels light
- Ample amount of apps (including Netflix)
- 1080p on YouTube seemed fine
- Offline Sync for Drive
- Easy setup!
- Easy updates
- Perfect n00b / Internet computer
- Clean design
- Like a plastic MacBook Air
- Guest mode!
- Good usability
- Remap function (CTRL/ALT) keyboard controls!
Chris Pirillo’s Cons:
- Low contrast
- Okay performance
- Okay speakers
- Barely “fine” webcam
- Plastic construction (feels cheap)
My personal list of pros and cons falls in line with these, though I would add just a few usage scenarios that might make the Chromebook a much more appealing choice for users.
100 GB Google Storage Free for Two Years
When you buy a Chromebook, Google gives you 100 GB of free online storage for two years. If you factor in the price of this cloud storage option into the purchase price of your Chromebook, it ends up being practically free. Google Drive is a primary storage medium for business documents for a large number of professionals, and it’s almost essential for any cloud-based computing experience. You need to be able to store your files in the cloud, if only to prevent hardware failure or loss from separating you from your data.
12 Free Sessions of Gogo Inflight Internet Service
Purchasing a Chromebook also gives you a dozen free sessions of Gogo Inflight Internet Service. If you’re a frequent flier and having a connection to the Web in the air is important to you, this perk could save you some money. At a rate of about $15 per session, this deal would save you roughly $180. That’s not a bad deal considering the hardware isn’t much pricier than that. Throw in the online storage and Google is practically paying you to get a Chromebook.
Keeps Your Primary PC Safe
Being on the road with your laptop is a dangerous game. Someone could knock into you while you’re walking down the street, causing your laptop bag to fall and potentially damage your hardware. The very act of walking with a laptop jostles it and could cause issues over time. Having a cheaper laptop you can throw in your bag and head out the door with means not having to worry so much about your primary hardware. At $249, it’s practically disposable. The Chromebook itself is well made, and that more than I can say for many high-end laptops out there that would bend or break at the slightest drop.
Not to mention, who really wants to share their PC with the entire family? Kids can do all sorts of damage as they explore around your files and hit the delete button randomly. Unless you lock your system down (which not everyone really wants to do) then you’re opening yourself up to a number of problems. Why not just give your kids a Chromebook with parental controls set that they can take around the house with them? It beats having to replace your laptop after they decided to use it as a footstool.
What would your reasons be for picking up a Chromebook? Is $249 a decent price point for you?