New Samsung Chrome OS Laptop & Desktop: Perfect For Mom?

New Samsung Chrome OS Laptop & Desktop: Perfect For Mom?

Gregory Han
May 29, 2012

It was just back in March I set out on the goal of converting an old MacBook into an extremely simplified laptop for my mom to use around the house. The revitalized white and pink machine performed well until the notoriously fickle power adaptor frayed and had to be replaced at a significant cost (aka The Apple Tax). In a two-party world...no, I'm referring to Windows and OS X...I had never considered a third option for a future upgrade: Chrome OS.

Google has announced two new updates to their evolving "the browser is the OS" operating system, Chrome OS. But with the release of Samsung's two latest hardware offerings powered by Google's OS, the Chromebook Series 5 550 and the Chromebox Series 3, alongside some tweaks to the OS itself, there's an argument both of these machines could make for a darn awesome machine for someone who wants instant on performance, doesn't care/understand file management, is prone to forget about updating/upgrading applications or the OS, and wants to primarily browse, chat and email. Maybe I'm in the minority of tech-minded types, but what I see here is two ideal machines for someone like my mom:

Chromebox:
  • Intel Core processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Built-in dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2x DisplayPort++ Output (compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA)
  • DVI single link output
  • Bluetooth 3.0 compatible
  • Kensington key lock compatible
  • $329

Samsung Series 5 550

  • 12.1" (1280x800) display
  • 3.3 lbs / 1.48 kg
  • 6 hours of continuous usage
  • Intel Core processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Gigabit ethernet, and 3G modem
  • HD Camera
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • DisplayPort++ Output (compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA)
  • $449

I've got my mom setup on a capable, but aging Mac Mini, so switching over the similarly shaped Chromebox wouldn't be a big deal. What would be a possible transition issue would be explaining to her about the departure of applications. But maybe not...since Chrome OS opens apps in separate windows, and favorite apps can be "pinned" onto the desktop, it's not really all too different from the explanation I gave her about iOS after gifting her an iPod Touch (which she loves).

$329 is just slightly above what I'd hope to pay for a limited features device like the Chromebox. Drop it down to $299 and Google has me seriously considering switching my mom from OS X over to Chrome OS...and maybe even an extra unit for myself.

More about the Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox.

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