Tech Talk: Flawless Streaming on Samsung's Chromebook Plus
The Product: Samsung's Chromebook Plus
The Stats: Quad HD 2400x1600 resolution touch-screen display of Gorilla Glass 3, with a 3:2 aspect ratio; 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage; up to 8 hours of battery life; Google Chrome OS; 11.06" x 8.72" x 0.51"
The Experience: OK, so usually Chromebooks feel more like books than chrome—light and sort of flimsy. But this next-level upgrade from Samsung's last line of affordable laptops feels and performs like it costs more. They partnered with Google on the model (and the Chromebook Pro), so it's all Google Play-based apps running on one of the most pristine screens I have ever worked on. As someone who often runs Word, Excel, Adobe, Slack, Twitter and Facebook at the same time, I was thrilled to note that there was no janky lagging with multiple apps open. And the touch-screen functionality is pretty fluid and receptive, without being too sensitive. There is also a built-in pen for the artsy among us or those who just like to crop folks out of their pics with precision.
But the best part is the two-in-one feature. The flippable screen—you can set it as traditional laptop, tablet or teepee formations—never freaked out when I changed positions. On a recent flight to Los Angeles, I was able to tent the device for better room on those always teeny airplane seat trays and stream almost six hours of 30 Rock without the battery running down. The only hiccup was with the plane's GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi; otherwise, the viewing experience was flawless.
As for adaptability, because it's Google-fueled, transitioning to the Chromebook Plus was as effortless as logging into a Gmail account. From there, my apps, settings and purchased shows were loaded in, and I was ready to roll about 12 minutes after opening the review unit's packaging. The silver outer shell also seems relatively scratch-resistant, as I had it stuffed in a backpack with other items and it still has a perfect veneer.
The Verdict: For $449, this slim but sturdy piece is more than worth it. And it's so stylish, you may be accused of showing off when you're simply being super-productive.
Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, available at samsung.com and bestbuy.com