Product Type: Samsung Netbook
Newest Review: ... 10 seconds. When browsing the internet I never have any issues with connectivity or lag on loading pages. I have yet to see any type of err... more
Spec (and App!) Tacular!
Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12
Member Name: northernlovely
Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12
Advantages: Price, looks, battery, versatility
Disadvantages: More for personal / non work use really
I went into the Apple Shop with my 9 year old, faithful MacBook to have the keyboard repaired and was told 'I'm sorry, we don't support that model any more' (by a guy who would probably have been in school when I bought it!). I toyed with the idea of buying a new MacBook, but at around £900 for a machine I basically go on the net with, it just seemed too much.
I didn't want a Windows laptop though - I have one for work, and am generally in a state of frustration with it. It's so boring and blocky, I've never really liked Windows. And again a cheap laptop would set me back £250 and would be a chunky lump of plastic. Hmm.
So when I saw Chromebooks I was amazed - they offered everything I needed and wanted (simple web browsing, easy to use, occasional applications and a few fun games) and could be bought for as little as £220. They're neither PC or Mac, they run on Android, like many popular and powerful mobile phones (I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII). Amazing, I just had to have one. And on saving up my DooYoo Amazon vouchers and adding a little bit to it, have one I had.
I went for the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 which wasn't the cheapest Chromebook but I liked the look and the specs of it and it set me back £299, yes, I could have bought a PC laptop cheaper however you have to see this Chromebook - wow - it has all the aesthetics of a MacBook at a PC price, with a friendlier OS.
Currently the stockists are listed as John Lewis, Currys PC World and Amazon but after visiting a John Lewis and a Currys PC World I was told they mainly stock and sell them online, neither had a display of Chromebooks, and I bought it online at Amazon with free next day delivery.
Specifications on the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 are as follows:
Google Chrome Operating System
CPU / Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Clock Speed (Max.) 1.7GHz CPU Cache 1MB
Screen Size 11.6" Type LED HD Resolution 1366 x 768
Standard System Memory: 2GB Total amount of available memory may be less based on system configurations graphics support, and other factors.
Memory Type DDR3L
Hard Drive 16GB
3W Stereo Speaker (1.5W x 2)
Web Camera 0.3 MP
WirelessLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n
VGA Available only with dongle sold separately
USB Ports 1 x USB 3.0 + 1 x USB 2.0
Multi Card Slot 3- in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
74 Key Keyboard
AC Adapter 40W
Battery Life 6.3 hours approx
Product Dimensions (W x D x H) 11.4" x 8.09" x 0.69"
Product Weight: 2.43 lb
The main reasons I went for the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 are the internal hard drive at 16GB (which is used only for apps and some local storage, everything else is cloud based), the excellent battery life, and the looks.
The Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 is a thin profile, silver plastic laptop with the razor sharp stylings of a first generation MacBook Air. The keys are spaced in a Mac / Vaio style, and are a very dark grey with white lettering / numbering. It's stunning to look at.
When the Chromebook is closed the Samsung logo in silver is printed on the back with the Chrome logo in the corner and 'Chromebook'. It looks very modern and due to being such a new thing, many people ask me about it when they see the Chrome logo.
Installing new apps is a doddle too, and there's a whole host to choose from. You can install games, learning tools, entertainment apps (such as Netflix which works very well on the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12) and so on. The range seems to be growing, too, as more and more people invest in these low cost, high power, stylish laptop alternatives.
Most apps do need a permanent internet connection to run but there are plenty of offline capable apps too so don't let that put you off - you can still use the Chromebook if there is no internet connection available. I have mine at home 99% of the time so it was never much of a concern or consideration for me - but if you're worried you can't work on a word document or Excel spreadsheet on the train - yes, you can. Just make sure the app you are installing is offline capable, there are plenty, and you can store locally too using the 16GB of available hard drive space.
Some of my favourite apps are:
Pixlr (a fantastic alternative to PhotoShop)
Google Docs / Zoho Writer (Both excellent and free alternatives to Microsoft Word, and also fully compatible with Word)
Zoho Sheet (A feature packed spreadsheet application)
FaceBook and Twitter (No introduction needed)
Netflix (A great Chrome OS version of this movie streaming service)
... the rest I just do directly from the browser as it's such a fast and easy to use browser.
The screen I can't fault - bright, and with amazing clarity. Same goes for the sound, too, it's loud, with excellent top and bass and generally listening to music and watching movies on it is a pleasure.
In terms of battery life I find I am getting around 5 and a half hours from it which I'm really happy with, obviously were you working offline you'd get an extra hour at least but I'm more than pleased I'm getting such a long time for such a low price laptop as I used to get 6 hours on the MacBook and I didn't want to drop down too much from that.
The keyboard is very easy to type on, well spaced and just sensitive enough, and the mouse is very Mac - wide, large and with an invisible single mouse button, I love it. It might take a little more getting used to if you are coming from a PC laptop but I don't think you would find it restrictive as you can do everything you want to with the mouse including scrolling. There is no need to 'right click' (joy!)
For gaming, obviously this isn't a high end gaming laptop. But if a few cheeky games of Angry Birds and other low demand (but modern!) games are your thing, then yes, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 will easily handle that. Basically for every day needs it's spot on.
Another thing I have noticed is that due to the architecture of the laptop and the operating system / browser, I never get any pop ups and don't really need to worry at this time about virii. I don't know whether that will change, likely it will, but I've not had to install any type of virus checker as yet.
So, would I recommend the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12 - and Chromebooks in general? I think the answer here would be a resounding yes - for most people. I use my computer to browse the net, go on DooYoo, watch movies and pretty casual tasks. For that, this is an absolutely amazing laptop. I wouldn't recommend it for home offices, heavy workloads and so on, I wouldn't recommend it as a gaming, graphics or audio work laptop, but it's not designed for that.
For the money I cannot fault the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook XE303C12, I am so glad I took the plunge and went for a Chrome OS laptop. I can't comment on the other Chromebooks in the range however mine, I love, and I hope it lasts me a long time, which if the build quality is anything to go by, it will. Five stars out of five from me.
I'm blown away by this laptop, it's beautifully simple and simply beautiful.
Summary: An outstanding alternative to PC and Mac