Samsung Chromebook 3: User Review

by Matthew Ruane

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

 

samsung chromebook 3

The Chromebook is a diamond in the rough. It is a largely overlooked laptop that deserves more attention than it deserves. It serves my purposes quite well, and it will only get better. The Samsung Chromebook 3 is an affordable #Chromebook that powers on quickly and has good enough specs to let me do what I need to do.

I use my Chromebook mostly for work, editing documents and writing some code. I also use it for fun as well. It has a good display and I use my HBO Now account to stream my favorite HBO shows.  It boots in the blink of an eye, around 7 to 10 seconds.

There aren’t really many games for the Chromebook, but that will change soon when Android apps come to ChromeOS.

 

Battery Life and Charging

The Samsung Chromebook 3 has excellent battery life. I average around 8 hours of normal usage before needing to charge. If I am playing a game then the battery life cuts down to maybe 6 hours of use. Still, that is really good.

Charging is super fast as well. Anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes brings me to a full charge. That is one of this Chromebooks greatest features. It charges quick and the battery lasts for  a long time. On a single charge , usually I am able to do an entire day’s worth of work. I have watched a whole season of Game of Thrones on one battery charge as well.

 

Performance and Design

 

I do notice some slowdown on the Samsung Chromebook 3 after use. When you first turn it on and set it up, it is lightning fast. However, after some use it starts to slow down. The app that I have really noticed it with the most is the file browser app, called Files. Pretty creative name for a file browser, don’t you think?

Clicking on the file browser opens a window, yet it takes a few seconds for the window to fill up with your files and folders. It is not bad though, and with maintenance and proper care you can easily work around this.

The laptop itself is small, and is very thin. It has a sleek appearance that lets anyone who looks at it know that this is not your grandmother’s laptop. The screen size is smaller than most would like their laptops to be, at least that’s what I think. It has an 11.6 inch display. That is very small compared to many of the other laptop screens out there.

But you know what? I like it. I find that 11.6 inch screens are just find for me. My wife and I watch movies on it and I can multitask well enough. I wouldn’t want to use a smaller screen though. Since getting the Chromebook I have wanted to use my 7 inch tablet once.

 

Strength and Durability

 

I am pretty careful with my electronics. The way I see it, none of today’s electronics have strength and durability. It’s all a bunch of tiny computer components stuffed inside the cheapest shell they can find. Sorry, I tell it like it is. These companies can do better. I have never seen an iPhone that didn’t have a cracked screen! Well, except maybe in pictures of iPhones that have just been born and haven’t been sold yet.

Samsung Chromebook 3 Sitting Open

Even though I haven’t dropped my Samsung Chromebook 3 yet, I can tell that it is about as durable as any other laptop its size. I think as long as you don’t throw it across the room, drop it, or even drop kick it, it will be strong and durable enough. Just take care of it. Pretend it’s a baby. A quieter, less demanding baby.

 

Best Features

 

The best thing I have to say about Samsung’s Chromebook 3 is how quickly it turns on. In fact, all Chromebooks turn on in the blink of an eye. I’m used to devices that are a pain to turn on and off. My tablet takes 10 minutes to do a 360 reboot. Going from on to off and then on again takes forever on any device I use now. The Chromebook has spoiled me. In around 5 or 7 seconds I can go from powered off and charging to logging in and walking around.

With my work, the ability to take screenshots is important. The Chromebook makes it easy with a simple key combination. In fact, ChromeOS has a ton of them. I use ALT + [ and ALT + ] to move applications to the side of the screen for easy dual viewing. Anchoring an app to the left and the right gives me faster multitasking.

Another awesome thing, which I am looking forward to, is Android apps on ChromeOS. The Samsung Chromebook 3 is on the list of Chromebooks that will get access to Android apps and the Play Store when the update comes out. I couldn’t wait. The developer channel, which works on the newest, newest version of ChromeOS, is working on it right now. So I switched my Chromebook over to running developer versions of ChromeOS. They are pretty much like Pre-Beta builds.

It was not bad, and it ran android apps just fine. Minecraft worked, though still needs improvement. The Pathfinder Adventure card game app worked. So did Firefox and almost everything else.

 

Worst Features

 

The lack of a DELETE button took me awhile to get used to. Honestly, though, I never seem to really need it. When I am writing, if I make a mistake, the BACKSPACE key does what I need it to do. If I really need to use the DELETE function, ALT + BACKSPACE does what I need. Also, swiping down from the launcher window that you see below is supposed to take you to Google Cards. That doesn’t work, and no cards show up at all.

samsung chromebook 3 chromeOS google now screenshot

 

The Chromebook 3 isn’t the fastest laptop out there. It has 2gb of RAM, but that isn’t as bad as it would be to say, run Windows 10 on that amount of RAM.  ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system, and can do much more with 2gb of RAM that Windows could with XP and up. The only real slowness I ever experience is when I load up the Files app. The window takes a moment to populate sometimes. When that happens, I go straight to my maintenance routine. I like to keep things in perfect working condition.

The only other thing I could think to complain about is the max volume. The speakers just aren’t that best. They are also located underneath the laptop. So when you have your Chromebook 3 on the table in front of you, and YouTube is playing your favorite song, the table is muffling the sound.

It’s not that bad, I mean it’s perfect if you happen to be in a quietish room and you are sitting right in front of the Chromebook writing or something. If you want to watch a movie with the family on it, get some speakers for it.

 

Overall Review

 

Samsung did well with the Chromebook 3. I purchased this as an emergency business expense. My old computer went to PC heaven. I bet it really went to hell, though. I just think maybe it’s insensitive to people with family in hell to make  jokes about it. But that thing was a bastard.

The Samsung Chromebook 3 was cheaper than any other non Chromebook in the store. I paid $175 for it. After I brought it home and used it for  a few days I fell in love with it. It was super fast compared to the 15 year old laptop and 3 year old tablet that i had been using. On a single charge I could go pretty much all day. Put it in my briefcase, carry it from here to there, get some work done on the bus, or out to lunch. I can work anywhere at anytime now and not have to worry about the battery life.

The Chromebook 3 has improved my productivity. I have all of the tools that I need to do my job. When the Play Store makes it to the Stable ChromeOS channel, Chromebooks will be even more efficient. Learn more about the Chromebook 3 at its Samsung Product Page

 

Overall Rating 8/10

 

by Matthew Ruane

by Matthew Ruane

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Matthew Ruane is a 32 year old husband, father and technology writer. He enjoys playing the guitar, ukulele and harmonica. Matthew enjoys programming in python as well as GMing for Pathfinder games.

Read more at matthewruane.com

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