Samsung Chromebook Series 5 review

Price when reviewed

There are downsides to the Chrome OS model, though, especially for business use. Transmitting your information back and forth leaves you vulnerable to packet-sniffing attacks; and should your host suffer a hacker attack, you’re helpless. A service outage could leave you unable to work at all. And we doubt IT departments will be keen to support a platform that automatically patches itself with no local management.

The hardware

The Chromebook Series 5 hardware adopts a simple design, to complement the new OS. The battery is internal, the RAM isn’t upgradeable and the hard disk isn’t accessible either – although you can get at the mSATA SSD slot if you unscrew the backplate.

Samsung Chromebook Series 5

Look around the edges and you’ll also notice there’s no wired Ethernet port, nor HDMI – only one mini-VGA output (the adapter is in the box), a single 3.5mm audio in/out socket and a SIM slot, enabling the 3G model to access a mobile internet connection. You get two USB 2 sockets and an SD card reader, but these aren’t as useful as you might expect (see Practicalities).

Turn to the keyboard and you’ll notice that, in place of function keys, the Chromebook has a row of navigation and control buttons. At the left, instead of Caps Lock, there’s a dedicated search key. The outsized trackpad measures a generous 116mm across the diagonal, allowing you to sweep across the full width of the screen in one movement. You can scroll up and down web pages with a two-finger drag, but Chrome OS doesn’t currently support swiping left and right to navigate between pages.

A final nice touch is the lid sensor: the Chromebook automatically powers on as soon as you open it up, and hibernates when you close it. It’s a little thing, but it helps the Chromebook feel quick and simple.

Hooking up

The Chromebook Series 5 has two USB ports; but there’s no way in Chrome OS to install new device drivers, so you can only connect pre-supported devices. That includes USB mice and keyboards, and approved wired Ethernet adapters. But you can forget about complicated items such as TV tuners or printers: if you want to print out a web page from Chrome OS, you’ll have to use Google’s roundabout Cloud Print service to send it via a different computer.

Samsung Chromebook Series 5

The main use for the USB sockets – such as the SD card slot, for example – is for connecting external storage. The Chrome OS file browser can view, play and queue the most common file types, including PDFs, pictures, music and videos, although high bit-rate HD files may stutter. Chrome Apps can also register services for specific file types: for example, once you’ve installed Picasa, the next time you connect a drive containing JPEG files, you’ll see the option to upload them to Picasa.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions294 x 220 x 20mm (WDH)

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N570
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total0

Screen and video

Screen size12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 3150
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfacemSATA
Hard diskSandisk SSD
Optical disc technologyNone
Battery capacity8,280mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speedN/A
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapteryes
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)2
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.0mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Operating system and software

Recovery methodCreate recovery USB flash drive

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