Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook review

Price when reviewed

There are two USB ports, an SD card reader and a single 3.5mm combined microphone and headphone port. You can use normal headphones in this, but if you want to connect a headset, you’ll have to use one with a three-ring connector rather than two 3.5mm ones. The integrated speakers aren’t loud, but their audio quality is better than most netbooks’, with a decent mid-range and less tinniness on high frequencies than we expected. The laptop has a dual-band Wi-Fi adaptor that can connect to either 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless networks, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a slot at the rear to take a mobile SIM.

For external monitor connections, the Chromebook has a DisplayPort output, which means you may need an adaptor to hook up to a DVI or HDMI display. Currently, you can only mirror the screen, which is handy for presentations or viewing media on a large screen, but it means that dual-display setups aren’t an option. Luckily, the 12.1in integrated screen is fantastic. It has a resolution of 1,280 x 800 and a non-reflective finish that lets you work in bright light. It also renders skin tones and bright colours in a remarkably accurate and natural way.

Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook

We can’t run our usual benchmarks on Chrome OS, but we ran the JavaScript-based SunSpider online benchmark, which completed in 770.6ms. By way of comparison, a 3GHz Core i3-540 did the job in 228ms. The Chromebook still isn’t exactly fast by PC standards, but it’s fast enough for what it needs to do. Battery life is around nine hours, so you shouldn’t need to charge a Chromebook in the middle of a school day.

Samsung’s Chromebook is extremely well made, and Chrome OS 20 fixes many of the problems that users had with earlier versions’ cloud-only ethos. It’s still a cloud-computing client but it no longer turns into a paperweight as soon as you go offline. It’s also much faster and more responsive than the average netbook. Unfortunately, its price means it’s also more expensive than most netbooks, but that still makes it cheaper than most laptops with a comparable screen.

Speed and simplicity remain the major points in its favour; there’s very little you can do to break, slow down or otherwise affect the Chromebook, which makes it a great buy if you’re willing to adopt Google’s cloud-based approach.


Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 291 x 216 x 21.2mm (WDH)
Weight 1.370kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Celeron 867
RAM capacity 4.00GB

Screen and video

Screen size 12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000


Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes

Other Features

USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 9hr 0min
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A
Overall Real World Benchmark score N/A
Responsiveness score N/A
Media score N/A
Multitasking score N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Google Chrome OS 20
OS family Chrome OS

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