Google Chromebooks: One Day Post-Launch, the Reviews are In
Not only is it Friday – it’s the Friday after Google Chromebooks finally hit the open market, and maybe you’re thinking it’s time you tried out Google’s Chrome cloud-only OS. After all, we don’t know exactly when Chromebooks will be in the hands of Google Apps resellers. But before you head off to Best Buy or place your order on Amazon.com, here’s a quick look at some of the early reviews. And while they’re mostly positive, not everybody is enamored with the concept.
On Amazon.com, the Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook already has 11 reviews. Most seem to be positive: it’s averaging out to four out of five stars at press time. Most reviews seem to acknowledge the limitations of the Chrome OS, which is designed to be online all the time and have no locally installable software, and as such how much users like it reflects the extent to which the new model fits their lifestyle. Intriguingly, no one on either side of the fence is billing it as any kind of PC replacement, saying instead it’s a complement but not a main event.
The professional critics haven’t been as kind: ReadWriteWeb agrees Chromebooks are potentially a good complement to a traditional computer, but the price (around $500 for a 3G/WiFi model from either Samsung or Acer) and the relative immaturity of Chrome OS as a platform makes it difficult to recommend.
But the New York Times‘ David Pogue didn’t pull any punches:
You can say all kinds of nice things about Google’s Chromebook laptop concept. You can say it’s ahead of its time. Or that it’s thinking way, way outside the box. Or that, as failures go, at least this one swung for the fences.
The hardware is fine, Pogue says, and typing feels fantastic on that Samsung model. But he also writes that a Chromebook is, at the moment, a “paperweight” when it’s offline.
My thoughts: I haven’t managed to get my hands on a Chromebook yet, so I’ll shy away from taking a stand. But early adopters should always beware, especially when it’s an unproven technology such as the always-on model. And besides, I’m far more interested to see how Google Chromebooks perform under the $28 per month per user hardware-as-a-service model for enterprises.
If you’re a first-wave Google Chromebook user, feel free to leave your impressions in the comments below.