Samsung Chromebook 550 review

Does the new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook overcome past problems?

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
New Chromebook from Samsung

TechRadar Verdict

The new Samsung Chromebook is a fine piece of kit which is a step on from its predecessor. Although Chrome OS is still not perfect, it's progressed a long way in a short time and could become a key challenger


  • +

    Improved speed

  • +

    Fast boot up

  • +

    Attractive design

  • +

    Light and compact

  • +

    Support for 3G mobile internet


  • -

    Underpowered for HD

  • -

    Not as intuitive as a tablet

  • -

    Not suitable as your main PC

  • -

    Redundant if no internet

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Chromebooks - and the Chrome OS operating system they run on - are worthy innovations, but so far have fallen short of our expectations. The idea of a laptop that's so streamlined for browsing and working on the web that it boots in seconds and can run all day off a single battery charge is certainly appealing.

Google's Chrome web browser is a fast, light and versatile program for accessing the web. Building an operating system around it, while integrating many of Google's cloud services such as Google Drive, was a great idea. Coincidentally, you get 100 GB of Google Drive storage free for 2 years.

So Chromebooks had the potential to succeed where netbooks failed, and even maybe take on the might of the increasingly popular tablet.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review

However, as we've seen with Chromebooks such as the Acer AC700 and Samsung's early Chromebook, the results have so far been rather disappointing.

Early versions of the Chrome OS had their flaws, especially when it came to the playback of media, which would often stutter, or not play at all. Having a whole operating system in a web browser that took up the entire screen also made multi-tasking and other tasks we take for granted in desktop-based operating systems such as Windows 7 much more difficult.

The hardware that was supporting Chrome OS didn't help, either. Just because a laptop is streamlined, doesn't mean it has to be underpowered. Yet many of the early Chromebooks came with paltry RAM and integrated graphics and hardly any internal storage, which made using them sluggish and frustrating.

Finally a laptop and operating system that stores everything on the web is only as good as your internet connection - so if you weren't able to access a wireless network, the Chromebook would be all but useless.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE550C22 review

The Samsung XE550C22 Chromebook has a big mission in front of it, then. It needs to overcome the failings of past Chromebooks and prove to those of us who have been left unimpressed with what we've seen so far that Chromebooks and the Chrome OS are relevant. It's certainly a tall order, but can it succeed?

Oh, and it needs to persuade us that the price of £379 in the UK or $499.99 in the US for the Wi-Fi version - or £429/$549.99 for the 3G version - for a laptop with 4GB RAM, instant boot and a novel new approach is worth the risk of removing the safety net of Microsoft Windows.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.