The Samsung Chromebook Plus
I purchased a Samsung Chromebook Plus for $309.00 from Rakuten on a Black Friday sale, and after putting it through its paces for a couple days, I am very, very happy with it. I'm not going to go into any details about specs and benchmarks--plenty of other sites do that just fine. I'm focusing on those aspects that make this Chromebook stand out among most others, making MY experience more enjoyable and productive than previous Chromebooks.
I was fortunate to receive one of the original Google CR-48 Chromebooks in their Test Pilot program back in December, 2010, and I was enamored by its overall form and function. Sure, by today's standard it's clunky and far under-powered, but having a simple, Chrome-based laptop was amazing. Since then, I've owned several Windows laptops, and just last year I replaced them with an Asus C201. It was slim, lightweight, and fast. The ChromeOS environment was more than enough for what I needed, and for those times when I needed Windows access. the Chrome Remote Desktop app was more than enough.
Fast forward to today. I was originally looking at an Asus R11 for $179, and I was just about to purchase it when I stopped by Best Buy to see what they had. I was able to compare an R11 with the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro, and the differences were absolutely stunning. Just holding the two for comparison sealed the deal for the Samsung. The R11 is a fine Chromebook, but Samsung really takes it to a new level (admittedly at double the price.)
So I now have a Samsung Chromebook Plus that ranks as one of the higher-end performers, and so far it's meeting most of my expectations.
The Plus definitely has a high-quality look and feel about it. Its sleek, curved edges really give this a wonderful feel, particularly in tablet/portrait mode. It's comfortable to hold, and it is lightweight enough to be used as a tablet. Display
The bright, high-resolution display is (by current industry standards) odd at first due to its 3:2 aspect ratio. And boy do I love odd! Reading ebooks, magazines, and documentation in tablet mode oriented portrait is a dream. It's much more like an iPad screen aspect ratio, providing better rendering of non-video e-content.
When HD video came out, every laptop and tablet maker (iPad excepted) chose to create screens in a widescreen format. While this makes viewing HD video amazing, when turned portrait to read e-content, the screen ends up being ridiculously narrow causing any fixed-width documents (aka PDFs) to be rendered so small that they are very difficult to read. This more square-ish layout renders most e-content almost fullscreen, and incredibly easy to read.
Google Play apps
The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro models come with the Google Play Store installed out-of-the-box. This addition provides much-needed functionality through a proven platform.
Quirks and annoyances
One complaint I have is in the "feet" on the bottom. Are these made of Teflon? On a smooth surface, the slide more than they grip. Not sure if it's just mine, but honestly, I regret taking off the protective shipping film.
It's your call if spending over $300 is worth it to you for a Chromebook, but to me, the Samsung Chromebook Plus is an excellent example of where ChromeOS is heading,
So now I have a very decent Chromebook that doubles a an Android tablet that has slink pen input, and din't break the bank.