Tech Times has released a roundup of expert reviews on the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro, which were both unveiled at CES 2017.
The good reviews garnered by the Chromebooks may have been heartening for Samsung, but it cannot be denied that the feedback was based on initial reactions from simple and quick performance tests at the event.
Some people, however, are beginning to consider Chromebooks as a less expensive alternative to MacBooks.
With such ambitious assurances, it is only appropriate for experts to really test out the Chromebook devices — the Pro version in particular — to determine how well these deliver.
Here are the good, the bad, and the awkward moments during testing to help those interested in making the switch to Chromebooks devices.
The Good: Integration Is 'On The Right Track'
Valentina Palladino of Ars Technica was mostly satisfied with the performance of the Chromebook Pro, especially since she was able to download and utilize the applications she commonly used with little trouble.
"I was able to do most of my daily work on the Chromebook Pro without major problems. It was almost refreshing to rely on a web-based system because the Chromebook Pro performed faster than my MacBook Air. At one time I had a number of Android apps open, including Spotify playing in the background, while working in Chrome with between seven and 10 tabs open at once. The system didn't slow down much, although the switch between Chrome and any of the Android apps took a few seconds," Palladino recounts.
However, she did reveal that there were instances when the Chromebook failed her, though it was mostly due to the applications she downloaded. She noted that the troubles usually came from an application's failure to configure properly — forcing her into portrait mode or refusing to go full-screen — and, sometimes, the apps would shut down on her.
Other than that, she mentioned that the Android-integrated Chromebook offered a lot of flexibility when it comes to the multiple ways in accessing applications. But while it may be convenient for some, the same flexibility may overwhelm others.
The Bad: 'Nightmare Before The Dream'
Dieter Bohn of The Verge was generally satisfied with the performance of the Chromebook Pro as a 2-in-1 device, but after testing it with Android applications, he was left wondering whether it is a badly made beta that gave him a nightmarish experience.
"Google itself suggested we try out a game that is pretty commonly used to see if Android devices can display graphics well," Bohn notes. "But it couldn't keep up with the game engine. The game sputtered along with so many frame rate drops [...] Other apps would open, hang, and die. There are some memory leak problems [...] bogging the whole system down," he complains.
Despite all the issues, however, Bohn is giving the Chromebook pro the benefit of the doubt because he spoke to Chrome OS engineers and they had assured him that the issues he raised are already on their way to receiving a fix.
The Awkward: 'Iron Out Some Kinks'
Jared Newman of Fast Company was a skeptic when it came to Chromebooks, but Samsung's Chromebook Pro paved the way for him to become a believer.
In his review, Newman notes that Chromebook Pro's Android integration allowed him to do tasks that were once impossible in Chromebooks, but there were still some things that made using the device a little awkward.
"Before Google revs its marketing engines for Android apps on Chromebooks, the company might want to iron out some kinks that I've run into over the past couple of weeks [...] some Android apps flickered on the screen when switching from tablet to laptop mode [...] Some individual apps are also error-prone. [...] Even apps that work properly aren't always properly optimized for larger screens, keyboards, and trackpads [...] Although Google has been asking top app makers to optimize their software, most apps still feel like they were made for phones and tablets," he observes.
Apart from the issue Newman raised, however, he was happy with the device's performance and he also believes that Google would find a way to fix the issues before the Chromebook Pro is officially released in April.
From what the experts have shared, most of the problems that occurred were caused by either individual apps or incompatibility with the specifications.
All the reviewers are of the opinion that the Chrome OS can deliver on its promise of supporting Android apps.
But the issues they raised need to be fixed, and individual app developers must ensure better compatibility with Android Nougat.
For now, however, interested Chromebook Pro users may want to hold off on downloading their favorite games because these might not work properly.