The Chromebook Series 3 doesn't have a standard Samsung Keyboard . It's still a full-size QWERTY keyboard, but the layout has been tweaked by Google to optimize the Web-based Chrome experience. The Caps Lock key is replaced with a dedicated search button (you can still Caps Lock by pressing Alt-Search), and F1-F12 have been replaced with Chrome-specific function/hotkeys (Across from left to right: Escape, Back, Forward, Reload, Full Screen, Next Window, Brightness Down/Up, Volume Mute/Down/Up, Power). The Delete key has also disappeared, with the Backspace key pulling double duty (to delete, just press Alt-Backspace). There is no equivalent to the Windows or Apple key, just wider Ctrl and Alt keys, which will actually get plenty of use, as the Chrome OS offers a lot of keyboard shortcuts. After a few days of using the Chromebook, I found that Chrome's keyboard navigation was both fast and intuitive, more so than I have found on various Windows machines. If you're a Chrome user on a Mac or Windows PC, you'll find that many of the same shortcuts and key combos are the same.
The trackpad on the Chromebook Series 3 is a single-piece, blank-faced clickpad, without the usual right- and left-click buttons, just one touchable clickable touchpad. Google has also tweaked it for faster navigation in Chrome, with one- and two-finger gestures, like tapping with a single finger for a standard mouse click, and tapping with two for right-click functions. Two-finger scrolling is a breeze, and click-and-drag functions work easily.
The defining feature of the Chromebook Series 3 is not its hardware, its price tag, or even its unique keyboard; it's Chrome OS. Google's Web-centric operating system is little more than the Chrome Web-browser, with web-apps built-in, and some added offline functionality.
There's also a basic file manager in Chrome OS, but the key word here is basic. Plug in a USB flash drive or SD card and it will pop up a list of the drive's contents, with an interface that looks much like Gmail or Google Drive. Documents and PDF files are opened using Chrome's in-browser document viewer, while photos are viewed and edited with Chrome's light image editor. Music and video files are opened with Chrome's media player, but Google expects most media to be streamed over Wi-Fi (using apps like Google Play Music), and for robust cloud-based editing tools (such as Aviary and Creative Kit in Google+) to be used for extensive media editing.
In terms of features, the selection is surprisingly robust. On the back of the laptop along the hinge are an HDMI out port, one USB 3.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port. On the left edge of the machine is a combination headphone and microphone jack, and a card reader that supports various SD formats (SD/SDHC/SDXC) and other Compatible Parts . Dongles are also available for Ethernet (via USB) and VGA output.
Because the Chromebook Series 3 is so dependent upon Internet connectivity, it has built in 802.11 a/b/g/n WLAN, and Bluetooth 3.0 for connecting to headsets, printers, or other peripherals. Also on the back of the laptop is a SIM card slot, which is only used in the 3G-equipped model, which is available for $329.99 (direct), with Verizon 3G. Verizon offers 100MB of free data per month, but you can also purchase extra data as needed.
Internal memory is sparse, with only 16GB of internal flash memory—file storage is expected to be in the cloud, primarily using Google Drive. To encourage this transition, new Chromebook owners are offered a free 100GB upgrade to their Google Drive capacity, good for two years. Samsung covers the Chromebook with a one-year warranty.
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