Google's minimalist Chromebook laptops are now just $300 for the Wi-Fi only Samsung models, and that puts them right in the netbook champion ThinkPad X120e's territory. The Chromebook is a bit less expensive, but it's not as fully featured as the ThinkPad either. Chromebook is like the simplest tablet computer, but it has a keyboard and looks like a laptop. Furthermore, it runs the Google Chrome operating system and so is built for ease of use. It's the computer that's perfect for people who hate computers, Gizmodo's Mat Honan said in a blog post.
That may or may not be a shot at Microsoft and it's netbook dominating Windows OS, but because the Chromebook boots up fast and doesn't require much set up out of the box, it could certainly be interpreted that way.
The Samsung version (there's one by Acer, too) has a 12-inch screen, built-in Web camera and full size keyboard. Contrast this to the ThinkPad X120e, a very popular netbook, and it's easy to see why its a bit more expensive. It's got three USB ports, an HDMI port, and a bit more battery life. It's even a little lighter. It does not, however, boot up in only eight seconds, like the Chromebook. In some ways, the Chromebook is like one of those seven inch tablets. It'a an in between device that is maybe more than a tablet (keyboard) but not quite a netbook like the ThinkPad. That may be why they haven't been flying off the shelves, but the price is also in the 'in between' land. It's more than the Kindle Fire, but less than the iPad.
Those devices don't have keyboards, but is it worth $100 more than Kindle Fire just for the keyboard? If you know someone who doesn't like typing on a touchscreen or someone who really like their keyboard, the Chromebook would be a good choice. Like many tech gadgets, it depends what you want to do with it, so be sure to get to a store and try out these machines before you buy them. Tell us in the comments if you are leaning towards a tablet computer or netbook.
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