Samsung Series 3 Chromebox

Overview:

  • Intel Core™ processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16GB Hard Drive
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • Wifi
  • Google Chrome OS

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Samsung joins the ranks for Asus and HP with a chromebox.  This is a great little machines if you have a monitor from an old computer.

The Intel processor and the 4 GB of RAM make it peppy and with built in wifi it is easy to connect.

The price is on the high side of chromebox’s at $290.  But the quality of Samsung’s product line cannot be denied.

The best thing about the ChromeOS line has to be the Chrome Web Store. There are so many chrome extensions available that are of no cost to the user.  The chrome app experience is so good (they could use a little UI help with the store – but once you get used to it, it works well).  With a traditional desktop and laptops – you must go any buy software…either in a store or go to a site and download it.  This is not how Google’s ChromeOS works.  Its more like the Apple App Store.

If it is in the app store – it is automatically compatible too.  So you don’t have to decide which version is for you.  With a Chromebox, if you want a new functionality, search for it in the Web Store, add it to your browser quickly, and if it doesn’t work right or you just don’t like it, delete it. It’s similar to Android, except even with Android you still have to download the applications onto your phone.

Remember – you can choose to connect this computer to a standard computer display or take it to the living room and connect it to your large screen TV.

samsung-chromebox-03-02Samsung Series 3 Chromebox Reviews:

“For a guy like me, these are dream machines.”

“For the past few months, I’d been looking for a new home computer to replace my aging MacBook Pro. As I began to consider my options and take an inventory of how me and my wife were using our home computer, I began to realize that a Chromebox might be a good option for us.”

“After an evening of unboxing, cording and oohing and aahing, my new desktop Chrome OS computer is up, running and keeping me fully productive.”

Read more reviews.

 

Not sure – check out our Best Chromebooks post.

Samsung Chromebook 2

Overview:

  • 11.6″ or 13.3″ display
  • 0.66 inches thin and 2.43 lbs
  • 100 GB of Google Drive free for 2 years
  • Up to 8.5 hours of use
  • Boots up in seconds

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This 11.6″ (the Samsung Chromebook 2 also comes in a 13.3″ model if you are looking for something bigger) Samsung Chromebook 2 is a very nice looking laptop.  With a texture like the Galaxy Note 3, the lid of this laptop makes use of a faux-leather finish with a “stitched” lining, it feels very nice and has a great look. Samsung has really stepped up its game in terms of build quality. While the Chromebook 1 felt squishy and hollow – the Chromebook 2 gives off a great vibe, despite the relatively low price tag (under $300 for the 11″).

The Chromebook 2 is running a 1.6 GHz Exynos CPU.  Powerful enough to run many tabs at once – more like a laptop you’re used to.  Battery life is touted at 7 hours and 50 minutes, which are gained by leveraging a 16 Gig SSD Hard Drive and 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM of battery sipping memory.

The screen is not perfect – you will have to angle it to get the best picture.  The keyboard is similar to what you’ll find on pricier Windows laptops – its the chiclet-style that is popular.  They are spaced well and have a good amount of “push” to them. The sturdy panel underneath holds up well against fast typing.  A single trackpad with no real buttons – but that is also very common with today notebooks and laptops.

samsung-chromebook-2-02Samsung Chromebook 2 Review:

“The Samsung Chromebook 2 seems to have it all: powerful processor, more memory (4GB vs. 2GB on other brands) and new design.”

“The build quality of this machine is fantastic considering it’s price…..and it was evident the minute I opened the box and lifted it out. The solidity of it is just amazing. It feels far more expensive than it really is….okay, I’m impressed with the build.”

 

Not sure – check out our Best Chromebooks post.

Haier Chromebook 11

Overview:

  • Rockchip RK3288 1.8 GHz Processor
  • 2.0 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 16 GB eMMC Flash Storage
  • 11.6-Inch Screen
  • Chrome, 10.0-hour battery life

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The Haier chromebook is a great chromebook.  But it has been discontinued – they can be picked up used – otherwise, check out our other Chromebook Reviews.

Packing a 10-hour-battery, this chromebook will go all day.  Weighing in at a small 2.4lbs – that is fairly lightweight like most chromebooks…it is automatically kept up to date, with the latest virus protection and includes all the cool Android features like Google’s Voice Search.

The Haier will sync with your phone (Android phones & tablets, everywhere you’re signed in with your Google account) and as all chromebook machines – it will stay as fast as it came from the factory…not like the regular computers you are used to.

The Haier Chromebook 11 boots up within 8 seconds leveraging the quad core Rockchip processor giving you plenty of computing power.  measuring just 17.9 mm (4.9 mm over 1/2″) it will simply slip into your backpack or purse.

If you have a Google account – there is no setup necessary, you just login.  And switching or sharing between users and accounts is easy – share your Chromebook without anyone else messing with your stuff.

Product specifications: Up to 10 hrs battery life, 11.6” HD LED display, Rockchip RK3288, 1.8 GHz quad core, 16 GB eMMC flash, 2 GB DDR3L, dual band Wi-Fi, bluetooth 4.0, multi-gesture touchpad, virus protection built-in, Auto-updates built-in, 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI, 1 headphone jack, micro SD slot.

 

Not sure – check out our Best Chromebooks post.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Overview:

  • Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz
  • 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 16 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen – 1366 x 768
  • Intel HD graphics, 802.11 A/C WiFi
  • Chrome OS, 11-hour battery life

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Officially the Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35-B3330, this is Toshiba’s updated 13.3″ inch Chromebook.

It has a very sleek look – but looks a lot like the first generation model Toshiba had release and has a similar look to the MacBook line.  Don’t get me wrong, the MacBook’s are nicer…but they are also not in the $300 price range.

Compared to Windows laptops it is easily as good or better in fit and finish. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 has refined the power usage on its Chromebook to last up to 11 hours…this is unreal of any machine and is starting to get to tablet levels.

toshiba-chromebook-2-02Reviews:

  • “This is one great computer…My Macbook is dying and I didn’t want another PC since windows 8. This chomebook is fast and I have not found any problems…”
  • “…happy with her Toshiba Chromebook 2, said it felt just like the macbook air 13 she had tried…”
  • “Battery life is amazing (charges fast), screen is ok for this price, boots in 2-3 seconds.”
  • See all reviews

Internals include Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz, 2 GBs of DDR3 RAM, Intel HD graphics, 802.11 A/C WiFi, a 16 GB SSD (with 100 GBs of free cloud storage) and a webcam.

 

Not sure – check out our Best Chromebooks post.

What is an Amazon Tap? Over priced Bluetooth speaker?

amazon-tapAround 18 months ago Amazon launched the Echo.  And it is pretty cool…its a wifi information center and bluetooth speaker.  But it was big.  And it needed to be plugged in.  And – it was kind of expensive.  I mean, I was able to get into the beta sale at $99, but it is now $180.  Is it worth it…I think it might be.  We have ours set up in the bathroom – and its a great information center for the family each day as we prepare.

So – in walks Amazon Tap.

Biggest difference…its not voice activated.  Here is Amazon Tap.  You tap it, then speak and let it know what you want to do.  With the right connections, you can do so many cool things:

  • Play songs from Prime music by just saying “Play Bruno Mars from Prime Music”
  • Play music from Pandora “Play Today’s Hits station on Pandora”
  • Order pizza “Ask Domino’s for my Easy Order”
  • Get a ride “Ask Uber for a ride”
  • Get information “What is the weather in Los Angeles”

When connected to Wi-Fi you can access Alexa, which the same cloud-based voice service that the Echo uses.  It is always improving – and getting “smarter”.   All you do is tap the microphone button and make your request.

Use Amazon Tap on your nightstand

Because it has a built in battery, the Amazon Tap has a battery which can play for 9 hours.  And when Amazon Tap’s battery is low Alexa will say “Just so you know, the battery is currently low.”

Also – a great charging cradle is part of the deal too – which makes a super simple to charge without all the hassles of plugs and cords.  Just set it in the cradle and its charging.

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Amazon Tap Details:

  • Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
  • Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
  • Delivers crisp sound powered by Dolby, with dual stereo speakers that provide 360º omni-directional audio
  • Provides up to 9 hours of playback
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
  • Includes Charging Cradle

Amazon Tap Technical Specs:

Size: Amazon Tap: 6.2" x 2.6" x 2.6" (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm);
Charging Cradle: 0.6" x 2.6" x 2.6" (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Weight: Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams);
Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams)
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of continuous playback. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Tap.  Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Media control over AVRCP is not supported for Mac OS X devices.
Audio Dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
System Requirements Amazon Tap comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees. When tethering to a mobile device hotspot, standard data rates may apply.
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Amazon Tap is subject to the terms found here.Included in the BoxAmazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide