Oct. 18, 2012 at 4:54 PM ET
Google and Samsung have introduced a new Chromebook laptop with updated specs and a budget price. Chrome OS has its drawbacks, but for some users, this $249 device could be a bargain.
The new Samsung Chromebook is being pitched as a second computer, one that does a few things well and doesn't take up a lot of space. It tips the scales at just 2.5 pounds and is a svelte 0.8 inches thick, making it as thin and light as far more expensive devices. It lost the weight by going with a small 11.6-inch screen and doing away with all moving parts like fans.
Add in the new dual-core ARM processor and 16GB of solid-state storage, and the spec sheet starts looking a lot more like a tablet than a laptop — with a low price to match. Chromebooks haven't sold very well in the past, arriving on the scene just as tablets became popular, but this new one might turn a few heads.
Just don't expect it to do everything a Windows or Mac laptop does. Chrome OS is great if you use a lot of Web apps like Gmail and Spotify, but if you need to work in Photoshop or edit HD video, you'll want to pick up a "real" laptop.
The new Chromebooks will be sold in Google's Play Store as well as at Best Buy, where the chain will be setting up "Chromezones" to demonstrate the new laptops. You can pre-order one here; they should ship in about a week.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.