Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Chrome OS and its interface
Chrome OS has improved considerably since last year, resulting in an instant-on ecosystem that feels a lot more compelling than before. Booting up the first time is lightning-quick (about 7 seconds), and once you’re logged in under your Google ID, your mail, docs, contacts, and any purchased apps are available to access or download. Our review version of the Series 5 550 Chromebook has Chrome OS 19.0.1084.50, the most recent version. The confusing numbering isn’t as easy to understand as Android’s candy shop-flavored updates, not by a long shot.
File support, a complaint we had from last year, is much improved, with the ability to handle more file types and even zipped files. That’s no surprise to anyone who already uses Gmail or Google Docs, and the end result helps the Chromebook experience. Still, you’re limited as to what you can do with those files. Downloading a Word doc to the Chromebook’s internal storage gives you a read-only document. Same goes for PowerPoint and Excel. Images can be lightly edited.
Files stored on an SD card or USB flash drive get treated the same way. It’s not easy to attach these files to an e-mail, either. Nor can you simply drag files across to an SD card, even when in the File Manager viewing window. Apple’s iOS may not show you a centralized file storage system, but Chrome OS doesn’t do anything with the opportunity. You can hit Control-C to copy and Control-V to paste files from internal storage to an SD card and vice versa, but it’s not intuitive. Similarly, clicking on a document doesn’t automatically import it into Google Docs: you can upload files from an SD card, USB drive, or internal storage via Google Docs and Drive (I was able to upload videos, pictures, PDFs, and Word and Excel docs), but you’d have to broker the upload via the Web app. Read More