Chromebook vs Netbook – Find Out Who Wins!

The Samsung Chromebook Series 5 went on sale June 15th and there has been great debate over the success of this product largely due to its very high prices point. But what about performance? If you put the Samsung Chromebook up against a netbook how would it fair in a performance showdown?  Laptop Magazine did just that with the 12.1-inch Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and the 12.1-inch ASUS 1215B.  They went through User  Interface, Performance, Gaming, Multimedia, Productivity and Battery Life.

The first thing that I think you should be aware of before you read the following is the price point of both of these units. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook will run you $499 from Amazon and the ASUS 1215B will cost you $436 also on Amazon. The netbook is cheaper but you’ll discover below that it is also the better deal.

What they found will surprise you!  I’ll quickly go through some of their findings, but if you really want to check it out in detail here is a link to “Chromebook Vs. Netbook: Which is Better?”

On their first test, User Interface, ASUS took the lead by offering a more flexible operating system, Windows allows you to download more than one browser and run them simultaneously. I don’t know about you but I use different browsers for different types of surfing losing this flexibility would limit my ability to be prodctive online since Fire Fox is optimized far better then Chrome on certain website. In addition there is the added feature of actually having a desktop to switch back to which acts as a platform to manage an manipulate files.

Browser performance was the category which provided the most surprising results.  The ASUS 1215B running Chrome 12 blew the Chrome OS right out of the water!  The 1215B performed well on the WebGL Aquarium test, scoring 35 fps with one fish at maximum setting. At 1,000 fish on the maximum setting, the 1215B managed 15 fps. Running the same test the Series 5 posted a disappointing  frame rate of 4 frames per second on the lowest setting (one fish, no background or sunlight). Shocking for a system that runs its entire operating system through a browser.

Multimedia was an interesting category to read through since netbooks aren’t exactly known for their graphic performance, so it was surprising that the netbook was the clear winner in this show down. Apart from having smooth playback of 1080p content, which the Chromebook did not, the 1215B had 1366 x 768 which is a tastier resolution compared to 1280 x 700.

Gaming isn’t something that netbooks are knows for as well although the AMD Fusion CPU is aiming to change that reputation. There was alot of lag and hicups while playing planet vs zombie online using the Chromebook but it played seamlessly on the 1215B. The netbook also offers multitasking and you could play a few games offline as well which the Samsung isn’t capable of doing.

What about battery life? The Chromebook finally took one of the categories and lasted around 8 hr 20min while the 1215B only lasted 6 hr 15min. The one downside is the battery on the Chromebook is integrated so that means you can’t replace it. However it supposed to last 3x longer then the average battery.

Chrome OS is completely web-based so if you’re looking to for performance you’ll have to make use of web apps found in the Chrome App Store. There are 42 pages of applications so you can pretty much get anything that you’re after. The biggest drawback is that not everything has the capability to work offline, core applications such as Google’s Docs, Chat, and Calendar can only be accessed while connected to the internet. Also, none of the application’s available don’t hold a candle to the capabilities of Adobe’s Photoshop, so though we’ve got options with apps, they aren’t as powerful as they need to be. Netbooks support the full office suite, so even if you don’t think you’ll be using it at least you’ve got the option.

Its clear that the Netbook has many advantages over the Chromebook and the biggest one (apart from being SO much cheaper) is that you can do more with your Netbook combined with superior performance. If they could bring it in at $199 then it might be competitive but at this price point it seems like a loosing battle.

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