Samsung’s Chromebook 3 is a device that is aimed squarely at this particular consumer interest.
What Samsung has attempted with the Chromebook 3 is to deliver a device with an extremely low price tag that performs better than its $169 asking price would have you expect.
The question is: does it succeed?
The quick answer is yes. Samsung manages to pack in a pretty decent experience into the Chromebook 3 while still offering a device at a cost that makes you feel completely comfortable with putting it through hell and not really giving much thought to its demise.
This is what I like to call ‘disposable tech.’
And the feeling it gives you is pretty awesome.
Normal Review Parts
If you came here for specs, let me just lay them out real quick:
- 1366×768 LED TN Display
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB eMMC Storage
- Intel Braswell N3050 Processor
- 2 USB 2.0 Ports
- HDMI Out
- MicroSD Card Reader
- 12 Hour Battery
- Water-resistant Keyboard
This device doesn’t do much out of the ordinary. It is the lowest common denominator of Chromebooks.
It contains the lowest amount of RAM and storage on offer, the cheapest TN display you expect on cheap devices, and a last-gen port selection. No USB-C or USB 3.0 available here.
This thing is adept at ‘just enough’. Amazingly, when the price dips this low, ‘just enough’ becomes quite enough.
What You Need To Know
Because the Samsung Chromebook 3 sticks to the status quo in every way, there’s little need to go through the normal review points. This is the Chromebook distilled down to its most basic, simplistic form.
Apart from the water-resistant keyboard, this thing has no tricks up its sleeves. The keyboard and trackpad are decent, along with the overall build quality. It is all plastic, but not super-cheap feeling. The screen resolution is all you really need in an 11.6-inch laptop, but the quality of the screen is pretty terrible.
So bad, in fact, that it is almost impossible to find a screen angle where the entire screen is in the optimal viewing range. Slight movements in any direction invert the screen colors and drastically lose brightness. TN panels are bad in general, and this one is one of the worst.
Brightness is very poor as well. It is usable in the way that a $5, flimsy tripod can hold your camera. It does the job, but the experience of getting the job done is an exercise in patience.
We Love Deals
The magic here is the price. When we look at mediocrity, it is easy to judge and critique. Yet, the second we talk about a $169 price tag that is only getting lower for the holidays – down to $119 in some cases – many issues and frustrations begin to lose their edge.
We begin to see through another lens: the lens of worth.
If I pay $500 for a car that takes care of getting me around town and it is boring, rusty, and unattractive, I can overlook those things because of the perceived worth. The price changes the lens I see the purchase through.
The same is true of the Samsung Chromebook 3. Simple, usable, and kinda slow. But it can get the job done. It’s one of the slowest Chromebooks I’ve used. It has one of the worst displays I’ve used. But it is paired with a competent trackpad and keyboard.
And it can get the job done.
If you need a device for the kids, and older relative, or just to toss about the house for use on quick, web-based tasks, the Samsung Chromebook 3 could be a great fit for you. It is not going to replace a work computer or an entertainment machine, but for what it is, it could be a fantastic secondary device around the home or office.
And, if you buy it and don’t care for it that much, break it or misplace it, just remember it didn’t cost you very much. There are very few useful tech devices that can claim that. And that simple truth is the real magic of Samsung’s affordable Chromebook 3.
It may not be the best at anything, but it isn’t trying to be. It is, I think, the best affordable tech I’ve used in a long time. If that’s what you are in the market for, perhaps this one is for you. Cheap, affordable, cost-effective – whatever word you want to use – electronics that can actually get some stuff done don’t fall into this price range very often.
Samsung has at least succeeded in that respect. If you know what you are getting into and can see this thing through the lens of worth, then perhaps you can land a device worth owning that may help you accomplish a lot more that you’d expect for $169.