Samsung Series 5 Wi-Fi Chromebook (Arctic White)
I've been testing the prototype Cr-48 since February. I expected to just use the device for a few weeks and then go back to my desktop system. But instead I changed a few of my habits and stayed with it ever since. There is very little difference between the Cr-48 and the production Samsung. Size is about the same, keyboard almost identical. Cr-48 was coated with a rubbery material that you either like or hate. Samsung is more traditional glossy plastic.
Both machines have very bright and crisp displays in a wide format. The screen itself is of the traditional non-glare type. I can't imagine why anyone would want a screen with glare but I notice many new systems come that way. I guess if you work in a totally dark room the glossy screens are fine. The second version of the Chromebook from Acer is said to have a glossy screen for anyone that wants that.
I'll second what others said that this machine is not for everyone. If you a big user of Apple products and happy with their "roadmap" to the future, stay with them. If you need all the specialized software that only runs on Windows, then you'd better stay there too.
But... If you are tired of running virus scanners, clean-up utilities, disk defragmenters, firewalls, and tired of having to ask a relative or neighbor to get your machine working again (or worse having to pay someone to do it) then cloud-based computing may be for you.
Chrome OS is a slimmed down (very) version of Linux that boots in 8 seconds and awakes from sleep almost instantly. There is no desktop, so the graphical interface is the Chrome web browser which takes up the whole screen as soon as you log-on to the machine. There are some "hidden" aspects to this OS, but you can only get to them by flipping a special switch for those who like to experiment, and the machine keeps track of the fact that you have done this. Security experts know that no system is safe if you grant physical access to an attacker, but the Chrome notebook does everything it can to protect your locally stored information (even though there isn't much of that). Each user must log into the machine and that causes his and only his files to become unencrypted for use. Signing off causes those files to be encrypted again. But very little data is stored on the machine anyway and the entire solid state "disk" is only 16 gig, so pack-rats need not apply. The idea is that you store all your documents in the cloud (you are not limited to using Google products to do this of course). While you *can* download files, typically you do so simply to turn around and upload them somewhere else. You can display photos and play MP3 and MP4 files locally but that is about it (for now anyway). In addition to the SSD space you can store local files on a USB stick or memory card (as used in cameras). Theoretically files you store on the SSD drive will get erased automatically after a while (like a month, though I haven't seen this happen yet). So if you feel you just HAVE to have some files to carry around with you, a 16G USB stick is probably advisable.