Samsung XE510C24-K01US Chromebook Pro Review

     
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4.55

For many, Chromebooks are the go-to choice when they’re looking for a portable, modern notebook. However, what really makes these Chrome-powered systems stand out from the crowd is the price – often Chromebooks can be acquired at a fraction of a normal laptop’s price. That being said, Samsung XE510C24-K01US seems to be something different: it competes in the ~500 bucks notebook market, offering more performance and better screen than your average Chromebook does!

Productive Performance

The new Samsung XE510C24-K01US is called Chromebook Pro, suggesting that you could expect professional performance from it. Well, that is so-so – looking at the processor, there is a dual-core 0.9GHz Intel Core m3-6Y30 installed inside. The base clock speed does not please many, although the chip also has a turbo boost of 2.2GHz which helps in tight spots. As you can see from CPU Benchmark tests most other processors beat it in terms of performance. However, considering that you will be running plenty of online-based lightweight software on a Chromebook,the processor will do its job nicely. And the bright side is, it eats only a bit of energy (4.5W TDP) and runs without a fan!

The other components making up the performance of this Chromebook are alright. It comes with 4GB DDR3 memory (running at 1866MHz), and it’s considered as non-user replaceable RAM. Furthermore, the storage is brought by a 32 gigabytes embedded MultiMediaCard, eMMC. The system will boot to desktop in 10-15 seconds. After the installation files you are left with around 25 gigabytes free space. That, surely, is not much and you can not upgrade the storage drive. But you can slip in a memory card to the laptop’s microSD/HC/XC slot and increase the storage by 128 or even 256 gigabytes!

A Modern Quad HD Display for Power Users

Chromebooks often come small. Also the Samsung XE510C24-K01US is a compact model, sporting a 12.3-inch touch display. The undisputed advantage of such a smaller, 360-degree rotating screen is the portability, as the unit weighs only 2.4 pounds and has half an inch thickness, and functionality, as laptop, tent and tablet modes all are available. And talking about the benefits of the screen, you are given a sweet Quad HD (2400×1600) resolution. It’s pleasant to look at, image will be overall sharp, although if you feel things look too tiny on the screen just change the resolution to smaller one. The aspect ratio is 3:2 which seems to offer more screen estate than the common 16:9. What is more, the screen’s brightness of 400 nits works well for outdoor use, too!

While the display is gorgeous, the graphics performance itself is something different. It makes no sense to include a dedicated graphics card into Chromebook since the operating system does not support too many new and popular games. You could hack your way into some games with Linux installation and Windows emulator, but it takes effort and is rather unstable option in my opinion. So, the graphics here are handled by integrated graphics called Intel HD 515 – for all the non-gaming use it works fine, believe me!

Hands-On Video

Limited Connectivity, Although USB-C is Always Welcome

The ports on a small Chromebook are not many. You will find two USB-C connectors (one on each side of the device) and microphone/headphone port, and that’s it. That pair of USB-C ports is of course useful, as they support up to 5Gbps transfer speeds, 4K display with an adapter, and charging of the laptop. So yes, you may connect an external monitor to this laptop, you just need USB-C to HDMI adapter for that. Many other things can also be connected to USB-C (such as RJ-45 cable), the answer is always to get a right adapter and everything will work.

Talking about networking options, the notebook has Intel 7265 card for the wireless connection. It supports 802.11ac standard and 2×2 antenna, so you will have strong and long-range signal for sure. Bluetooth 4.1 works too, that should come handy with mobile phones and so. As said above, you can plug in Ethernet cable to the USB-C port with a simple dongle you can buy separately.

There is no optical drive in the system; in fact, no Chromebook to my knowledge has an internal DVD burner. You can get an external one, but just remember video (or audio) CDs and DVDs won’t be recognized by the Chrome OS – so you would be limited to data discs only. The built-in microSD card slot can be used to expand the small 32GB eMMC if you need more storage.

Chromebooks Last Long and Few Other Things

Samsung XE510C24-K01US includes a 2-cell 39Wh battery which, by the specifications, sounds iffy. How far can mere two cells take a laptop? Well, remember that this system is mostly full of power-saving components, for example the low-voltage processor, although the Quad HD screen will take its toll on the battery. Nonetheless, users have reported around 8 hours of operating time for video streaming and paper editing use, so I can not complain about the battery life. The only thing you should keep in mind, the battery is integrated so you will not be able to replace it without extensive tinkering. The charger’s voltage is 100-240v so you can charge the laptop in most (all?) countries in the world.

A slight disadvantage, this laptop does not come with a backlit keyboard which, at this price point, is quite strange.

As a side note, this laptop supports Android apps, which increases the pool of software you can use with the Chromebook Pro!

Pros:
High quality screen - It's a pleasure to look at the display. The 3:2 aspect ratio feels the most natural to most people, and together with the 2400x1600 resolution they will provide plenty of screen estate, too.

Laptop and tablet in one - The screen rotates 360 degrees so this laptop will turn into a powerful tablet just like that.

Take it anywhere - At 2.4 pounds and 8 hours battery life you can take the notebook anywhere without issues.

Cons:
No backlit keyboard - This is an obvious blunder and those who type in the dark won't probably like it.

Still a "no" for gamers - It doesn't make sense to get a Chromebook, not even a Chromebook Pro, for gaming because of the operating system's lack of games support.

Samsung XE510C24-K01US is a sleek, lightweight and quite a powerful piece of Chromebook technology. People who are looking for a mixed entertainment/productivity laptop would be happy with it, as things like video playback, email writing and paper editing are supported by this machine. Besides, you are not only limited to Google software, as access to Android apps means you have heaps of programs ready to be downloaded. Samsung has also put some real effort to the screen, so say many people who bought this rig. The disadvantage list is surprisingly short, most notably the keyboard backlight that is missing. All in all, the Samsung is a smart choice to spend your money on if you’re looking for a new quality laptop!

    2 Comments until now.

  • John Kendrick (#)
    July 18th, 2017

    Thanks for the balanced review. I’ve been using my SCBPro for going on six weeks and loving it. I do find that it can get quite hot while casting Hulu to my TV for some reason, but other than that nothing but good things to say about it. With the screen as bright as it is, I find that I can still see the keyboard pretty well in dim conditions even without backlighting, but agree it should have been included at this price point as the ASUS C302 has the feature and it costs a bit less than the Pro. J

    • Admin (#)
      July 19th, 2017

      Thanks for your comments John.

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