On Tuesday, I wondered what happened to Samsung’s Series 5 550 Chromebook, a surprisingly good $450 laptop that launched roughly one year ago.
But the really bad news is that there won’t be a proper successor anytime soon, if ever. In an e-mail, a Samsung spokeswoman told me that the Series 3 is considered to be the replacement for the Series 5 550, and there won’t be a new version of the Series 3 until 2014.
As someone who’s used both laptops, I can say that the Series 3 is no replacement for the Series 5 550. It has half the RAM (2 GB instead of 4 GB), its screen washes out much more easily, its plastic chassis feels flimsier, the trackpad is smaller, and the speakers aren’t as loud or clear.
Compared to the Series 5 550, the Series 3 feels cheap, which makes sense because at $250, it’s $200 less expensive. That probably makes it an easier sell, especially if you’re taking the plunge on a Chromebook for the first time. (Unlike Windows PCs or Macs, Chromebooks are designed only to run Google’s Chrome browser. They emphasize fast and secure web browsing, but are unable to install any other software.)
I’m still hoping Samsung–or someone–releases a nicer Chromebook than the sub-$350 fare from HP, Samsung and Acer. There should be a mid-range Chromebook for those of us who are fully on board with concept, but don’t want something as cheaply-built as the Series 5 or as ultra-premium as the $1,300 Chromebook Pixel.