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11/04/2017

Dell Vostro 1500 Battery

When we recorded the time taken to restart the system, the Lite arrived back at the Start screen in 25 seconds. That’s a testament to the PM841: while it doesn’t rival top-flight SSDs for all-out speed, it generated some impressive figures in the AS SSD benchmark, reading large files at an average of 481MB/s and writing them back at a less notable 108MB/s.When it comes to hard work, however, the ATIV Book 9 Lite struggles. The A6-1450’s four cores run at a slow 1GHz, boosting up to a maximum of 1.4GHz, and in our Real World Benchmarks it managed an overall score of just 0.35. That lags behind most budget laptops, and it’s even a fair way off the pace of older Sandy Bridge low-voltage chips. Graphics performance is below par too – an average of 24fps in our least taxing Crysis benchmark indicates that gaming potential is limited to the most undemanding titles.Most Chromebooks we see at PC Pro are fairly similar devices, but the Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3in is a product that bucks the trend. With a Full HD screen and a chassis inspired by Samsung’s Ultrabook range, it offers a touch of luxury in a sector all too often associated with no-frills, back-to-basics products. Read on for our in-depth Samsung Chromebook 2 review.
This wide expanse of LCD means it’s notably larger than the 11.6in version we reviewed recently, but Samsung has managed to keep both the weight and thickness down to manageable levels. The Chromebook 2 13.3in tips the scales at 1.4kg, a mere 200g heftier than its smaller sibling, and it’s exactly the same thickness: 20mm including the rubber feet.

The design of the 13.3in model is also much like that of its smaller cousin. It has a leather-effect texture covering the lid, replete with fake stitching around the edge, and a slick of shiny, semi-matte plastic surrounds the screen, keyboard and underside. Only the colour is different: where the 11.6in is black, the 13.3in version comes in what Samsung calls Luminous Titan; that’s grey, with a very slight brown tint, to anyone else.On the edges are two USB sockets (one USB 2, one USB 3), an HDMI output, a Kensington Lock attachment, a 3.5mm headset jack and a single microSD slot, allowing you to expand on the 16GB of internal storage.The screen is what this Chromebook is all about, though, and it’s a step up from what you’ll find on most Chromebooks. Brightness reaches a maximum of 247cd/m2 and contrast peaks at 476:1 – figures that translate to reasonably bright, punchy images. The 13.3in, Full HD screen is significantly better than the display on the 11.6in model, too, which only reached a brightness of 210cd/m2 and dropped behind with a contrast ratio of 334:1.There’s only one Chromebook that gives the Samsung’s Full HD display a real run for its money: the HP Chromebook 11 (web ID: 384781), the 1,366 x 768 IPS panel of which sacrifices pixel density for wider viewing angles and richer colour reproduction.

It’s noticeable that the Samsung’s colour temperature is on the cold side, with grey tones taking on a bluish tint, but it’s the extra resolution of the Full HD panel that makes the biggest difference. Text, graphics, photos and videos all look extra-crisp, and there’s much more room to spread out, allowing you to view a Google Drive document and a website comfortably side by side, for example.In fact, the screen on the Chromebook 2 has a higher pixel density than many significantly more expensive laptops. Whichever way you look at it, it's quite an achievement for a laptop that costs only £329.Samsung hasn’t sacrificed the essentials to keep the price down, either. The spacious Scrabble-tile keyboard makes touch-typing very comfortable indeed, and the large touchpad beneath doesn’t throw a spanner in the works. There’s a reasonable specification elsewhere, too, with 2x2 stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4 and, as mentioned, 16GB of internal storage. The end result is a highly usable, affordable portable that’s ideal for carrying out basic office tasks and browsing the web.As with its smaller cousin, the Chromebook 2 13.3in’s main weakness lies in its performance. Under the hood, it’s powered by an ARM-based, eight-core Samsung Exynos Octa 5800 SoC with four cores running at 2.1GHz and four running at 1.3GHz. There’s 4GB of RAM to go with this, and a Mali-T628 MP6 GPU.

On paper, this is an impressive-looking piece of silicon, but, once again, the Samsung doesn’t feel as snappy in general use as Chromebooks we’ve used running Intel Celeron processors. Scrolling up and down hefty web pages and navigating around Google Docs and Google Sheets files is far from smooth, and we didn’t have to look hard in the Chrome Web Store to find games with which it struggled; even Angry Birds is juddery. In both the SunSpider and Peacekeeper benchmarks, the Chromebook 2's results were mediocre, with results of 1,052ms and 1,287 respectively.On the plus side, it wakes up from sleep a touch quicker than its smaller sibling, and the light demands of Chrome OS means that it boots from cold in only eight seconds. Battery life, as with the 11.6in version, is solid, too. Looping a cached video at 720p, with Wi-Fi off and the screen set to a brightness of 120cd/m2, saw the Chromebook 2 13.3in last for 6hrs 56mins - longer than most rivals, although shorter than its stablemate.Performance isn’t brilliant, then, but there’s little doubt that the Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3in represents a good deal. You’ll find it hard to match the combination of portability and battery life in any Windows laptop at this price, let alone the inclusion of high-end treats such as a Full HD display and 802.11ac wireless.Also, bear in mind that Google’s OS has come on a lot in recent times: it allows documents and spreadsheets to be edited offline, for example, and some apps and games can be installed locally. At the same time, the amount you can get done online has increased. If you haven’t considered a Chromebook before, the Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3in might make you think again.It's an unavoidable truth that most of us tend to focus on the hardware when we're out to buy a new tablet. A high-resolution display, attractive design and fast core hardware tend to dominate our thoughts long before the software running on the device.To a large extent, this is due to the fact that most of us are simple beasts: we see a device in the shop, we play with it, talk to a salesman, and we fall in love (with the tablet, not the shop floor assistant).

However, we'd advise a more perspicacious approach. Before you buy, consider the software, too; although closer than ever before, there are fundamental differences between the three major operating systems available on tablets today – differences you should take note of.Android, iOS and Windows 8 all have their own visual style. iOS favours a minimalist look (at least it has since version 7) and a simple layout, with shortcuts to launch apps displayed in a grid, on an ever-expanding array of homescreens. There's a tray of persistent shortcuts at the bottom of the screen that's customisable, and apps can be organised into folders.That used to be all there was to the iOS front end, but it has progressed in recent times to include a notifications menu, accessible via a pull down from the top of the screen, and the Control Centre with a pull up from the bottom of the screen, which gives quick access to commonly used functions such as screen brightness, rotation lock and flight mode.Beyond a few, small cosmetic differences, the basic Android front-end looks very similar, hosting shortcuts to apps on a series of sideways-scrolling homescreens, with a pull-down notifications menu at the top. There's no Control Centre in Android, but these functions are instead built into the notifications menu.Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8.1 – what's the best compact tablet OS?

The Android UI is different in a couple of fundamental ways, though: it allows you to drop widgets (interactive, data rich panels) as well as shortcuts onto homescreens, and to hide less frequently used apps away in the app drawer.There's another operating system that we haven't included in this comparison: Amazon's Fire OS, which you'll find running on all the firm's Kindle Fire tablets.
At its core, Fire OS is an Android OS, and there are some similarities with standard Android. You can run Android apps and games on a Kindle Fire tablet, you can even sideload apps if you wish, and you can drag and drop files to the device over USB.
However, in other respects, Fire OS is a completely different animal. Instead of putting apps front and centre, Amazon's OS places content – books, movies, music and so on – at the forefront, and makes shopping online for that content, via Amazon's services, naturally, as easy as can be.
The downside is that Amazon tablets don't give you access to the Google Play Store as most other Android tablets do. Instead, you're forced to buy your books, movies, music and even apps from the online retail giant. Amazon's tablets miss out on the core Google Apps, too (Maps, Gmail, Google+, and Calendar, for example), although it does replace some with its own versions.

Alas, the Amazon Appstore is a pale imitation of Google Play, with a far poorer selection of apps and games.
Google also gives hardware developers free rein as far as customisation is concerned. Thus, your Android tablet can run plain Android, exactly the way Google intended it; it can look entirely different, like Amazon's Fire OS (see right); or it can be somewhere in between like the software found on Asus' recent Android tablets – the Memo Pad 7 ME176CX, for example.The software that runs on your Windows tablet (unless it's the cut-down Windows RT) is identical to that which runs on any Windows laptop or PC. In some respects, this works well on a tablet: links to apps and web pages are displayed in the form of a continuous grid of sideways scrolling tiles, which can be moved around, grouped and resized. It looks very different from Android and iOS, but it's just as fluid and largely as easy to use, once you've learned what all the various edge swipe gestures do, plus you get the added bonus of being able to run full-fat desktop applications such as Photoshop and Microsoft Office.Indeed, add a keyboard, mouse and external monitor, and your Windows tablet turns into a full-blown desktop machine; neither Android nor iOS can compete with that level of versatility.Compared to those platforms, Windows does fall down in some areas.

Our big gripe is that there's no single place where notifications are grouped together; instead you're reliant on Live Tiles on the homescreen to pass this information on, but since not all apps have Live Tiles, it's an unsatisfactory way of doing things, and can make it difficult to keep up with what's going on.Our other issue with Windows on a tablet is that the settings are scattered all over the place: some are accessed via a touch-friendly menu; others must be changed via the desktop settings dialog box, which is a nightmare to operate with just a finger.The old argument used to be that you went with iOS if you wanted the greater choice of quality apps, and Android for more variety and flexibility. That's an argument that's becoming increasingly irrelevant.In some respects, Apple's App Store does maintain a lead. Music, photo, video and other creative apps are in more plentiful supply, and they tend to be of superior quality to those on Google Play. Plus, when it comes to apps with tablet-friendly layouts, Apple also has the advantage; the App Store gives you the ability to filter by iPad or iPhone, where Google Play does not. This makes it difficult to weed out those apps designed only with a sparse, phone-focussed UI.For the core apps, however – stuff like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, iPlayer, Dropbox and Vine – Android is now level with iOS, and with most major developers are now producing both iOS and Android apps simultaneously, it's likely to stay that way, too.Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?

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