When we think of Chromebooks, the three attributes that pop into our minds are “simple,” “affordable,” and “less power.” And they sum it up nicely because that’s what Chromebooks were created for. Not everyone needs full computing power for simple office work and school assignments. But we also can’t rely on our phones for these tasks. This is where Chromebooks fill the gap. They might be under-powered for laptops and desktops, but they are way more “official” and functional than phones for regular office and school assignments.
But of course, not all Chromebooks are created equal. Some are better than others for certain things, and some are simply good value for the money you spend on them. One of the good ones is the Xe500c13-k04us (the Samsung Chromebook 3). Take a look at why:
- Great value for money.
- Long battery life.
- Good build quality.
- Spill-resistant keyboard.
- Low-quality display.
- No offline functionality.
Need to know more? Read the detailed review that follows to see if it “fits your bill.”
Samsung Chromebook 3 (Xe500c13-k04us) – Bright And Affordable
The Samsung Chromebook Xe500c13 has one major selling point, and that’s its affordability. It offers amazing value for money, does everything you’d expect from an under-powered, Intel Celeron-based, Chrome OS running Chromebook to do. That’s the short summary of it, but of course, we have to get in the details and features of the Samsung Chromebook 3 because if you have to choose between two (or more) similarly priced little laptops to choose from, the finer details matter.
The display is a tad small if you compare it to the 14-inch Chromebooks that are quite common these days. Its 11.6-inch is similar to Acer’s Chromebooks. It’s an HD LED display capable of 1366 x 768 resolution. The 4-GB version is available for $219.99 in the US on Samsung’s website.
Design / Build Quality / Durability
The design is sleek but curvy, not sharp, and squarish. Although the build is all-plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap or fragile. But it also doesn’t feel “solid.” The XE500c13 is an excellent machine to keep at the home, office, or take to school, but it might not be able to handle rough treatment and being shoved in a tight bag with hundred other things. Most users feel that it’s durable enough.
It comes in a decent metallic-black color that doesn’t seem out of place in an office or a classroom. One of the things that add to its durability and ability to handle rough indoor treatment is its water-resistant keyboard, making it suitable for kids. It’s fanless but doesn’t heat up much.
It’s powered by Intel Celeron N3060, which is a decent enough processor if you compare it to Intel Atom or some ARM processors, though it’s not as energy efficient. The speed is good enough, thanks mostly to the operating system: Chrome OS, but you can’t expect it to behave like a full-spec laptop. The browser doesn’t slow down even if you have multiple tabs open (unless you go over 5 or 6 tabs). It does lag a bit on video calling, especially if you have other things running as well, but otherwise, the speed is fine for browsing and using Google Docs/sheets.
The Samsung Chromebook 3 comes with Samsung’s characteristic engineering, which means that the performance speed is a bit more than just the sum of its specs. But despite Intel HD graphics, you can’t use to as a gaming laptop (maybe a gaming mobile phone). It boots up really fast as well, but that’s mostly because of the simplicity of Chrome OS.
Portability (Size and Weight)
Portability is a strong point in Samsung Chromebook 3’s favor (I am not sure if it’s in-line with other Samsung Chromebooks as well). But this one is thin and light. It only weighs 2.6 lbs and is only 0.7-inches thick. It’s easy to carry around and doesn’t take up a lot of surface area (dimensions: 11.37-inches long and about 8-inches wide).
The portability is especially helpful for students and small kids since they don’t have to lug something heavy around. And while it’s advised that you exercise caution when handling the Chromebook, its lightweight might save its electronic “life” if it’s dropped.
Samsung’s own battery life estimation is 11 hours. And though you may not get that exactly (since it depends on your usage), you will find the battery life impressive enough. This is one of the things that most user reviews vouch for as well. Not many users are getting the whole 11 hours out of a single charge, but reviews regarding battery are mostly positive.
This is a bit surprising because one of the reasons for choosing ARM processors is that they are energy efficient. But Chromebook 3 Samsung gets a decent battery life with an Intel Celeron.
Samsung claims that the battery will be able to hold the charge as well for three years, at least. But we haven’t been able to verify that.
It has the island-type keyboard characteristic of Chromebooks. It’s not back-lit, which is something that would have been a definite improvement. Despite the smaller size, the keys aren’t boxed up together, and you won’t take long to develop the right speed.
And even though the keyboard is spill-resistant, we would urge you not to test this feature intentionally. The Chromebook K04US might not prevail against Latte floods and coffee “lava” spills.
Display Quality & Screen Size
For display, we would say, you get what you pay for. Samsung Chromebook K04US is an excellent device for the money, but they had to justify the cost somewhere, right? So you get the HD LED Display with a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768. Suppose you were hoping to watch 4K videos on it then bad luck. The 11.6-inch display is sizable enough if you are used to Chromebooks, but a bit smaller for people used to laptops.
The display is TN, which is probably more annoying than the resolution of 1366 x 768 or the size of the screen. You may have a hard time finding the optimum angle. Still, it gets points for being much brighter than many other Chromebooks.
This is where the Samsung Chromebook K04US takes the cake. It’s super cheap, even now. But when it was launched, it was lauded as a great bargain at a price in the low 100’s. The price point makes the K04US version the kind of device that you can probably afford to be rough with. This also makes it great for kids and young students because you want to buy them something that gets the job done, but it’s also not too expensive i.e., something that won’t break your heart when it breaks.
The 4GB RAM is typical for Chromebooks now. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to get the job done. The Chromebooks Samsung designs, or even what other companies design, are not intended for gaming. These are simply machines capable of supporting Chrome OS and allow you to get a few simple things done.
There is just one memory slot, so you can’t expand. The 4GB RAM speed is 1600 MHz.
The basic version of the Samsung K04US Chromebook comes with 16 GB of storage space, which is low. But since it’s mostly for online use and has very limited offline capabilities, you’ll have to rely on cloud storage anyway. Still, you can get the XE500C13 with 32 GB storage space for just a few extra dollars.
Ports & Connectivity
The Xe55C13 comes with two USB ports, a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0, which is an improvement over its predecessor, which came with two USB 2.0 ports. It also has an HDMI port and a microSD card reader, which allows you to expand its memory. There is also a typical audio jack for headphones.
Graphics are powered by an Intel HD Graphics 400, which is not too shabby. It’s a chip that’s available in some decent-powered notebooks and a lot of other Chromebooks as well. The Intel HD Graphics 400 will get you a decent output from many videos and animations, and some Playstore games, but you can’t run any heavy games on it.
Do People Like It?
Yes. Relatively fewer electronics, especially Chromebooks, which half the people consider cheap laptops (which they aren’t), get as many good reviews as Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13 did. Ironically, the worst of its reviews were on the Samsung US’s website.
Most of the complaints we saw were from people who either got a bad unit or from people who expected their Chromebook to behave like a laptop (work with Microsoft Office, run PC games, etc.). Very few people had specific complaints like the operating system or the battery weakening after months of use. But most of the reviews were positive.
And it’s not because Samsung over-delivered or created something exceptional, but because they made something functional and usable and priced it modestly.
Is the Samsung Chromebook 3 a good laptop?
No. It’s a good Chromebook. It’s very good for what it does, but you shouldn’t expect it to act like a Laptop.
Does the Samsung Chromebook 3 have a camera?
Yes. It has a 720p HD Camera, but the video quality is adequate at best.
Do Chromebooks have cameras?
Yes. Most Chromebooks have front cameras for video chatting.
How good is a Samsung Chromebook?
It’s a decent Chromebook with basic functionality, but it’s very good for the price.
If Samsung Chromebook 3 Isn’t For You
If Chromebook 3 is not what you are looking for, there are a few other options available. One of them is:
This is very similar to the XE500C13. It has Chrome OS, a Celeron processor, the same memory and storage, the same screen size (better quality), and a cheaper price tag. The Samsung wins on better ports, build, and durability. Samsung also has better ratings than HP, which might skew the results more in its favor.
Our verdict here is that Chromebook 3 is a decent device. It does what it promises to (except show you good quality videos), and does it at a reasonable price. The Chromebook is durable, functional, basic, and has good battery life. Whether you travel, need something for kids for their schoolwork, or want something for light office work, this is a device you should check out.