Nope, Google’s $249 Chromebook totally didn’t rip off MacBook Air wholesale

By , Oct 18, 2012

I kinda like the concept of an Internet-only notebook which boots in a few seconds, is always on and runs smoothly. I wanted to like Google-branded Chromebooks and almost bought one before realizing that Apple has already ticked all the right boxes with its iPad computer. But if a portable computing device with a physical keyboard which runs a browser-based OS and runs only web apps is your thing, this new Chromebook surely will pique your interest.

Apart from being a total rip off of the MacBook Air down to its black rounded keys, trackpad and the recess right where the lid opens, know that this Chromebook is a quarter of the Air’s asking price and half the iPad’s. On paper, the machine is a must-have: it weighs in at only 2.43 pounds, is 0.8-inches thick, runs 6.5+ hours battery and rocks a 11.6-inch display at a 1,366-by-768 pixel resolution.

Per usual, there are some caveats that a flashy commercial (included below) fails to mention…

The machine (via Endgadget) is built by Samsung and runs the Chrome OS on Samsung’s dual-core Exynos 5 chip which incorporates ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU. Its firepower also stems from 2GB RAM, built-in WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and sixteen gigabytes of flash storage.

It does 1080p video playback, has a front-facing webcam and comes with built-in Google Now and a hundred gigabytes of free Google Drive storage for two years. Other ports include a USB 3.0, another one supporting USB 2.0, an SD card slot and a headphone/mic jack.

Google’s going all out with the laptop so expect to find it online via Amazon, PC World and of course Google’s own Play Store, as well as retailers like Best Buy.

More info over at Google and in the official blog post.

Here’s the official promo video.

I’ve read the reviews and looks like hardware compromises won’t be for the faint-hearted.

This here’s an excerpt from Stephen Shankland’s review for CNET:

My current favorite browser torture test, panning across my nine columns of Twitter feeds in the Tweetdeck Web app, can be slow. And something I hadn’t seen before: initiating a new tweet often takes the Chromebook 5 or 6 seconds before a window appears where I can type. 

GigOm’s Kevin C. Tofel agrees, noting the new ARM-based machine represents a step back from the previous generation Chromebooks built on the Intel platform.

You seriously didn’t expect a speed demon for $249, right?

The more powerful Series 5 550 Chromebook continues to be available from Google’s web store at $450.

Now, the similarities between this Chromebook and Apple’s MacBook Air are particularly painful to ignore and Shankland agrees, politely pointing out:

If the Chromebook Series 5 550 drew inspiration from a MacBook Pro, the new Chromebook did so from a MacBook Air. It’s cheaper, thinner, has a smaller 11.6-inch screen, and at under 2.5 pounds weighs less. Google plans to promote the new Chromebook more aggressively in stores and advertising.

Then again, what did you expect from a company found guilty of ripping off iPhones and iPads wholesale. Before you jump straight to the comments, I guess you could also say that it’s hard to expect Samsung to learn its lesson when judges in the UK rule that Apple has to apologize to Samsung.

Their previous Chromebook Series 5 550 did remind me slightly of the MacBook Pro, but this model is just too much for my taste. I’ll be passing on a $249 Chromebook and instead install Chrome OS on my MacBook Air via Parallels Desktop.

Considering Google is going to promote the hell out of the $249 Chromebook as we head into holidays, perhaps Apple should be concerned?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/masonicninja Michael Scott Allen

    Yeah, Samsung innovates…. just as soon as someone else makes it. That fucking thing looks SO much like a MacBook Air that seeing Samsung on it makes reality bend.

    • eric

      Who gives a flying fuck! This looks like that and that looks like this buy what you like and get on with life!

      • SPM

        Exactly – you would have to be a retard or an Apple fanboy to pay so much more for a product just because it has an Apple badge stuck on it.

        Having said that, the terms “retard” and “Apple fanboy” are becoming increasingly interchangeable given the ridiculous claims made by Apple about Apple’s invention of rectangles, rounded corners, touch phones, ARM processors etc.

    • Henri Parmentier

      Yes, Samsung does innovate..

      about 60 % of the hardware in your iDevice has been developed by them, Samsung owns thousands of patents on hardware solutions, Apple owns “slide to unlock” .. wow, now THAT was an innovation, no? even IOS is based on GNU software..do not forget that.

      I’m out of this blog, it’s simply too biased and full of Android / Samsung / HTC haters although the iSheeps will say different.

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    Samsung didn’t learn there lesson…. that’s ok, Apple lawyers are probably on it right now

    • Dan

      their*

  • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

    heeere we start again with the lawsuit season :-/

  • Polysyllabic Pseudonym

    Seriously, I can’t wait for Apple to launch a TV or Car and see how many of you find the design a rip-off of existing models.

    It’s a freaking laptop. There are only so many permutations for designing the shape, keys and layout. Get over it!

    No one is dumb enough to mistake a Samsung product for Apple. And while I am at it, let me say this – I just got a Galaxy 3 as my official phone and while it isn’t as good as my iPhone, it does many things way better than iPhone. And I don’t care about who did a feature first.

    Stop lamenting just because you lost your cherry to Apple only to find cheaper, similar models offering same/better bang-for-buck value. Geez…

    • BearManPig

      Agreed.
      this Zigred dude always tries to find something to make as every other company copies apple and that apple is a allmighty perfect company.
      and just fyi, i own an iPhone and a touch and no android or such devices.

      • Mario.villegas90

        Yea ge does do apple pay you to post articles. That show that apple is better than every company. Out ther? Hes just and apple fan boy

    • CollegiateLad

      Better bang for the buck???? Lmao… It’s a freaking $250 web browser.

      • Polysyllabic Pseudonym

        I was referring to Galaxy S3. Read slowly next time :)

        And I see my friends using their retina iPad for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So yeah, a lot of people use their tablets for web stuff only.

      • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

        last time I checked, Instagram wasn’t just “web stuff”, but instead an App :-/

      • CollegiateLad

        Lol

      • Polysyllabic Pseudonym

        But you get my point. Not everyone does real, productive work on an iPad. It’s a consumption/leisure device for all but a margin of population – that doesn’t justify the price tag on apple products save for the aspirational/aesthetic appeal. I think this reality is better understood if you are from a third world Asian country.

      • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

        or from a third world country from south america?

        the real problem is that Samsung isn’t even trying to modify Apple’s design, is just like they love to be sued.

      • Polysyllabic Pseudonym

        because they don’t think it is something they should be sued over.

        It’s amazing how the rules of competition are so different in the Apple World and rest of consumer electronics.

        Every TV/Camera/Auotmobile company learns/mimics/copies/internalizes every other company and they continue to race ahead of each other. I am glad they don’t fight with each other like these phone/tablet companies over rounded rectangles and swipe to unlock!

      • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

        They don’t think that they should get sued over, but the reality is that Apple is very fond of their patents.

        Instead of paying millions to Apple for their design ripoffs, they could invest that money on a better design department. You want an example that not everything has to be cloned from Apple? Look at Windows Phone.

        The rules of competition aren’t different in the Apple world, maybe you notice them because… (and here’s the surprising part) You’re on a blog about Apple products!

      • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

        Apple tries to patent what other people made. Its troll all over that fruit

      • yodaddy

        Slide down bar…your welcome

      • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

        Slide to unlock rather. Apple wasnt first with that

      • Henri Parmentier

        Last time I checked a windows phone also had a rectangle screen with rounded corners…

        Apple used to be a very innovative company, now they focus on innovative patents.

      • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

        last time I checked WP, it had Metro user interface, that’s what I’m talking about. Also, the overall design of the current Nokias (I have no idea about other phones) is waaay too different from the iPhone design. So, there is not any design guidelines that force any smartphone producer to use any particular design.

      • CollegiateLad

        If they innovated, they wouldn’t have to look to their competitors for ideas.

      • The Slug Thrower

        As an aside, your “bang for your buck” phrase had the sentence subject of “similar models” which could have referred to anything. Maybe you should read your own posts slowly before making yourself sound condescending while coming off as a total moron.

    • Oscar

      I cant wait for apple to launch a TV either
      It’s going to look like no other TV (of course its going to look like ‘a’ TV) but it’s going to be a completely new (or shall I say ‘innovated’) design and then after that everyone is going to start making ‘apple-loking TVs’

      and people are going to be like “oh my god is a freaking TV what else can they look like” well look back a few years and see how laptops used to look like and how they look like now

      I don’t think that companies making products look like apple need to stop but at least change it a little like add something that only Samsung makes or something that will set your product apart from Apple’s

      and I thinks the Galaxy is a great phone where Samsung actually tried to make something new and better than apple
      they might have succeeded or might not but at least they did it themselves( or at least thats what I think) and not copy apple or somebody else
      and like you said the galaxy has a lot of features that the iphone doesn’t or it does some better but overall my iphone 5 is better ;)

    • ExRoot

      I agree!

  • http://www.facebook.com/goncalo.mrqs Gonçalo Marques

    Here we have the new Samsung Air!

    • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

      Samsung wind, to avoid confusions

  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    Oh wow, excuse my language but… Fuck Samsung and everything that company stands for.

  • Benny Green

    FFS there’s nothing that looks similar to any Apple product. Smaller, lighter, cheaper are NOT ‘products’ or ‘innovations’ of Apple. It’s thicker than a MacBook air, it’s ports are at the rear, the keyboard is not backlit, the hinge bulges when closed… seriously do some research before posting garbage. Maybe compare ultrabooks and you MIGHT have a 1/100 of a story to write.

    • soccerkrzy

      But but, it’s a black keyboard, and it’s aluminum finished!! AND IT HAS A TRACKPAD!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kpango1 Kristi Pango

    I’m not an apple fan or anything but seriously?! I mean they didn’t even change the merged up n down buttons…:S

    • SPM

      What about all those companies that shamelessly ripped off the Qwerty keyboard? Don’t they get sued?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    It looks ugly

    • Shadowlink

      So a macbook air is ugly then?

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        It doesnt look anywhere near what an apple product looks like

      • SPM

        He’s got his iGlasses on to make Apple’s products look better.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        Apple products do look better, putting functionality aside.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514380051 John Sklikas

    In a while Samsung will write on the packaging “=Samsung” so that they will be able to use the apple logo on their products.(sarcasm)

  • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

    Samsung’s*

  • http://twitter.com/MattGMckenzie Matt ✵ McKenzie

    Oh FFS, it’s a $250 dumb terminal that looks nothing like a Macbook Air except for the keyboard, get over it Christian, it’s getting old.

    • . Nelson

      The keyboard, the aluminum casing, the minimalist design, the trackpad, the bevel next to the trackpad…. yep, nothing like a Macbook Air alright. Seriously?? All you need is eyes to see that this is a shameless rip off. If you deny that you must truly be deluded.

      • http://twitter.com/MattGMckenzie Matt ✵ McKenzie

        Oh yeah, sorry I completely forgot that Apple invented the aluminium minimalist notebook like they did the fucking black rectangle. The Macbook Air has a unique sexy look that the $249 Chromebook doesn’t even come close to replicating which is even more prevalent when you view both these puppies from the side.
        It’s certainly borrowed some small design queues from the Air, as has several other manufacturers, but getting butthurt over a $249 hardware web browser that doesn’t compete, not trying to compete, will never compete, is just foolish.
        Don’t need to deny it, because I’m not fucking confused by the two products and I don’t fucking care as should anybody else.
        Christians constant venomous vitriol in his headlines, that are somehow related to Samsung, is getting old and it’s unprofessional.

      • bannedforselfcensorship

        Plastic casing, not aluminum.

  • Yujin

    Samsung: Dont think different…

  • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

    FUCK YOU SAMSUNG

  • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

    Chrome os? Ew

  • http://www.facebook.com/jawn.weedbix Sandy Cook

    It’d be nice to read an unbiased Apple blog written by someone with decades of experience with a range of ‘puters/devices and a decent memory, as opposed to knee-jerk cock sucking

    • ishaluka

      This blog has been changed. Personally, I think there were fewer, but better articles in this blog about a year or more ago. it was once a blog for iDevices, but now seems like rather a Apple blog. Article with many commnets mostly has some mention and relation to such like samsung, android, google, in provoking way, and written by some specific people that I can see the writer of those articles just by the headline. This article is an example.

    • Henri Parmentier

      I second that…

  • http://www.facebook.com/khan.rulzz.7 Khan Rulzz

    Samsucks is Notting but a real copy cat !!!!

  • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

    I wonder if it with suck like a Mac?? That’s right, I like Windows and only iOS. Deal with it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ledzeppelin96 Stanley Traub

      yea i used to be like that,but then i took an arrow to the knee… just kidding lol. But anyway, i used to have the same mindset as you, and then i finally opened my mind and got my macbook pro which i am currently using to write this post. My mac was worth every penny and i NEVER intend on going back. Once you go Mac, you never go back!

      • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

        Right, I went Mac and didn’t go back to it. Lol. As a music producer I like windows better.

  • The Slug Thrower

    Shamsung fans inbound!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjames.christensen Ryan James Christensen

    Seriously! They just got out of a lawsuit about stealing Apple’s ideas. Now this?!? Samsung is pushing their luck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnnycamaro John Townsend

    that’s an article from 07, I believe apple had its design previous to that.

    • pawfyd

      So you are wrong. MacBooks were all white back then. Apple is known for taking inspiration from Sony.

  • SPM

    The specs are almost identical – swap out the Intel i5 for an ARM A-15, 2GB RAM instead of 4GB, and Mali T604 GPU instead of Intel HD4000 – that’s it. The build quality is good as well.

    The ARM A-15 is a brand new processor which is designed to replace Intel chips on servers and desktops, and it is reasonably fast – more than twice as fast as a desktop dual core Atom on the same clock rate. The brand new Mali T604 is a an extremely fast high end GPU – easily the fastest on an ARM platform. The thing about the ARM platform is that the CPUs are reasonable on integer performance, but are slower than Intel chips on FP performance and multi-media. On the other hand, ARM chips take up a lot less silicon on the chip, which means you can put custom acceleration hardware on chip, and this is usually faster than trying to use CPU multi-media instructions to do the same. Hence ARM SOCs will often run rings around Intel designs which look more powerful based on the CPU specs.

    Case in point – the £25 Raspberry Pi will run rings around Windows netbooks when it comes to graphics or multi-media. They can run Quake 3 very well, which Windows netbooks costing many times will struggle to do.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_mDuJuvZjI
    Fantastic on 1080p video as well.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGUIePe32Bo&feature=related

    Now the ARM Chromebook is many times faster than Raspberry PI, and all the screen rendering and multi-media is hardware accelerated, so its performance is actually very close to the flawless performance of the Intel core Chromebook 550 as reported by reviewers. Reviewers have also reported that it sometimes slows down is down to the 2GB RAM instead of 4GB, when you have more than 20 or more browser tabs open at the same time (which personally I never do). I understand that this sometimes happens when porn sites spawn multiple tabs, but having 20+ tabs isn’t much use to me really.

    Comparing the new ARM Chromebook to Apple Macbook Air 11.6″:-

    PRICE:
    Macbook=$999
    Chromebook=$249

    DISPLAY:
    11.6-inch 1366×768 for both.

    STORAGE:
    Macbook= 64GB Flash SSD
    Chromebook= 16GB Flash SSD ($50 extra for 64GB Flash SD card to take this up to 80GB)

    PROCESSOR:
    Macbook= 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Chromebook= 1.7GHz dual-core ARM A-15 Cortex

    RAM MEMORY:
    Macbook= 4GB DDR3
    Chromebook = 2GB DDR3

    SIZE AND WEIGHT:
    Macbook= 11.8 in x 7.56 in x 0.68 in. Weight 2.38 lb
    Chromebook= 11.4 in x 8.09 in x 0.69 in. Weight 2.43 lb

    GRAPHICS:
    Macbook Air= Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics
    Chromebook= ARM Mali T604 high end integrated graphics

    RESOLUTION:
    1366×768 on built-in display, up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display for both

    VIDEO OUT:
    Macbook= Mini DisplayPort (requires purchase of adapter for HDMI)
    Chromebook= HDMI port

    USB:
    Macbook= 2 USB 3.0 ports
    Chromebook= 1 USB 3.0 port + 1 USB 2.0 port

    WIRELESS:
    Macbook= 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth 4.0
    Chromebook= 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0

    KEYBOARD & TRACKPAD:
    Full size keyboard and oversize multi-touch trackpad for both

    BATTERY:
    Macbook=5 hours continuous use
    Chromebook=6.5 hours continuous use and ultra low standby consumption.

  • SPM

    Even worse, the spec is also eerily similar to the Macbook Air 11.6″. Only Samsung’s price shows originality

    PRICE:
    Macbook=$999
    Chromebook=$249

    DISPLAY:
    11.6-inch 1366×768 for both.

    STORAGE:
    Macbook= 64GB Flash SSD
    Chromebook= 16GB Flash SSD ($50 extra for 64GB Flash SD card to take this up to 80GB)

    PROCESSOR:
    Macbook= 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Chromebook= 1.7GHz dual-core ARM A-15 Cortex

    RAM MEMORY:
    Macbook= 4GB DDR3
    Chromebook = 2GB DDR3

    SIZE AND WEIGHT:
    Macbook= 11.8 in x 7.56 in x 0.68 in. Weight 2.38 lb
    Chromebook= 11.4 in x 8.09 in x 0.69 in. Weight 2.43 lb

    GRAPHICS:
    Macbook Air= Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics
    Chromebook= ARM Mail T604 high end integrated graphics

    RESOLUTION:
    1366×768 on built-in display, up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display for both

    VIDEO OUT:
    Macbook= Mini DisplayPort (requires purchase of adapter for HDMI)
    Chromebook= HDMI port

    USB:
    Macbook= 2 USB 3.0 ports
    Chromebook= 1 USB 3.0 port + 1 USB 2.0 port

    WIRELESS:
    Macbook= 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth 4.0
    Chromebook= 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0

    KEYBOARD & TRACKPAD:
    Full size keyboard and oversize multi-touch trackpad for both

    BATTERY:
    Macbook=5 hours continuous use
    Chromebook=6.5 hours continuous use and ultra low standby consumption.

    • bannedforselfcensorship

      Price has a quality all of its own.

  • IHATEMACS

    Total Apple fan boy wrote this i bet he wrote this sitting at Starbucks with a Grande caramel Macchiato with a scarf and hipster glasses….I HOPE YOU DROWN IN THE MAINSTREAM.

    • demonoidmaster

      Ikr, this mofo shouldnt be allowed to make articles

  • demonoidmaster

    Lol @ all these ifags commenting… Enjoy your overpriced PoS dumbfucks, atleast unlike you macfags we can upgrade our shit (and at a decent price too… Since apple asks a wholelotta money for something of lesser value).

  • demonoidmaster

    Ps: Christian Zibreg, you’re a fucking arrogant douchebag of a moron …. And obviously a damn apple fagboy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haris.malik.5623 Haris Malik

    Look you apple fan boys need a reality check. Apple didn’t even come up with the iPhone, they merely stole ( yes stole) ideas from Asian companies. Just cause Samsung used an aluminium casing, does that mean they are copycats? And for your information, Samsung supplies apple their chips. So apple can go to hell if they think Samsung are copycats. Remember, samsung supplies apples chips. So many of yous are just apple fanboys and think that they’re amazing, well no they’re not. Samsung, Google and HTC (and soon most phone companies) will be tramping over apple, look at the s4. Just wait, you fanboys are in for a shock…

    • http://www.facebook.com/haris.malik.5623 Haris Malik

      And to add, samsungs sales are rising and apples is falling…what does that show you? It shows more people are paying attention to the technology inside, and not a stupid, over-priced product with an apple logo on it.

  • Reece RabbitBoy Olesen

    OH, so Samsung is complaining about Apple Ink. stealing their designs but they do it to Apple? Worthless. Reasons why I choose Apple over Samsung.

  • Diego Deleon

    wow interesting blog. I’m not so much of a techie and perhaps this is why I use both android and apple. I have been using Apple computers since the 80s, when I was a kid. The reason I have stayed with Apple is because I cannot stand windows. I would use anything before using windows, Having said that, I also have a Chromebook. I have a mac desktop and a MacBook pro. I really enjoy using my chromebook, It could never replace my regular computers, just because of the inability of installing specific software I use, but I totally like my chromebook, its easy to use, and carry around, boots in seconds, is fast enough for my needs, and it is an overall fun machine. I also have an android tablet as well as an ipad. I enjoy using all of my tech toys and don’t really have any hangups about using either.

  • Diego Deleon

    oh and the fact that it looks like the MacBook Air, is actually a plus to me.