Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550 pictures and hands-on

The Chromebook is a curious idea. Essentially, it's a normal laptop - albeit one too low-powered to really run Windows - that has a stripped-down version of Linux installed, along with a version of Google's Chrome browser. And that's it.

There are no apps, so to speak, and everything you do, you do in the cloud. It's ideal for people who want the security of cloud backup, and who are always near a network connection. And in this day and age, it's easy to be near Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere.

The new Chromebook is an update to last year's model. It's more laptopy looking this time, with a silver colour and the usual Samsung logo emblazoned on the lid. Along with a pretty Chrome logo. To our eye, this isn't as funky as last year's model - which looked different from a bog standard laptop.

Around the edges, you'll find quite a decent selection of ports, far more than on the original machine. The left side has power, Ethernet, DisplayPort and USB as well as a combined headphone and microphone jack. The right side featues and SD card reader and another USB socket, and there's a kensington lock option. For 3G models, the SIM socket is to be found at the rear of the laptop. It takes a normal-sized SIM.

RAM has doubled since the previous version too: there's 4GB now. The processor has changed from an Atom, to a more powerful "Core" model, which should help speed things up. The keyboard and trackpad are much the same, at least visually, and the keys are huge, which should make for a decent typing experience.

There are some minor changes to Chrome OS but it's still basically a web browser installed on cut-down Linux. There is a sort of desktop now, but it's just for showing the Google web apps. These are getting better all the time, but don't expect much in terms of advanced functionality here.

While the Chromebook is a good idea in theory, our gut is telling us that it's just too expensive at £379 (Wi-Fi only). Especially considering that's the same price as a basic laptop.

What do you think, is the Chromebook desirable, or simply too expensive?