gmaill1Gmail is the centre point of my work life but – and I hate to say it – using it on my Samsung Chromebook is a frustrating experience.

The interface is often slow and sluggish and scrolling is staggered and jittery. Worse still, the longer I have GMail open the worse its performance gets.

Sometimes Google’s mail service is borderline unusable on my Chromebook!

Thankfully not every Series 3 owner seems to be affected, but a handful are. And it’s for those that this post has been written.

Speed Up GMail on Samsung Chromebook

Why is Gmail slower for some on the Samsung Chromebook? That I don’t know. It’s possibly a combination of some user-set features in tandem with the ARM processor.

Perceived responsiveness is the key here. After all, it’s not that Gmail doesn’t work at all it just happens to work slowly. It’s the visual stutter kicks and delayed mouseovers, checkboxes and button clicks that are the crux of the problem.

So how can we ‘fix’ them?

The two approaches I’m featuring below are the ones that have yielded me the best results. They are by no means guaranteed 100% solutions, but may work for you. If you have your own tips do leave them in the comments section for others to learn from.

Display Density Settings in GMail
Display Density Settings in GMail

Change Display Density of GMail

As my main desktop computer has a large screen I’m used to using GMail in “Comfortable” mode. It’s big, spacious, and gives plenty of room for my darting eyes to navigate across.

On small screens Gmail will automatically resize to a smaller ‘display density’. But, if like me, you have manually set it to ‘Comfortable’, it remembers your choice for subsequent visits.

My first tip, is to undo this. Go back in and change and the display density to ‘Compact‘. You find you get a quick speed boost.

  • Open GMail in Chrome
  • Click the ‘Cog’ icon
  • Under ‘Display Density’ choose ‘Compact’

Two Flags To Speed Up GMail

The next step, and arguably the one that offers the most dramatic improvement to GMail (and Google+ and a handful of other sites) is to enable some features typically used in mobile versions of WebKit and Blink (the ‘engine’ Google Chrome uses to display pages) that ‘speed up scrolling’.

When enabled these flags take fixed-position elements on a web page and renders them separately from the rest of the page. The result is better perceptual performance; things feel, look and appear to load faster.

Since these elements’ position won’t change, there’s no reason to render them as part of the rest of the page which is scrolling and updating. The “compositing” simply takes the layer of fixed-position elements and places them on the rest of the rendered page.

  • Open a New Tab in Chrome
  • Enter ‘chrome://flags’ in the address bar
  • Hit Enter/Return
  • Find the following two flags and set them from ‘Default’ to ‘Enabled’
    • ‘Fixed position elements create stacking contexts’
    • ‘Compositing for fixed position elements’
  • Restart Chrome
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