Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 hands-on: promisingly boring

“Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2” is a considerably deceptive title. Sure, this $549.99 laptop computer is technically the second system to bear the title “Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.” Nevertheless it’s not a sequel within the sense that it’s an improve: Samsung didn’t add a ton of recent options or bump up lots of the specs.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2, coming within the first quarter of 2021, is definitely a step down from its predecessor in relation to a lot of the {hardware}. A number of the options that made the Galaxy Chromebook stand out have been eliminated — there’s no AMOLED display screen or included stylus. It retains the unique’s distinctive shade, however on paper the Chromebook 2 is a world away. It’s not fancy or flashy; it’s not pushing the boundaries of the class. It’s a regular-ass Chromebook.

And I’m completely superb with that.

From the surface, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 doesn’t look too totally different from the Galaxy Chromebook. That’s largely due to the colour. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is available in a daring “fiesta purple” that appears both brilliant purple or brilliant orange relying on the lighting. Both manner, it’ll flip heads. (There’s additionally a “mercury grey” choice, should you’re boring.)

Decide the Chromebook 2 up, although, and also you’ll really feel the primary nook that Samsung has lower. The Chromebook 2 is noticeably thicker and heavier than its predecessor: 2.71 kilos and .55 inches thick, to the Galaxy Chromebook’s 2.29 kilos and 0.38 inches thick.

After all, that’s nonetheless loads transportable as Chromebooks go — Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 is thicker and heavier. The one factor I’ll notice is that whereas I had no bother utilizing the Galaxy Chromebook as a pill, holding the Chromebook 2 in a single hand for lengthy durations of time is extra of a chore. I wouldn’t have needed to make use of it for a protracted presentation. (Your mileage will range, after all — I’m not significantly swole.)

The second huge change: the display screen. The Galaxy Chromebook’s show was its spotlight function. It was the primary 4K AMOLED panel ever to look on a Chromebook, and it was one of the crucial drop-dead beautiful screens I’ve ever seen on a laptop computer.

That’s gone right here. The Chromebook 2 has an FHD (that’s, 1920 x 1080) QLED display screen. QLED panels, regardless of the title similarity, will not be OLED panels — they’re LED-backlit LCD screens that use Samsung’s quantum-dot expertise. You received’t see the identical pure distinction and impeccable blacks that you’d on an OLED.

That doesn’t imply the display screen is dangerous, although. The Chromebook 2 is the primary Chromebook to function a QLED show, and QLEDs are nonetheless superb. Samsung says this one can produce over a billion colours. I watched a couple of movies on the system, and so they all regarded simply superb. On high of that, the audio sounded nice, simply filling up the big testing space far under its most degree. All in all, a very good multimedia expertise.

There have been a couple of different nifty options of the Galaxy Chromebook’s chassis which can be absent right here. There’s no built-in stylus (although you should buy one individually), no keyboard deck digicam, and no fingerprint sensor. I perceive why Samsung eliminated these items — they’re all cool to have, however I can’t think about I’d miss them an excessive amount of.

Relating to what’s inside, you might have two choices. The $549.99 base mannequin contains an Intel Celeron 5205U, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The $699.99 configuration has an Intel Core i3-10110U, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Each fashions get two USB-C ports, a microSD slot, and a headphone / microphone combo jack, in addition to a 720p webcam.

The Chromebook 2’s Core i3 processor is one other downgrade from its predecessor (which had a Core i5-10210U), however I’m hesitant to name {that a} huge compromise. I reviewed an Asus Chromebook Flip C436 with that very same Core i3 final 12 months and the chip completely acquired the job achieved — I didn’t discover a lot of a efficiency distinction between that system and the Core i5-powered Galaxy Chromebook.

(The Celeron, alternatively, is pretty entry-level. I typically don’t advocate it for duties past basic searching or mild workplace work — the $699 mannequin will possible be the only option for most individuals.)

However there’s one query I’m ready on that may make or break my suggestion for this system, and that’s battery life. The Galaxy Chromebook had a variety of nice options, however it may solely final round 4 hours and 20 minutes to a cost. I don’t suppose anybody can buy a $999 Chromebook that may’t even final 5 hours, irrespective of how good it appears to be like. Heck, I don’t suppose anybody can buy a $700 Chromebook that may’t even final 5 hours. There are simply manner higher choices.

So when Samsung sends the Galaxy Chromebook 2 out for overview, all eyes will likely be on the battery life. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chromebook 2 outlasts its predecessor, given its lower-resolution display screen and the lower-powered processor. However, the Chromebook 2 additionally has a barely smaller battery — and the Chromebook Flip C436 (with the identical processor and display screen decision) solely lasted a bit longer than the Galaxy Chromebook, giving me round 5 hours in testing. So, we’ll should see.

Samsung made a daring, brilliant wager with the Galaxy Chromebook. It put out a Chrome OS system not like something the market had ever seen, stuffed with bells and whistles that made me go “wow.”

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 isn’t that. It’s not out to focus on a brand-new section of customers or to push the boundaries of what a Chromebook may be. And I’m glad to see that, as a result of what I really need on the $549 and $699 value level is a Chromebook that’s properly constructed, nails the fundamentals, and doesn’t have any main flaws. It doesn’t want further fancy stuff; it simply must ship within the areas that matter most.

I’m excited that Samsung is making an attempt to try this. As for whether or not it’s succeeded, that is still to be seen. However I’ve my fingers crossed.

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