Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: A better balance of premium and practical

Samsung’s to start with Galaxy Chromebook was a matter to behold. It experienced an unbelievably sharp and vivid 4K display screen, a wonderful keyboard and a slender, light, very well-developed body. It was nearly every thing you could want from a laptop — but its $1,000 value and uncomfortable battery everyday living built it a non-starter.

Sensibly, Samsung went back to the drawing board for the sequel. This year’s Galaxy Chromebook two appears incredibly very similar to the authentic, but under the hood there are considerable variations, none far more so than the new exhibit. Gone is the gaudy, eye-popping 4K resolution. Alternatively you get a far more pedestrian 1080p display screen. Samsung built a selection of other compromises on this laptop or computer much too — but the great news is that they’re all wise variations that make the Galaxy Chromebook two equally much less expensive ($699 as reviewed) and far better than its predecessor.

Execs

  • Spectacular display screen
  • Great keyboard
  • Powerful processor
  • Amazingly loud speakers
  • Eye-catching design and style

Cons

  • A little dear
  • Battery everyday living is just normal

Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook two evaluation images | fourteen Pictures

Hardware and design and style

At to start with look, the Galaxy Chromebook two appears around-similar to previous year’s model. The moment once more, the model I’m examining came in a bold “fiesta red” colour, however there is also a grey choice for drab company styles. Gone is the eye-catching silver metallic edge that ran about the more mature laptop this a single is red all about. And the body of the Galaxy Chromebook two is a bit even bigger, much too — thirteen.9mm thick and two.seven pounds. That is still fairly compact, but the old Galaxy Chromebook was only 9.9mm thick and two.two pounds. This is the to start with compromise you will see, but regardless of the change the Galaxy Chromebook two is still a very well-built laptop that is effortless to carry about all working day.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Prior to powering the laptop up, I took be aware of a number of other matters missing. There is no digicam on the keyboard deck, so if you flip the laptop about into pill method, you will not be in a position to acquire photos. Not a large loss. Exact same goes for the absence of a designed-in stylus — it’s just not a thing I come across that helpful on a Chromebook. But if you do overlook it, the Galaxy Chromebook two is effective with any Common Stylus Initiative pen. Ultimately, there is no fingerprint sensor on the keyboard like there was on the authentic. That is the to start with matter I genuinely skipped listed here, as making use of a fingerprint to log in is way less difficult than making use of a password. Fortuitously, you can also established a six-digit PIN to login or use an Android cellular phone to unlock the laptop.

When I driven the laptop up, I briefly forgot that it did not have a 4K display screen, due to the fact the 1080p QLED touchscreen appears exceptional. Colours are brilliant and saturated with no becoming exaggerated and viewing angles are good. It is also a incredibly brilliant display screen which aided a lot when operating on a sunny morning. Of course, the resolution is reduced, but the top quality of the display screen will make up for it — and supplied what a substantial drain a 4K display screen is on a laptop’s battery, this is a trade-off that nearly anyone will be in favor of. In what was most likely yet another price-reducing measure, Samsung slice the Ambient EQ function that routinely altered the screen’s colour temperature to your environment. Provided how aggressive it was on the authentic Galaxy Chromebook, I’m not missing it much too considerably listed here.

The exhibit still has minimal bezels, at least on three sides the chin underneath the display screen remains an eyesore and I genuinely wish the exhibit stretched far more vertically. I’ve said a lot of moments how considerably I prefer a sixteen:10 (or taller) aspect ratio on a laptop, but the large majority of Chromebooks still stick with sixteen:9. I’m employed to it, but I still sigh a little and overlook the 2017 Pixelbook’s three:two exhibit.

I feel Samsung employed the exact keyboard and trackpad as it did on the authentic Galaxy Chromebook, which I do not have a difficulty with. The keyboard is not the best — it’s a little shallow, like Apple’s old butterfly keyboards. But it’s a lot softer to type on and I bought employed to it fairly quickly. I still wish the full keyboard was shifted up a bit bigger than it is to make space for a bigger trackpad, but it’s still a great (if not exceptional) practical experience. One matter that did give me pause was that I bought double-spaces from time to time when I was typing, which reminded me of the stuck keys the old MacBook Professional was plagued with. Almost everything appears to be high-quality suitable now, but it’s undoubtedly a thing I’m holding an eye on through longer-time period tests.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

(Also, make it possible for me to rant for a moment about a huge marketing sticker on the left aspect palmrest. Obtaining a sticker beneath your palm is not a premium practical experience. I experimented with getting rid of it but it did not arrive off cleanly, so I left it the place it was for the sake of getting far better images. But if I paid out $seven hundred for this laptop and left a mess from peeling off a pointless sticker the working day I acquired it, I’d be infuriated. Let’s say it loudly: there is no want for stickers on a laptop in 2021.)

As is frequently the circumstance with convertible laptops, Samsung place speakers on the bottom rather than going through up from the keyboard. There are two more compact ones on the left and suitable as very well as a substantial, lengthy a single managing by way of the middle. They are not the best I’ve at any time heard, but they audio great for a comparatively compact laptop or computer. Samsung claims it’s making use of a technology termed Good Amp to crank these speakers up to 178 % louder than “standard laptops” with no encountering distortion. I do not know what they’re measuring off, but they are impressively loud and fairly apparent. They are not as great as the speaker in Apple’s recent MacBook Professional designs, but people personal computers price a lot far more than the Galaxy Chromebook two. Rounding matters out are two USB-C ports (a single on each individual aspect), a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, a volume rocker and a electricity button. People aspect-mounted buttons are meant to be employed when the laptop is in pill method — but supplied that the Galaxy Chromebook weighs nearly three pounds, I never ever employed it as a pill.

In use

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Samsung is marketing two designs of the Galaxy Chromebook two the $699 I tested has a tenth-generation, dual-main Intel Main i3 processor, 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. There is also a $549 model that has a tenth-generation Intel Celeron 5205U processor, 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The i3 model provides a lot in conditions of foreseeable future-proofing your investment decision, so I’d wager most persons need to expend the more $a hundred and fifty. Although I haven’t experimented with a Celeron-driven Chromebook lately, the reduced-finish model need to be high-quality for most primary computing, however.

Previous year’s model experienced a Main i5 processor, so this is yet another area the place Samsung slice a corner to conserve some revenue. Like the relaxation of the variations to the Galaxy Chromebook two, I assume this was a clever a single, as a Main i3 was plenty of electricity for my workflow. To be fair, my wants are not terribly processor-intense. Most days I have a pair Chrome windows heading with 10-15 tabs in each individual, additionally website applications for Hangouts, Slack, Trello, Tweetdeck, Keep and YouTube New music. I also run a handful of Android applications, including Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Spotify and Adobe Lightroom, however most of people are not managing at all moments.

The Galaxy Chromebook two dealt with all these duties with no slowing down. I’m sure I could open ample tabs to make an impact, but unless of course you’re the sort of particular person who wants thirty or 40 tabs heading at a least, the Main i3 processor and 8GB of RAM are far more than up to the problem. Functionality was sleek across other applications even when pushing a bigger-than-ordinary selection of tabs — matters like Lightroom stayed sleek and my new music did not have to buffer at all.

Because the Galaxy Chromebook two doesn’t arrive with a stylus, I was unable to take a look at how drawing applications labored and how responsive the display screen is. But as I say nearly every single time I use a convertible Chromebook, the large majority of persons will most likely just use this as a laptop. And, it’s possible from time to time enjoy a online video in pill method. In circumstance it was not apparent, I do not consider pill method on a Chromebook a substantial marketing place.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

The largest concern I experienced heading into this evaluation was no matter whether Samsung improved the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s battery everyday living. I’m joyful to say the respond to is a resounding indeed, but sadly it’s not all great news. In our online video playback take a look at, the place we loop a 1080p online video repeatedly till the battery dies, the Galaxy Chromebook two lasted an extraordinary 11 several hours and forty nine minutes. That is not rather the thirteen several hours Samsung promises — but supplied that previous year’s model only lasted 5 several hours and 11 minutes, which is a substantial improvement.

True earth efficiency was sadly a little blended. I bought among six and 7 several hours of everyday living before I experienced to reach for the charger. One thing as simple as a 20-moment online video simply call genuinely hurt the battery, but that speaks far more to how electricity-hungry Google Fulfill is than any severe deficiency with the Galaxy Chromebook two. All round, I still wish that the battery everyday living on this laptop routinely exceeded 8 several hours with no possessing to baby it.

The opposition

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436a

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

The most apparent competitor to Samsung’s most current is previous year’s ASUS Chromebook Flip C436. It is effectively similar spec-clever to the Galaxy Chromebook two. For $799, ASUS features the Flip with the exact processor, RAM, storage and display screen size. The Flip C436 has minimal bezels, a 360-degree hinge, and similarly mediocre battery everyday living. That said, I do not see considerably purpose to suggest the ASUS model about Samsung’s most current, supplied it costs $100 far more.

Even however it’s a yr and a fifty percent old, Google’s Pixelbook Go remains effortless to suggest many thanks to its exceptional keyboard, excellent battery everyday living, and good overall design and style. It is noticeably thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Chromebook two, and I still routinely get very well about 8 several hours of battery everyday living from it. For $650, you can get it with an eighth-generation Intel m3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 64GB or storage expending $fifty far more on Samsung’s newest receives you a far better processor and 2 times the storage house. You can also expend $850 and get a Main i5 processor and 128GB of storage.

Considerably astonishingly, Samsung options to carry on marketing previous year’s Galaxy Chromebook. The firm told me it still desires to offer you a Chromebook with all the bells and whistles it has, like the 4K display screen, designed-in stylus and far more strong processor. But supplied the inadequate battery everyday living, I still just cannot suggest it, even at the new reduced value of $seven hundred.

Lenovo is still marketing what I assume is the overall best worth Chromebook out there, the Flex 5. It costs about $four hundred on Amazon and has the exact processor as the Galaxy Chromebook two. The exhibit is not as wonderful, and it only has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. But for a lot of persons, which is plenty for a Chromebook. It is also not as beautiful, but it’s a analyze, affordable choice that is a single of the best out there.

As for what is coming, Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 went on sale lately and I’ll be examining it soon. From a spec and value standpoint, it could be a winner — $630 receives you a tenth-generation Intel Main i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB of storage and a spacious, thirteen.5-inch display screen with a substantial 2256 x 1504 resolution.

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