Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 hands on: Cut-down class

Last year at CES 2020, Samsung announced one of the most premium Chromebooks we’ve seen yet, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. It had a premium metallic design, a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and even a built-in stylus. Combined with its spicy Fiesta Red colorway, this laptop was a looker for sure.

But there was a bit of a problem with the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook — it was really expensive. At $999, it’s hard to justify buying a laptop that runs Chrome OS when plenty of fully capable Windows laptops can cost the same or less. Much of the value of Chromebooks is based in the cloud, not necessarily the specs.

This year, Samsung is refreshing the Galaxy Chromebook with a model that cuts down on specs in order to reduce costs. This is the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 side profie 4

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

One of the biggest changes between the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the display. While the original Galaxy Chromebook sported a 4K OLED display, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 uses an FHD QLED panel. The previous 4K OLED panel was certainly quite nice, but it was a big reason why the battery life on the laptop was not nearly as good as we’d hoped. Samsung rated eight hours of battery life on the original laptop, many reviewers saw closer to four and a half.

Related: The best Chromebook accessories you can buy

Another change to the laptop comes in its core specs. Instead of a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, Samsung has dropped the processing down a notch with two different SKUs. There is a model with an Intel Celeron 5205U processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and a model with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 half open
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 keyboard top down
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 side profie 1

Both devices feature two USB-C ports for charging the 45.5Wh battery and data transfer, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack. While last year’s Galaxy Chromebook featured a camera at the top of the display as well as above the keyboard, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 removes the keyboard camera. There’s also no built-in stylus for marking up documents. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 still supports a stylus, but you won’t find one built into the chassis. Bummer.

Overall, Samsung clearly wanted to retain the core DNA of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, but it needed to cut back on a few things to make it more affordable for the average consumer. Considering most of the processing on Chromebooks is done in the cloud anyway, it makes sense to try and retain the premium design while scaling down on specs.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 open next to closed

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook will be available in Q1 of 2021 for $549.99. You can get it in Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray.

What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook? Let us know!

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