CES 2021 is next week and the announcements are starting to hit the thread. Last year, Samsung launched the Galaxy Chromebook, a $1,000 premium Chrome OS laptop that felt like a successor to the Google Pixelbook. Like Google, after experiencing the sales from a $1,000 premium Chromebook, Samsung has decided to reduce the premium-ness in subsequent versions, and today’s “Galaxy Chromebook 2” is a cheaper sequel.
Last year’s Galaxy Chromebook had a striking 13.3-inch 4K OLED display, but this year Samsung hacked and trimmed the spec sheet to get a lower price. Instead of a 4K OLED, we have a 1080p LCD. The laptop is slower, thicker and heavier than last year’s, with less storage, fewer cameras and less RAM. However, all of these cost savings have nearly halved the price: it now starts at $549.
For the starting price of $549, you get a 13.3-inch 1920×1080 (16:9) LCD touchscreen; a 1.9GHz, 14nm, dual-core Intel Celeron 5205U; 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM; 64 GB eMMC storage; and a 45.5Wh battery. For $699 there is an upgraded model with an Intel Core i3-10110U, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.
The laptop still has an aluminum casing and still comes in an extremely red color or gray. The laptop is now 13.9mm thick instead of last year’s 9.9mm. The weight goes from 2.29 pounds to 2.71 pounds. The keyboard is still backlit, there are still stereo speakers, and you still get a 360° hinge, Wi-Fi 6, 2 USB-C ports, and expandable MicroSD storage. Unfortunately, Samsung has removed the fingerprint sensor.
You put a camera Where?
The gimmicks of the Galaxy Chromebook 1 have also been cut. Last year, the laptop had a strange second camera on the keyboard, not as a horribly placed nostril camera, but as a rear camera in tablet mode, letting you take pictures of the world with a gigantic 13.3-inch viewfinder. The laptop also no longer has a stowable stylus. Last year, Samsung basically invaded the Galaxy Note’s assembly line and added an identical, stowable S-Pen to the Chromebook 1. This year, only single, non-storable USI pen support is available.
The old Chromebook 1 was notorious for poor battery life, probably thanks to its 4K OLED display, so this year’s cost savings will hopefully also be a return to decent battery life. There were also issues with overheating last year, and this model is not only thicker but also has some beefy vents on the back. So hopefully that’s resolved too. The laptop will be released sometime in Q1 2021.
List image by Samsung