Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 Review
Following the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook in 2020, the Korean electronics giant has produced a follow up. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 may not have much going for it on paper, but it delivers on performance.
It’s a laptop for the working man, who needs premium performance, but not necessarily beefy internals. It also has a pretty great battery life and some impressive hardware. Let’s take a look at what the second generation of Chromebooks from Samsung has to offer:
There are two main configurations of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 you can buy right now. The base version has an Intel Celeron CPU with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage. The upgraded version houses 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and an Intel Core i3 processor.
However, there is no 4K AMOLED display this time, and no built-in stylus either. The latter may not leave anyone but enthusiasts disappointed. Still, the 4K screen is definitely a loss for the more creatively inclined.
The result is a Chromebook that is competitively priced alongside the Acer Spin 713 and the Google Pixelbook Go. In some ways it’s better than the competition, and in some ways, it’s just not as good. Let’s take a look at the things that matter with every Chromebook to dig deeper.
Right off the bat, you get a laptop that is a brilliant shade of red, or mercury gray. No matter what else you say, it’ll definitely turn some heads at the office. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 weighs just 2.7 pounds and takes up 12x8x0.6 inches.
It’s a little larger and heavier than its own predecessor and competing Chromebooks, but still feels extremely light. The hinges all feel sturdy, and the laptop doesn’t bend or sway at all when picked up.
There’s one thing that’s sorely missing from the Galaxy Chromebook 2 compared to its predecessor, the fingerprint reader. The laptops and Chromebooks that have it today are such a joy to use. It’s such a convenience to have the same feature you use to unlock your phone on your laptop.
If there is one word to describe the keyboard of the Galaxy Chromebook 2, it’s quiet. Though it’s not the biggest keyboard out there, it is silent. That makes for a very pleasant typing experience. However, keys could do with a little more travel.
The touchpad isn’t anything special, but it gets the job done. If your hands are on the larger side, you may feel some discomfort, but you’ll have no trouble tapping and scrolling. On the good side, the touchpad feels incredibly responsive.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 features two USB-C ports for two-way charging. That’s right, you can charge the Chromebook as well as other devices using these ports. There’s also a microSD card reader and a headphone jack included.
There’s a volume rocker on the left side too. While more ports would’ve been preferable including a USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port, this is a good configuration. It’ll do the needful without fail.
The distinct bass lines and vocals remain very distinct at maximum volume. The Samsung Chromebook 2 gets loud enough for anyone with an ear for music. Maybe it’s Samsung’s Smart Amp technology. Either way, you can turn the speakers up with some Led Zeppelin or Kanye and not notice any distortion.
As with most other laptops, there is a 720p webcam built into the top of the Samsung Chromebook 2. It’ll get you through zoom calls, but as with all other 720p webcams, it’s a disappointment. This is one area where laptops in general refuse to improve. Even though smartphones have grown leaps and bounds in this area, webcams are still stuck in place.
Samsung is known for its beautiful, radiant displays that choose high contrast and brilliant colors to do the talking for them. Not disappointing here either, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes with a fantastic 13.3-inch, QLED display and a sleek design. Nearly bezel-less on the top and sides, the chin of the screen does stick out. However, the real estate above it is too grand to ignore.
The 1920×1080 resolution and the 16:9 display don’t seem like a good deal on paper, but they look great in-person. The screen delivers 118.4% of the sRGB color spectrum. This puts it beyond the range of the average Chromebook. Even competition like the M1 MacBook Air or the Pixelbook Go don’t reach as far as Galaxy Chromebook 2.
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is definitely brighter than its predecessor at 390 nits. The original Galaxy Chromebook’s screen only measured 357 nits. Competitors like the Pixelbook Go at 368 nits also fall behind. However, the Acer Spin 713 sends the Galaxy Chromebook 2 packing with its 445 nits of brightness.
Did I mention, there’s a touchscreen? You can flip this Chromebook around 360-degrees and turn it into a tablet. This is a pretty standard feature of Chromebook, and with a display as beautiful, it’s a joy to use. That being said, at times, the display does stop reading your touches after you shift to tablet mode. Nothing a restart doesn’t solve though.
If you’re browsing the web, writing articles, creating presentations, or even playing light games, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 won’t stutter. The Core i3 processor will handle anything from video streaming to web browsing just fine.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 generates a score of 2171 on Geekbench 5. While it’s lower than the competition, it’s no slouch. In fact, it performs better than the Google Pixelbook Go which packs a Core i5 chip!
One area where the Galaxy Chromebook 2 blows its predecessor out of the water is its battery life. You can eke out about 13 hours of continuous use while its predecessor could only do half that. Here’s where swapping out the 4K display makes the most sense. People aren’t looking to game on Chromebooks anyway, so it makes sense to give the battery preference here.
Also, no matter what is thrown at the Chromebook 2, it doesn’t go above 89 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s because the designers of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 actually added a fan. That’s a feature that’s absent in most Chromebooks. In fact, thin Chromebooks don’t have it across the board. This is a really thoughtful detail that the designers should get bonus points for.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a pretty good deal for the price tag attached. If you’re going to get a Chromebook, it’s definitely above the Pixelbook Go and the previous Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. It’s got pretty good internals and excellent battery life.
However, there is definitely a case to be made for competing Chromebooks from companies like Acer. The Spin 713 from Acer has raised the bar rather high for Chromebooks everywhere. Even so, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a good deal for the price. Make sure you consider this when you’re going shopping for a work computer.