CES 2021 is next week, and announcements are starting to hit the wire. Last year, Samsung launched the Galaxy Chromebook, a premium $1,000 Chrome OS laptop that felt like a successor to the Google Pixelbook. Just like Google, after experiencing the sales of a premium $1,000 Chromebook, Samsung has decided to tone down the premium-ness in subsequent versions, and today’s “Galaxy Chromebook 2,” is a cheaper follow-up.
Last year’s Galaxy Chromebook featured a headline-grabbing 13.3-inch 4K OLED display, but this year, Samsung has hacked and slashed at the spec sheet to get down to a lower price. Instead of a 4K OLED, we’ve got a 1080p LCD. The laptop is slower, thicker, and heavier than last year’s, with less storage, fewer cameras, and less RAM. All this cost-cutting has nearly cut the price in half, though: it now starts at $549.
For the starting $549, you get a 13.3-inch 1920×1080 (16:9) LCD touchscreen; a 1.9GHz, 14nm, dual-core Intel Celeron 5205U; 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM; 64GB of eMMC storage; and a 45.5Wh battery. For $699, there is an upgraded model with an Intel Core i3-10110U, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
The laptop still has an aluminum body and still comes in either an extremely red color or gray. The laptop is now 13.9mm thick instead of last year’s 9.9mm. The weight goes up 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. Sadly, Samsung removed the fingerprint sensor.
You put a camera where?
The Galaxy Chromebook 1’s gimmicks have been cut, too. Last year, the laptop featured an odd second camera on the keyboard deck, not as a terribly placed nostril cam but as a rear-facing camera in tablet mode, allowing you to take pictures of the world with a giant, 13.3-inch viewfinder. The laptop also no longer has a stowable stylus. Last year, Samsung basically raided the Galaxy Note assembly line and added an identical, stowable S-Pen to the Chromebook 1. This year, there is only sold-separate, unstowable USI pen support.
The old Chromebook 1 was notorious for having a poor battery life, probably thanks to the 4K OLED display, so this year’s cost-cutting is hopefully also a return to reasonable battery life. There were also problems last year with overheating, and this model is not only thicker but has some beefy-looking vents on the back. So hopefully, that’s fixed, too. The laptop comes out sometime in Q1 2021.
Listing image by Samsung