A new Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is now available to buy at a more affordable rate but the gadget reportedly features a change won't necessarily make buyers happy and the Korean tech giant didn't tell anybody about. Noticed first by Chrome Unboxed's Robby Payne, that's because is not at all the same as its nearly all-aluminum premium counterpart but still listed with a very similar model and the differences aren't obvious when viewing the product online.
Perhaps the most easily spotted variation can be seen in the laptop's model number and its color designation. Shown as model XE520QAB-K02US on Amazon, as compared to the standard XE521QAB-K02US -- the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is available in "Light Titan" instead of the original "Stealth Silver." The latter of those is slightly darker.
All of the internal specs and features such as ports remain unchanged.
The most obvious design change, upon initial inspection, is the newly-spotted Chromebook Plus's sharper edges where the lid and keyboard base come together rather than the standard curved edge.
Setting those minor differences aside, the change that will bother users the most is the one that isn't disclosed on the sales page for the 2-in-1 laptop at all. Namely, the entire keyboard is comprised of plastic on this gadget. The surround for the display and the lid appear to maintain the metal build found on the original device.
What gives, Samsung?
Changes to Samsung devices or those from any other OEM are also not uncommon. What makes this particular change a real problem is that Samsung isn't telling anybody about it, leaving buyers to order their new laptop and then find out for themselves.
More directly plastic is nowhere near being the same as premium material users are expecting and there are durability aspects that are improved with metal. To Samsung's credit, the use of that has dropped the price by around $150 and buyers still get the Intel Core m3 processor, storage, and memory found in the original. The garaged S-Pen is still included.
That other device also does feature a plastic bottom panel. That's not a problem since that portion of the device is out of sight, normally not felt, and thus out of mind. The price change without any indication of the changes therefore also led many sites to report on a price reduction that wasn't actually just a price reduction.
Samsung's deceptions are beginning to compound
Samsung is no stranger to controversial decisions or outright misleading behavior. Numerous previous examples of that can be found in its repeated use of stock DSLR imagery as stand-ins for camera samples, leading users to believe Samsung's budget phones are capable of shooting DSLR-quality photos. The company later added a disclaimer about the results being atypical to the representative images.
More recently, the company has also been touting a reverse charging feature on its family of flagship handsets -- the Galaxy S10 -- that doesn't actually work the way it claims. Put simply, the company's advertising media in both in print and TV spots make the claim that its devices can be used to charge another smartphone but that isn't entirely accurate. While that can be accomplished to a small degree, modern handsets typically charge wirelessly at between 7W and 10W.
Relative to its claim, the Samsung Galaxy S10 can only wirelessly charge a second gadget or accessory at just 4.5W. That not only won't charge many devices at a useful rate unless the user is willing to use it that way for hours on end. It is mostly designed for use with Samsung's own wireless earbuds' charging case, despite that Samsung's ads all point to the above-mentioned use instead.
The new listings for Samsung's Chrome OS laptop, comparatively, isn't exactly an outright lie since the model number is technically different and there are subtle design changes. Because there's no indication on the sales page that the device is half plastic, it's fair to say that Samsung isn't doing what it very easily could in order to avoid seeming dishonest either.