Samsung has now officially taken the wraps off of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, as part of its CES 2021 announcements. And, as should be expected based on its award-winning predecessor, the most prominent update to be found here is the screen. But that may not be as big an update as some might hope. Especially given that there are some fairly drastic changes to this Samsung Chromebook when compared to the original.
Those changes are immediately apparent on a close inspection of the released images for the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. For starters, the once-frame-housed S Pen stylus is nowhere to be found. Previously, that sat next to the USB-C charging slot on the right-hand edge of this razor-thin Chromebook. Now, the pen is listed by Samsung as "sold separately."
But there is still quite a lot about this Chromebook to set it apart from the competition. Not least of all, the company kept its all-aluminum design language effectively identical otherwise, when compared to the last generation. The fiesta red variant is back and redder than ever, while Mercury Grey is as sophisticated and professional as always. As is the compact 12 x 8-inch build for a 13.3-inch display panel. And the slender 13.97mm thin overall build.
Samsung is also including two 1.5W stereo speakers — presumably, tuned by AKG — and a backlit keyboard standard. That keyboard looks almost identical to that found on this Chromebook's predecessor and so does the oversized trackpad. But the keyboard is an all-new lattice keyboard design with wider keycaps. So typing should be more comfortable and accurate than ever.
Tamper-proof security, dual USB-C ports, a microSD card reader, 720HD webcam, and a 45.5Wh battery are also going to be familiar, if not identical.
What's new with the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2?
All of that is packed into a frame that on weight, again, nearly matches the original Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. That's at 2.71lbs. This time around though, Samsung is packing the device with a lower-resolution display.
Samsung likely utilized an FHD QLED panel to offset battery complaints seen in the 4K AMOLED original. But this is also the first time a QLED touch panel has been used in a Chromebook. So the display should be as crisp and clear as ever, despite the lower resolution.
The keyboard has been redone in a striking black coloration as well.
Samsung has also cut the price by quite a bit. And that's most likely not solely because of the drop in resolution or the fact that the pen is sold separately. In fact, it's likely because Samsung opted to offer two configurations for the 2021 Galaxy Chromebook model. While the original came with a 10th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor standard, the new model features an Intel Core i3-10110U chip at the top of the range. The base model, conversely, ships with an Intel Celeron 5205U.
Coinciding with that, Samsung is offering two different configurations for RAM and storage too. The base model ships with 4GB memory and 64GB storage. The more pricey model doubles that to 8GB and 128GB, respectively. Storage, then, is cut in half for the 2021 models at the top tier. The original Samsung Galaxy Chromebook came with 256GB.
The speakers here are improved as well, at 5W max with a new amp to push volume up to 178-percent louder.
For those who need the pure specs of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, as laid out by the company, those are as follows.
|Display||13.3” QLED FHD|
|SoC||Intel Celeron 5205U|
Intel Core i3-10110U
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Dimensions||Width: 12 in (304.8mm)|
Length: 8 in (203.2mm)
Height: 0.55 in (13.97mm)
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+), 802.11 ax 2×2|
|Camera/Mic||720P HD (1MP)|
|Audio||Stereo Speakers (5Wx 2) with Smart AMP|
|Pen||USI Active Pen support (sold separately)|
|Ports||2 USB-C | MicroSD-Multi-media Card Reader|
When and where can you buy the new Galaxy Chromebook?
For all intents and purposes, the new Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 appears to be a step down from last year's model. But, just under the skin, the changes made here are likely the result of user feedback. As noted above, the AMOLED 4K display panel, mid-tier i5 chipset, and other factors caused battery life that just wasn't great. Moreover, all of those factors — and the overkill 256GB storage — are more than is really needed on a Chromebook.
Samsung's new spec sheet aligns more closely with what Chrome OS requires and lowers the price significantly. All while presumably improving battery life and still offering a truly premium build. The hardware underlying that is good enough that most users should still be able to accomplish anything they want to. And that's going to place the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 as a high-value offering for this year.
Specifically, Samsung will offer the 10th Gen Intel Celeron version of this 2-in-1 Chromebook for just $549.99. The more powerful Intel Core i3 variant won't raise the price too much either. That will start out at $699.99. Samsung hasn't detailed exactly when the new Chromebook will become available. But it will be available in the first quarter of 2021 more broadly.