I’ll spare you the suspense: the battery life is nice.

It’s not unbelievable. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is much from the longest-lasting Chromebook I’ve ever examined. However after final 12 months’s Samsung Galaxy Chromebook couldn’t even make it 5 hours on a cost, my expectations have been on the ground. I carried out my first battery check on this 12 months’s sequel in an optimistic however nervous state. Lastly, a number of months after the Chromebook 2 was introduced, I’m respiratory a sigh of aid. To repeat: the battery life just isn’t a catastrophe, people. The battery life is okay.

That’s kind of the theme of this machine. There are a few standout options, and the remainder of it’s nice. And I’m very proud of that.

Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook, launched virtually a 12 months in the past, was a high-risk, high-reward play. There have been plenty of incredible options, a few of which (the OLED display, the built-in S Pen, the 0.38-inch-thick chassis) have been so fancy it was stunning to see them on a Chromebook. However two of its options have been important issues: the $999 price ticket (placing the system in competitors with the likes of the MacBook Air), and the battery life.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (which isn’t a lot a sequel to the Galaxy Chromebook as it’s a extra reasonably priced different) lacks a few of the Galaxy Chromebook’s most bold options. The stylus, the fingerprint sensor, and the OLED panel have all disappeared. However of their place are all-day battery life and a sub-$700 price ticket. In doing so, it makes its case not as a groundbreaking Chromebook of the long run, however as a tool you would possibly truly wish to purchase right this moment.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 seen from above and to the right. A mug sits to its left on the desk, a notebook to its right.

With colours like these, who wants OLED?

The three ports on the left side of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.

USB-C, microSD, audio jack on the left.

The USB-C port on the right side of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.

Right here, have one other USB-C.

From afar, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems pretty much like the Galaxy Chromebook. That’s a praise — the Galaxy Chromebook’s hanging design was one in every of its largest promoting factors. The Chromebook 2 is available in a daring “fiesta purple” shade, which is a cross between vibrant purple and vibrant orange. You actually don’t see Chromebooks of this hue on daily basis, and it’ll flip heads in case you’re sitting in public. (You can even purchase this in “mercury grey” in case you’re boring.)

Decide the factor up, and also you’ll begin to see the place Samsung has minimize some corners. It’s thicker and heavier than its predecessor, at 0.55 inches thick and a pair of.71 kilos, respectively. It’s nonetheless lots mild, although it’s a bit hefty to carry as a pill for lengthy durations. With sq. edges, it additionally has a blockier vibe, and the end feels a bit plasticky and is sort of a fingerprint magnet (although the prints are straightforward to wipe off in case you have a material available).

None of those modifications are large knocks towards the Galaxy Chromebook 2, although, particularly at this worth level. It nonetheless seems fairly good, and the aluminum chassis is sturdy. There’s little to no flex within the show or keyboard, and whereas I noticed a little bit of display wobble whereas typing and utilizing the touchscreen, it wasn’t too distracting. That is the place the Chromebook 2 has a bonus over our present high choose, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. That system is bulkier than Samsung’s, fairly bland in its design, and has a bit extra flex in its keyboard and display.

The actually large chassis downgrade Samsung has made is within the show. The Galaxy Chromebook has a 4K OLED panel that’s completely stunning however, to be sincere, not mandatory for almost all of individuals. As an alternative, the Chromebook 2 is the primary Chromebook ever to characteristic a QLED panel. QLED panels aren’t OLED, regardless of the title similarity; they’re LED-backlit LCD screens that use Samsung’s quantum-dot know-how.

However OLED or not OLED, that is nonetheless probably the greatest shows I’ve ever seen on a Chromebook. It’s beautiful. Colours have been vibrant and correct, with stable distinction and nice particulars. This machine is nice to observe movies on. It’s shiny and kicks again some glare however nothing that was too distracting. The opposite disappointment is that it’s 16:9 (1920 x 1080 decision). The Chromebook Spin 713 additionally has a really good panel on the roomier 3:2 facet ratio. However on the entire, the Chromebook 2 seems nice. Its audio system sound fairly good as effectively, making for a stable leisure system throughout.

I’ll admit that the keyboard took some getting used to. It’s flatter than a few of the greatest Chromebook keyboards I’ve used, together with that of Google’s Pixelbook Go. But it surely does have a pleasant key texture with a click on that’s satisfying however not too loud. I used to be having fun with it after a number of days into my testing. When it comes to ports, you get two USB-C ports (one on all sides — bonus factors for handy charging!), a microSD slot, and a headphone jack. The one factor I’d want for is a USB-A, however I do know I’m combating a shedding battle there.

As I famous earlier than, the Chromebook 2 is lacking a few of the snazzier options you’ll see on dearer gadgets (together with the Galaxy Chromebook). Probably the most important is that there’s no biometric authentication on this; it’s password-only, and I do miss the comfort of the fingerprint reader on its predecessor. (In case you’re tremendous anti-password, you may, technically, pair the Chromebook to an Android telephone and unlock it with that telephone’s biometrics.)

One other factor you don’t get is a bundled stylus. The Galaxy Chromebook shipped with a pleasant pen, which lived in a tiny storage within the chassis. The Chromebook 2 is suitable with USI pens, however you’ll should retailer them individually. And there’s no digital camera on the keyboard deck, one thing plenty of latest Chromebooks have included to permit for simple front-facing pictures whereas in pill mode.

However whereas these options are all good bonuses, they possible gained’t influence the common person’s expertise too a lot. And on the $549 to $699 worth factors, I’m not enraged by their absence.

The hinge, part of the screen, and part of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 laid flat, seen from above

Fairly chassis with no stylus storage in sight.

You should buy the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with one in every of two processors: the beginning $549.99 configuration contains an Intel Celeron 5205U with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the $699.99 mannequin (which I acquired) features a Core i3-10110U, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 in tent mode, angled to the right, with the screen facing the camera. The screen displays The Verge homepage.

Use it as a clamshell, a pill, or a tent.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 in tent mode with the screen facing the camera, displaying The Verge homepage.

The hinge is a bit stiff. It’s not completely easy to flip the factor round.

In my first hands-on with this system, I used to be hesitant in regards to the base configuration. Regardless of the interesting worth, a Celeron with 4GB of RAM is sort of an entry-level system, and I usually wouldn’t advocate it for anybody who wants their system to do faculty or workplace work. Nonetheless, I now assume there’s one compelling use case for the Celeron mannequin: a Netflix machine. In case you don’t plan on utilizing the Galaxy Chromebook 2 as a main driver however wish to benefit from the QLED display for leisure, you may in all probability get away with the $549 worth. (Everybody else ought to in all probability spring for the Core i3.)

The Core i3 is a step down from the Core i5, the processor that powered the Galaxy Chromebook. However like an OLED display, that processor is overkill for a lot of Chrome OS duties. As I used the Chromebook 2 to ship emails, fiddle with spreadsheets, write in Google Docs, stream Spotify, and do different normal work, I didn’t discover any efficiency points. I additionally by no means felt any warmth within the keyboard, the touchpad, or the underside of the deck. (The Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a fan, which some skinny Chromebooks don’t.)

Battery life, as talked about, is sort of acceptable. I averaged 7 hours and 21 minutes of steady work at 50 p.c brightness, generally utilizing a mixture of Chrome and Android apps and generally sticking largely to Chrome. The Chromebook 2 does take a little bit of time to cost, although. It solely juiced as much as 54 p.c in an hour.

The place the system lagged was in duties that leverage the interior storage. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 has eMMC storage, which is significantly slower than the SSD you’ll discover in most laptops. The method of getting a batch of round 100 pictures from a digital camera into Adobe Lightroom simply dragged. It took so lengthy that, a number of occasions, I thought-about aborting the mission and hopping over to my MacBook. I ran AndroBench to substantiate that the storage was the problem, and the outcomes have been… not nice. To be clear, eMMC isn’t an enormous knock towards a Chromebook at this worth, however it’s a spec I’d steer clear of in case you’ll must do something with pictures or different duties that contain writing information to the drive.

The keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 seen from above. A mug sits to its left on the desk, two pens and a ruler to its right.

Nice for lighter masses, meh for extra.

Lastly, I believe that is my first Chromebook testing interval the place I haven’t run into any large hiccups with Chrome OS. The working system itself has been easy for some time, however I’ve run into every kind of points with Android apps (one of many OS’s large promoting factors) prior to now. No main issues right here, although: nothing crashed, nothing bricked the system, nothing randomly modified dimension, nothing disappeared throughout tablet-mode transitions. That’s a welcome aid.

Your expertise with Android apps on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 will differ extensively based mostly on the app. I usually used them to maintain distractions like Twitter separate from my browser the place I used to be working. Some fashionable providers, comparable to Podcast Addict and 1Weather, don’t have nice browser equivalents, so it’s helpful to have the ability to load these apps by Chrome OS. However on web, I discovered that the apps I used for stuff on daily basis — Slack, Messenger, Google Docs, Reddit, Twitter, Gmail — have been both equal to or worse than their browser counterparts. The Android interfaces have been usually slower to replace and nonetheless had some kinks to work out. (You may’t click on and drag to spotlight in Docs, for instance.) Slack additionally wouldn’t let me clear my standing icon and sometimes despatched me a number of pings for a similar message. And Fb Messenger often refused to attenuate, and in addition despatched me big dumps of notifications every morning from conversations I’d had on my telephone the earlier evening. In case you run into points with Android apps, you should use the online app variations, which largely work nice.

In evaluating the Chromebook 2 to the market, probably the most distinguished competitor that involves thoughts is Google’s Pixelbook Go. It gives related advantages (a pretty design, respectable battery life, a conveyable construct) with related caveats (no biometric authentication, no built-in stylus). However as of this writing, the $649 Pixelbook Go configuration comes with solely 64GB of storage and an older Core m3 chip. So whereas there are causes sure people would possibly choose Google’s system (it has a greater keyboard, it’s thinner and lighter), I believe the $699 Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the higher worth among the many two. For simply $50 extra, you get a greater processor, extra storage and RAM, a superb shade, a convertible construct, and a spectacular display.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 on a desk in front of a window, open with a mug and small plant on its left and some books on its right. The screen displays The Verge homepage.

A $549 Chromebook that appears like a thousand bucks.

A tougher comparability is the convertible Chromebook Spin 713. For $70 much less, you may get that system with a Core i5, an NVMe SSD, a greater port choice that features USB-A and HDMI, and a 3:2 display that’s additionally glorious. On the entire, Acer’s system nonetheless gives higher worth for the common particular person. That stated, there’s a sound purpose some folks could wish to splurge on the Galaxy: seems. The Spin 713, like plenty of Chromebooks which can be nice on the within, seems like one thing that you simply’d see on a center faculty laptop computer cart. Pared-down as it’s, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 remains to be a Samsung system: it asks a premium for {hardware} that’s stunning to have a look at and constructed to final.

Put the Galaxy Chromebook 2 subsequent to the Galaxy Chromebook, and the previous has clearly minimize some corners. But it surely’s minimize the fitting corners. In some methods, it’s the system I’d hoped the Galaxy Chromebook could be: stunning, daring, and completely useful as effectively. It’s exchanged a little bit of panache for lots of simplicity. It’s, as I stated in my hands-on, “a regular-ass Chromebook.” And I couldn’t be happier with it.

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