Almost two months after debuting at CES, Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 is out in stores now. Samsung tried to rein in the extravagance and the premium price tag from the original Galaxy Chromebook and instead gave us a mid-range Chromebook in a premium package in this second edition. While I think it might be the most visually striking Chromebook that we’ll see in 2021, I’m not entirely sure you should rush out to buy it on day one, and today’s reviews seem to agree with my initial assessment.
MrMobile, our colleague Michael Fisher, reviewed the Galaxy Chromebook 2 after almost two weeks of use. While he enjoyed much of what it had to offer, Samsung didn’t keep enough of its premium features to justify its premium price tag, especially when there are plenty of great Chromebooks out there with the same or better features for significantly less. Even with the preorder bonus and early incentives the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s price seems high to him — and to me, especially when the original Galaxy Chromebook is available for $800 with its 4K screen and i5 processor.
One small problem that both MrMobile and Engadget ran into on their review units was double-spaces on the keyboard when typing. It’s a bit early to know if this is a known problem or just a problem with a few review units, but it happened frequently enough that I thought it worth mentioning. Their review also stated that while battery life was improved over the original, the 6-7 hours they averaged in real-world use is still on the low end for a Chromebook.
In The Verge’s review, they instead chose to focus on overcoming last year’s hurdles in battery life and how the swap from SSD to eMMC storage impacted performance. They also agreed that you should skip the base Celeron model unless it’s just a leisure device:
Despite the appealing price, a Celeron with 4GB of RAM is quite an entry-level system, and I generally wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who needs their device to do school or office work. However, I now think there’s one compelling use case for the Celeron model: a Netflix machine. If you don’t plan on using the Galaxy Chromebook 2 as a primary driver but want to take advantage of the QLED screen for entertainment, you can probably get away with the $549 price. (Everyone else should probably spring for the Core i3.)
CNET focused on the screen — and to be fair, the screen here looks quite nice and it’s the first Chromebook with a QLED panel — and the change from Samsung’s S Pen to USI stylus support. Considering Samsung isn’t making a USI stylus, this forces users to look for a good third-party stylus, which at least lets you find a good stylus without paying the Samsung tax the way you would for an S Pen.
One thing all reviews agreed on: you’re definitely paying a premium for the Galaxy Chromebook 2, and if you’re okay paying more for a better-looking laptop, then this indeed might be the laptop for you. For most Chromebook owners, though, prices this high need to be better justified or lowered through sales, which I expect to happen for the Galaxy Chromebook 2 later this summer or closer to Black Friday.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Mid-range components in a premium package
Samsung’s latest Chromebook offers up performance while keeping costs down by ditching the built-in pen and the 4K screen. While the Celeron version might be a bit underpowered, the Core i3 model could be quite nice for those seeking a flashy Chromebook without a 4-figure price tag.
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