Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a decent budget-friendly device

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Samsung's new Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a decent budget device for casual users.
Image: Samsung

Chromebooks have certainly developed a reputation over the years. They are often controversial in the PC world due to the fact that they tend to perform below expectations but are attractive to consumers who are shopping on a budget.

Even so, some companies have tried to roll out more expensive Chromebooks that offer advanced features. Samsung is one of them. It introduced the Galaxy Chromebook last year. Though it came with flashy features like a built-in S Pen and an OLED screen, the device largely flopped because of its $999 price tag.

Now, Samsung is trying again with the Galaxy Chromebook 2. The company announced the laptop on Monday with a press release.

It’s clear that Samsung is positioning its newest Chromebook as a budget-friendly device rather than a luxury one. That being said, it appears that the new laptop is a decent choice for those that need basic features and a device to get online.

Basic Specs

As should be expected from a Chromebook, the basic specs are good—not great. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes with an Intel Celeron 5205U processor in its base build, which retails for $549. There is also a more expensive model which sports an Intel Core i3 10110U chip for $699.

The lower-end Chromebook comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space while the more expensive one has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space.

For anyone that uses their computer beyond the basics, those specs simply aren’t going to cut it. In fact, many of today’s flagship smartphones easily top them.

Of course, the Chrome OS device isn’t designed for power users. It is made for tasks like checking email, word processing, and streaming shows and movies. In those areas, the hardware is good enough to get the job done. Those who can afford it should probably opt for the i3 model regardless of their intended use since the Celeron processor is simply not good enough in today’s world.

Meanwhile, the laptop comes with a basic array of ports, including two USB-C ports (which are also used for charging), a microSD slot, and a 3.5 headphone jack. Given the device’s size, it would have been nice to see at least one or two additional USB connections or an HDMI port.

The computer itself is 0.55 inches thick and weighs 2.71 pounds. It isn’t the lightest notebook on the market, but it also isn’t the heaviest. It provides a good balance for those who might want to take it on-the-go. The chassis itself is made of aluminum and feels sturdy at every angle. Users will enjoy its sleek design, which isn’t common among other Chromebook models.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes in two colors. One is a bold reddish-orange hue dubbed “fiesta red” while the other is a more subdued “mercury gray.”

Improved Battery Life

One of the biggest issues with the original Galaxy Chromebook was its abhorrent battery life. The device lasted no more than five hours, which is unacceptable by today’s standards.

Samsung has corrected this issue nicely with the Galaxy Chromebook 2. The new device features a 45.5Wh battery which the company claims lasts “all-day.” In reality, that probably means it lasts for seven or eight hours, perhaps less when streaming video.

Once again, this isn’t a device that’s meant to be your 24/7 companion. That negates the need for a true all-day battery and makes the increased longevity of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 and attractive feature.

Generation Changes

Aside from its improved battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 features a number of other changes from its predecessor. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t upgrades. In order to make the device’s price more competitive, Samsung had to cut several corners.

That means the new laptop looks a lot different than the original model. For one, it no longer boasts an OLED display. Samsung instead opted to equip it with a 13.3-inch QLED panel. It’s worth noting that this is the first Chromebook to feature a QLED screen.

Despite not being an OLED device, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 looks stunning and has rich, vibrant colors and deep blacks. It is perfect for streaming Netflix or looking at photos.

Another thing missing is the S Pen stylus. That was a nice addition with the original Galaxy Chromebook that helped give it the trademark Galaxy feel. Without the it, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 feels more like a regular budget laptop. It’s worth noting that the device is still compatible with USI pens.

The biggest change between this device and its predecessor, as noted, is its drastically reduced price. At $549, the absence of several high-end features is less painful. It also helps put the Galaxy Chromebook 2 in a more realistic price zone for consumers. The original device’s price simply made it a laughable choice. Samsung’s latest model is at least worth consideration.

Decent Value

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it a necessity for almost everyone to have a dedicated computer at their disposal. Obviously, affording one can be a challenge. Although Chromebooks certainly have their flaws, they do make good budget devices for users that only need the ability to get online and perform basic tasks. The simplicity of Chrome OS is also an attractive feature for those new to computing.

As far as Chromebooks go, there are much worse options than the Galaxy Chromebook 2. Its sleek design, stunning display, and improved battery life make it a decent choice. Though, potential buyers will want to keep in mind that they’re getting what they pay for.

Those who even think that they may need more performance should look elsewhere. There are plenty of devices that come at the same price point which offer better specs—albeit with less attractive designs.

So, if you’re in the market for a new budget-friendly device, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is certainly worth a look.

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