Samsung Chromebook 2 review

Samsung's revamped Chromebook 2 is a comeback winner

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You're looking at one of the thinnest Chromebooks yet, measuring in at 11.40 x 8.60 x 0.66 inches. The Acer C720 comes somewhat close with a laptop body measuring 11.34 x 8.03 x 0.75 inches. Meanwhile the Dell Chromebook 11 is the thickest of the bunch at 11.6 x 7.9 x 0.97 inches.

Most 11.6-inch Chromebooks hover around 3 pounds, including the 2.8 pound Acer C720 and 2.9 pound Dell Chromebook 11. However, the Samsung Chromebook 2 wins in this lightweight title match, weighing in at a scant 2.65 pounds.

Spec sheet

Here is the Samsung Chromebook 2 11 configuration given to TechRadar:

  • CPU: 2.58GHz Intel Celeron Processor N2840 (dual core, 1MB Cache, up to 2.58GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3L (1333MHz)
  • Screen: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768
  • Storage: 16GB SSD
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, microSD slot, headphone/mic jack
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p HD webcam
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds
  • Size: 11.40 x 8.60 x 0.66 inches (W x D x H)

Samsung Chromeback 2 review

At $249 (about £154, AU$282), this is one mighty affordable laptop even with most Chromebooks already coming at a nice bargain. By comparison, the Dell Chromebook 11 runs $279 (about £173, AU$317) and the Acer C720 has the lowest asking price of $199 (about £124, AU$227).

These specifications should look awfully familiar if you're comparing this machine with other Chrome OS-based options. Like the Dell Chromebook 11 and Acer C720, the Chromebook 2 comes with a very similar 11.6-inch and 1366 x 768 resolution screen, 16GB SSD and 2GB of RAM.

Despite these similarities, the new 2.58 GHz Intel Celeron N2840 processor is the real show stopper for the new Chromebook 2. Not only does it replace Samsung's mobile Exynos chip, it's also Intel's fanless Bay Trail design.

Most other Chromebooks, including the Acer C720 and Dell Chromebook 11, have used the 1.4GHz Celeron 2955U processor from Intel's Haswell family. The Bay Trail chip runs a bit cooler without any bothersome fan whine, but it also sacrifices some performance making it the slower chip.

Samsung Chromeback 2 review

The oddest stuttering problem

Speaking of slowness, I experienced some noticeable lag in Chrome. Oddly enough this stuttering occurred when trying type a website or search query into the address bar. The Intel chip also sometimes chugged as scrolled through Google Drive document, especially with any documents containing tables or graphs at all.

Otherwise, the Chromebook 2 had no trouble loading up 25 browser tabs while listening to tunes over Google music. The Bay Trail chip also had no lagging issues when playing 1080p video on YouTube.

Samsung Chromeback 2 review

Not a picture perfect screen

So far, another fault of Chromebooks is they all almost universally have terribly washed out displays, save for a few outliers like the Chromebook Pixel. The Chromebook 2 manages buck this trend as well – but not entirely – with a bright display that manages to be good but not great.

Colors are never truly vibrant, especially considering Samsung's penchant for oversaturated AMOLED panels. However, the Chomebook 2 still manages to display accurate colors. What's more, you can actually see blacks as they were meant to be seen rather than gray blotches.

Samsung Chromeback 2 review

Battery life that goes on and on and on and…

The Samsung Chromebook 2 has very good battery life, though we've seen longer. While writing the majority of this review, watching a two hour movie and streaming Google Music the whole time, the Chromebook 2's battery lasted for 7 hours and 32 minutes. That's more than generous enough to get you a full day's worth of cloud computing while leaving the power plug at home.

Still, this not the best better battery life we've seen. That honor still belongs to the Acer C720, which bested the Chromebook 2 with an absurd eight hours and 30 minutes of run time. The Dell Chromebook 11 also had an exceedingly long eight hours and 22 minutes of battery life. It seems the Haswell chip wins again if by only an extremely slim margin.