A laptop with a premium price that doesn't offer a premium experience
When it comes to making Chromebooks, Samsung was there from the very beginning. Following in the Google CR-48's footsteps, Samsung entered the market in mid-2011 with the first Chromebook from a third-party manufacturer, the Series 5. This 12-inch laptop weighed over three pounds, had a woefully under-powered Atom processor and cost far too much for anyone's consideration at the time. Samsung kept at it, following up with a revamped Series 5 and all-new ARM-powered Series 3 a few months apart in 2012, making clearer value propositions as Google's Chrome OS came into its own. And that was it, Samsung didn't make another Chromebook again for well over a year.
Coming out of nowhere, really, Samsung announced two brand new Chromebook models — simply dubbed "Samsung Chromebook 2" — in February of this year. The laptops are nearly identical to one another but come in 11-inch and 13-inch (which we have here) varieties, showing no physical similarities to past Samsung Chromebooks, instead borrowing design elements from its recent Windows laptops and the faux leather from the Galaxy Note 3. They sport higher-resolution screens, large trackpads and all-new Exynos octa-core ARM processors under the hood.
Those changes also bring bumped up prices, too, with the 13-inch model coming in at $399 — a price that tops all available Chromebooks aside from the Pixel. Samsung's definitely going at the "premium" Chromebook market in a real way this time around, but can it succeed with its first device in well over a year? We dive into that question with our full review of the Samsung Chromebook 2 (13-inch).