Samsung Galaxy ChromebookSource: Samsung

What you need to know

  • Samsung is kicking off CES's Chromebook showcase with the Galaxy Chromebook 2.
  • It swaps a 4K screen for 1080p and offers two distinct spec configurations, one with an Intel i3 and one with a Celeron.
  • The Active Pen is no longer included or garaged in the chassis; you'll have to buy it separately if you want it.
  • The Celeron/4GB/64GB model will cost $550 and the i3/8GB/128GB will run $700.
  • The battery is a little smaller than the original Galaxy Chromebook, but with the lightly lower specs, it should last a full workday before needing a charger.

CES 2021 may not officially start until Monday, but that isn't stopping Samsung from jumpstarting things with the announcement of a follow-up to last year's Galaxy Chromebook. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook was bold and cutting-edge, but it was $1000, so while it turned heads at CES 2020 and earned a spot in Best Chromebooks, it didn't sell that well, much like the $1000 Galaxy S20. Just as Samsung found great success with a refined and lower-priced Galaxy S20 FE, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 could find very similar success by shedding a few of its ritzier features and hundreds off of its price tag.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is still a 13.3-inch 2-in-1 touchscreen ultrabook, but that touchscreen is FHD rather than 4K, and rather than coming with an active stylus that slotted into the side of the laptop, the stylus will sold separately. Rather than the 10th-Gen i5 processor, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 will have two processor options: the Intel Celeron 5205U or the 10th Gen Intel Core i3-10110U, both of which are fanless processors. These processors might not be as beefy as the i5, but I'm willing to bet they'll run just as warm during longer sessions, so we'll have to watch out for that whenever this Chromebook is ready for review.

Samsung Galaxy ChromebookSource: Samsung

Category Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Display 13.3" QLED FHD
Processor Intel Core i3-10110U
Intel Celeron 5205U
Memory 4-8GB
Storage 64-128GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5
Ports 2x USB-C
microSD card slot
Battery 45.5Wh
Features Backlit keyboard
Active Pen support
Weight 2.71 lbs
Dimensions 12" x 8" x 0.55"
Price $550 (Celeron)
$700 (Core i3)

I'll come right out and say that the $550 Celeron model probably won't justify its price, especially alongside i3 Chromebooks like the $400 Lenovo Flex 5, which also has a 1080p 13.3-inch touchscreen, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and even a backlit keyboard and USI stylus support. The $700 i3 model, on the other hand, could be compelling depending on exactly how good that screen looks — we know it's FHD but not how bright or color-accurate it will be — as well as seeing if the battery holds up better than the original Galaxy Chromebook.

Yes, the i3 model is expensive for its core specs, but Samsung brings a striking design, astoundingly thin profile, and outstanding build quality to its laptops just as it does to its phones. There are still precious few Chromebooks that are eye-catching and focus on beauty as much as functionality, and the Galaxy Chromebook is at the front of the pack. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 will be available in that same Fiesta Red and it's going to be one of the most attractive Chromebooks on the market, so I'm hopeful that the $700 starting price point will help it sell in greater numbers once it debuts later this spring.

4K beauty

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

If you can't wait for the new version to arrive, the original Galaxy Chromebook is still around and is still the best 4K Chromebook you can buy. It'll get hot during long sessions, but it's slim, sleek, and quite capable.

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