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Samsung's $1000 Galaxy Chromebook will likely have thermal issues, just like the Pixelbook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Samsung's new Galaxy Chromebook looks stunning and has specs that are just as amazing. This is expected, seeing as it starts at $999. But it's also going to suffer the same way the Pixelbook — another $1,000 Chromebook — does because it's thin and light and that means there is no way to keep that high-performance Intel CPU cool if you get into something that makes things hot and heavy.

I'm not going to tell anyone that it isn't worth the asking price. If the display were 3:2 instead of 16:9 I'd really, really want one of my own. Premium is more than a buzzword when you use it to describe something you use every day and anyone who spends all day in front of a computer knows the value of a great display, keyboard, and trackpad. I'm just disappointed in the same way I am with most other highest-end Chromebooks by the lack of any thermal solution that's worth a darn.

Acer Chromebook Spin 13

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central The Spin 13 is the fastest Chromebook I've ever used and can compile code forever because it has a fan and heatsink. (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Notice I said most highest-end Chromebooks. I tried Acer's Chromebook Spin 13 (opens in new tab) for a bit and it was easily the fastest and hardest working Chromebook I've ever used, and that's because it did have a thermal solution by the way of a heatsink and dead silent fan.

If you're going to spend the money and get a Chromebook with an Intel i5 or i7 you probably are the type of user who will want to use it for more than web browsing or typing in Google Sheets. And with the advent of Linux applications for Chrome, you can. You'll find plenty of programs that actually use that sort of power and media creation and editing are things that you can do if you want to use Linux apps.

Pixelbook Go

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I use Linux apps on the Pixelbook Go. And in a pinch, I can use programs like GIMP (a bonafide Photoshop replacement) or Pitivi for video editing or Audacity for audio creation and editing. But if I go too far with any of these apps and create something that takes a while to process and render, I wish I hadn't. I'm not a software developer, but long code compilations cause the same problem I'm told.

Millions of tiny circuits firing off creates a lot of heat. That heat has to be controlled somehow.

That problem is simply what to do about the heat. When you put a CPU under heavy load it gets hot. Like, burn-the-skin-off-your-fingerprint hot (don't ask 🔥). Once the processor and the heatsink reach a certain temperature, one of two things has to happen or the chip will fry: you turn on a fan to draw heat away or you throttle down the CPU so it has a chance to cool off.

Most people who want specs like this will be doing things that require a real thermal solution and not just a vent or two.

This is fine form almost everything you'll do on a Chromebook. The thing is that you don't need this type of CPU and high-speed NVME storage to do 90% of your daily tasks. In essence, you're paying for something that's only really useful for a few minutes at a time.

Again, I'm not saying the new Samsung Galaxy Chromebook isn't worth buying. It will allow you to open more tabs and apps plus offer better video playback on its gorgeous display. Like I mentioned at the top of this article, if it had a 3:2 display I would have a serious case of the wants for it. But you do need to realize that you might be paying for hardware that's not very practical. just like you would if you bought a Google Pixelbook.

But damn they look awfully good.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

8 Comments
  • Thank you for mentioning the 3:2 ratio Jerry. When I saw Andrew's review I was surprised that was just glossed over, yet describing the screen as amazing. I'm with you - 3:2 and I'd be reaching for my wallet with one hand while the other hand holds it back.
  • "I'd be reaching for my wallet with one hand while the other hand holds it back." Lol I love it, that's pretty much sums it up for me as well but for a ton of tech devices... lol
  • I guess it really does depend on how you work. I don't do much local compilation, just Ruby, Python and shell scripts mostly, with some Terraform and/or Packer stuff going on as well, and the rest is happening in a tmux with ssh or mosh sessions to other machines that are doing the real work.
  • "Hey let's make this overpowered Chromebook and charge $1000 for it, also let's make sure you can't actually use all that power" - Samsung
  • let's just forget about the 4k AMOLED screen the fingerprint scanner, battery life, the hardware build quality and then Yeah you have a point.
  • You're not just paying that price for a CPU it's also the 4K AMOLED screen and the rest of the top of the line hardware specs and battery life If this were a window's or Mac this hardware would run you between $1500 to $2000.
  • That always confuses me. With the exception of the Apple tax, a Windows legit license is can be had for under $10 on ebay. The components used (with the exception of the keyboards) probably aren't specific for Chrome OS so there should be drivers out there somewhere. The BIOS or UEFI would probably be the only thing preventing these devices from booting Windows or even a Hackintosh so why are comparable Windows devices cost so much more??
  • DO NOT PURCHASE A CHROMEBOOK!!! This operating system is for someone who ONLY surfs the web, reads an email or to; or likes to play games. It is not for a college student or any student for that matter. It is not good for writing papers or reports. It does not interface with MS Office well and while CHEAP in every way, is not worth the mental anguish you will forfeit over the few hundreds you will spend. Best Buy sells these but should educated the sales staff on it’s pluses and deficits prior to selling the item. Whoever invented this system should really go back to school - and be fired from ever enventing an operating system again. What a waste of money and my time which takes twice as long to do anything of a serious nature. Shame on you and any manufacturer (such as HP) who aligns themselves with this developer.