Chromebook 2 evaluate (eleven-inch, late 2014): Samsung’s entry-degree laptop computer returns with longer battery life
Simply what the world wanted, proper? One other Chromebook. And but, right here I’m, reviewing my sixth one in about as many months. Nonetheless, there is a purpose I am testing Samsung’s latest mannequin, the eleven-inch Chromebook 2. It is as a result of it replaces what for the longest time was our favourite Chromebook — the one Samsung launched all the best way again in 2012. This re-creation prices the identical, at $250, nevertheless it’s purportedly higher in virtually each method: The battery life is longer; the design is nicer; and the efficiency ought to be stronger, because of a brand new Intel Celeron processor. As we all know, although, two years is a very long time, and certainly, Samsung now has far more competitors than it used to. For $250, you might get Sammy’s new entry-degree Chromebook, or you possibly can additionally go together with fashions from Acer, ASUS and HP, simply to call a couple of. Is Samsung’s nonetheless the perfect in any case these years?
Chromebook 2 (eleven-inch, late 2014)
- Trendy design, comparatively skinny and lightweight
- Snug keyboard and trackpad
- Respectable battery life
- Quick 802.11ac WiFi
- Lack of a full-sized SD card reader shall be a disappointment to some buyers
- Show provides restricted viewing angles
- Different Chromebooks supply twice as a lot RAM
Samsung’s entry-degree Chromebook is not good, what with its washed-out show, restricted RAM and lack of a full-sized SD slot. Regardless of these shortcomings, although, it is nonetheless a strong selection, because of its premium design, snug keyboard and lengthy battery life. So, whereas consumers have loads of good choices at this worth, you’ll be able to’t go mistaken with what Samsung has to supply.
This is perhaps Samsung’s lowest-finish Chromebook, however you would not realize it from taking a look at it. The unit we’ve got right here has the identical design because the greater-finish eleven- and thirteen-inch fashions, full with a silver, fake-leather-based lid and faux “stitches” alongside the perimeter to make it look extra like the actual factor. The reality is, you’d by no means truly mistake this for actual leather-based, however it’s nonetheless an efficient design selection: Though the lid is basically simply plastic, it appears much more premium than your typical plain-Jane Chromebook.
Make no mistake, although: I do not advocate Samsung’s Chromebooks purely for aesthetic causes. I additionally actually respect the corporate’s strategy to keyboards. Contemplating this can be a comparatively skinny, zero.sixty six-inch-thick machine, its keys are literally comparatively comfortable. Ditto for the thirteen-inch model; that mannequin has springy buttons too. In any case, that is nice information for anybody who expects to spend so much of time in Gmail and Google Drive, and it is undoubtedly one thing you will need to remember as you are comparability buying: Most different Chromebooks I’ve examined have flatter, shallower keys. As a bonus, the touchpad additionally works easily — no points in any respect with single-finger monitoring.
The show can also be good sufficient, although hardly noteworthy. Whereas the thirteen-inch mannequin has a full HD, 1080p display, the eleven-incher I am reviewing right here tops out at 1,366 x 768. That is normal decision for a laptop computer this measurement and worth; I would not have anticipated any higher. The standard can also be common — a 200-nit, matte-end panel that does a great job reflecting glare, however does not present particularly broad viewing angles. All in all, then, a reasonably mediocre show, however it’s value noting that this is identical display used on Samsung’s different eleven-inch Chromebook, which presently sells for $50 extra. So, when you’re wanting on the two variants on the corporate’s web site and are not positive which to select, that is one thing to remember: For $300, you are getting the identical actual viewing expertise that you’d for $250.
Taking a tour of the remainder of the machine, you will discover that the port choice matches what you will get on competing Chromebooks — principally, anyway. On board, we now have two USB ports (one three.zero, one 2.zero), an HDMI socket and a mixture headphone/mic jack. The one distinction is that Samsung nonetheless makes use of a microSD slot to reinforce the 16GB of constructed-in storage — not a full-sized one. In the event you simply intend to load up your card with music and movies after which maintain it within the machine, it does not matter a lot what the format is. However, in the event you occur to shoot pictures with a standalone digital camera, you may be disillusioned by the truth that you’ll be able to’t simply take away your full-sized SD card and stick it contained in the laptop computer. Lastly, in the event you flip the pocket book over, you will discover a pair of two-watt audio system on the underside aspect, which produce fairly loud sound. I imply, let’s be clear, if you’d like actually good audio, you need to take a look at the Toshiba Chromebook 2 as an alternative. However the sound high quality right here continues to be ok for streaming Spotify when you work.Efficiency and battery life
For probably the most half, the phrases “Intel” and “Chromebook” are synonymous: Virtually each mannequin we have examined makes use of an Intel processor. In lots of instances, it is the identical actual Intel processor, which makes evaluating Chromebook efficiency a difficult and typically boring course of. Samsung’s totally different, although. Excluding its very first mannequin, which got here out three years in the past, the corporate has principally been utilizing its personal ARM-based mostly chips — and nonetheless does, on its greater-finish machines. With its newest mannequin, nevertheless, even Sammy is leaping aboard the Intel bandwagon: The brand new Chromebook 2 includes a Celeron N2840 chip, the identical one used within the Toshiba Chromebook 2. Like lots of its rivals, it makes do with 2GB of RAM, although it is value noting that Samsung’s larger-finish eleven-inch Chromebook 2 has 4GB of reminiscence.
All of which is to say, the brand new Samsung Chromebook 2 is zippy sufficient for primary use: issues like e-mail, net browsing and Netflix streaming. As with competing fashions, boot-up takes lower than 10 seconds, and a brand new 802.11ac radio (versus the older 802.11n normal) ensures a quick, dependable WiFi connection. And even after hours of Netflix streaming, it nonetheless stayed cool sufficient that I might comfortably relaxation it on my lap. That stated, the truth that this has the identical or an identical processor as another machines means it additionally runs into a number of the similar efficiency pitfalls. When utilizing Spotify’s net participant, as an example, I greater than as soon as observed the audio minimize out briefly once I opened a brand new tab, and even switched tabs. The final time I skilled that? Once I was testing the Toshiba Chromebook 2, one other machine that makes use of Intel’s N2840 chip.
In response to Samsung, the Chromebook 2’s two-cell, 30Wh battery can last as long as 9 hours on a cost. That is a slight enchancment over the upper-finish, $300 mannequin, which additionally has a 30Wh, four,080mAh battery. In any case, my mileage different fairly a bit relying on my actual utilization, as I anticipate it’s going to for you too. In our normal video-looping check, I acquired seven hours of full HD playback, placing it on par with different machines that use the identical processor, just like the Toshiba Chromebook 2. Once I ran the check once more, although, this time with a decrease-res normal-def video, the battery life climbed to 9 hours and forty eight minutes. Once more, your mileage will differ, however I feel it is protected to say that battery life right here is nearly as good if not barely higher than most different eleven-inch Chromebooks. Nicely, with one main exception, anyway.Software program
On the one hand, I do not really feel like I want to elucidate to you ways Chrome OS works — it is principally simply the Chrome browser with an app launcher and a stripped-down “desktop,” for lack of a greater phrase. However, my conversations with readers and even my circle of relatives recommend that lots of people nonetheless have misconceptions about how Chromebooks work. Specifically, the concept you must be on-line on a regular basis to make use of them. Now it is true, when the primary Chrome OS units got here out three years in the past, you probably did certainly want an web connection for them to be remotely helpful. However over time, Google has made increasingly more of its providers usable offline, together with Gmail, Drive and, as of some months in the past, Play Films & TV. There’s additionally an space of the Chrome Net Retailer only for offline-succesful apps, so there should not be any confusion as to what requires an web connection and what does not. In addition to that, the one different factor you have to know is that each Chromebook (not simply this one), comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage, free for 2 years. Fairly normal stuff.Configuration choices
Earlier than I begin evaluating the brand new Chromebook 2 to every part else available on the market, it is value breaking down the way it compares to the opposite two Chromebooks in Samsung’s lineup. I think you are not cross-purchasing this with the thirteen-inch mannequin, which is clearly bigger, and can also be significantly costlier ($350, versus $250 for the model I am reviewing at present). That stated, you is perhaps contemplating Samsung’s different eleven-inch Chromebook 2, which begins at $300 and has the identical 1,366 x 768 display, fake-leather-based lid and a couple of.sixty five-pound chassis. The one actual distinction is that the $300 mannequin has a Samsung-made, eight-core chip inside and 4GB of RAM, versus a twin-core Intel N2840 processor and 2GB of reminiscence within the $250 model.
The message Samsung appears to be sending is that the efficiency on the upper-finish mannequin is robust sufficient that it is value 50 dollars over the entry-degree one. I am doubtful of that. The extra I exploit Chromebooks, the extra I am satisfied that efficiency throughout the board is usually ok — I’ve but to seek out one which’s unusable. What’s extra, even whenever you do squeeze in a extra highly effective processor — like this Core i3 chip, for instance — the efficiency good points are modest at greatest, and typically come on the expense of battery life. When you’re gonna go Samsung, I might both purchase this, or spring for the thirteen-inch mannequin with the 1080p display.The competitors
Not that you must persist with Samsung. Virtually each main PC maker has at the very least one eleven-inch Chromebook on the market, lots of them in the identical worth vary. ASUS’ C200 additionally prices $250, and comes with 16GB of native storage. As I alluded to earlier, it is a battery life champ: It may possibly play again greater than eleven hours of ordinary-def video, whereas different machines wrestle to crack 9. It is also barely lighter than the Samsung Chromebook 2, at 2.5 kilos. Nonetheless, that lengthy battery life is offset by sluggish efficiency, together with longer-than-ordinary boot-up and signal-out occasions, in addition to on a regular basis hiccups, together with delays when deleting messages in Gmail or loading new tweets on Twitter.com. Once more, although, I’ve but to return throughout a Chromebook that is downright unusable. This one’s usable; it is simply slower than a number of the others.
In an analogous vein, HP’s Chromebook eleven has acquired a worth reduce, and is now round $250 at Amazon. In the meantime, Acer has one thing even cheaper: the eleven-inch C720 Chromebook, which begins at $200. For the cash, the design is plainer than the Samsung Chromebook 2 and the battery life is shorter. I am additionally much less of a fan of its keyboard, which is flatter as compared. All advised, it is a whole lot for the cash, however I can see why you’d spend an additional $50 for longer battery life and a comfier keyboard.
There are different decisions too, however they’re costlier. Dell’s Chromebook eleven, as an example, nonetheless begins at $300. Lenovo’s N20p begins at $330, principally as a result of it has a touchscreen that bends partially again into totally different viewing modes. Lastly wrapping up, a few of it would be best to have a look throughout the aisle at what Home windows machines have to supply. The HP Stream eleven, for example, is a $200 laptop computer operating full Home windows eight.1 with a cushty keyboard, eight-hour battery and surprisingly good audio. The efficiency trails Chromebooks a bit, particularly on boot-up occasions, nevertheless it could possibly be a good commerce-off for individuals who need the choice of operating conventional desktop apps. On that notice, you may also just like the $199 ASUS EeeBook X205 and the $200 Acer Aspire ES1, although we admittedly have not had an opportunity to check these, so we will not vouch for issues like efficiency, battery life and keyboard high quality.Wrap-up
I would not say the brand new Samsung Chromebook 2 is the perfect Chrome OS system you should purchase, however that is principally as a result of it is simply certainly one of a number of good choices at this worth. Particularly, it has a extra premium design than its rivals, together with a cushty keyboard and trackpad, comparatively lengthy battery life and quick 802.11ac WiFi — one thing you will not discover on some older fashions which are nonetheless being bought. Then again, it is one of many solely Chromebooks I do know of that does not have a full-sized SD card slot, and it has a few of the similar efficiency hiccups as different Celeron-based mostly laptops I’ve examined. All in all then, it is totally on par with different eleven-inch Chromebooks, which is to say it is imperfect, however nonetheless a superb deal.
Tags: chromebook 2, chromebook2, Intel, evaluation, samsung, samsung chromebook 2, samsungchromebook2, uk-critiques
- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/samsung/chromebook/2-thirteen-inch/” title=”Samsung Chromebook 2 thirteen-inch critiques” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations • 1 </a>
- Sort Ultraportable
- Display measurement thirteen.three inches
- Processor velocity 2.1 GHz
- System RAM four GB
- Most battery life As much as eight.5 hours
- Dimensions zero.sixty five x 12.seventy two x eight.eight in
- Weight three.09 lb
- Launched 2014-04