Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 Review

A stylish Chromebook with snappy performance

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4.6

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

What We Like
  • Excellent build quality

  • 2-in-1 functionality

  • Great keyboard

  • Snappy overall performance

What We Don't Like
  • Kind of expensive for a Chromebook

  • Limitations of ChromeOS

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is one of the better ChromeOS devices on the market. Though it comes with the drawbacks of this limited operating system, it is nonetheless capable, well-rounded, and premium.

4.6

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

We purchased the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.

Chromebooks can be a way to get the performance in day-to-day productivity applications normally associated with more expensive laptops. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is one of the upper tiers of such ChromeOS devices, and though it’s hardly cheap, it could potentially offer something of a bargain. The question is, does it offer good value for the money, or is this too much to pay for a Chromebook?

Design: Thin but durable

Thin and light are the key operating phrases with which to describe the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. It only weighs 2.71 pounds and is a mere 13.9mm thick when folded. It’s an eminently portable device that possesses a particularly premium aesthetic that puts one in mind of a Macbook Air, though the Galaxy Chromebook 2 may set itself apart from the Apple aesthetic if one were to opt for the bright red version.

The silver variant I tested has a particularly premium and businesslike quality that gives the impression of a device that exceeds the humble reputation carried by all ChromeOS devices.

Thin and light are the key operating phrases with which to describe the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2.

For its small size, Galaxy Chromebook 2 includes a surprisingly spacious, backlit, and ergonomic keyboard that provides one of the more enjoyable typing experiences that I’ve encountered in a Chromebook. This review was written using it for the simple reason that I enjoyed using it.

The trackpad is quite spacious as well and is not at all objectionable to use. You also have the advantage of a touchscreen as a further input option, and as a 2-in-1 with a flip-around screen, it’s a capable tablet. The hinge mechanism is quite solid with barely any wobble, and all around I found the Galaxy Chromebook 2 to be quite solid and robust.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Port selection is as limited as you’d expect in such a low-profile device. You get a MicroSD card slot, a headphone jack, and two USB-C ports which double as the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s power input.

Setup Process: Very easy

As with any ChromeOS device, setting up the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a breeze. Essentially all you have to do is sign in and it’s ready to go. Google will even automatically copy over settings and install apps from your Android-powered phone.

Display: Crisp and accurate

The 13.3-inch 1920x1080 QLED is crisp and clear with deep blacks and good resolution. It renders colors with remarkable accuracy and is great for editing photos or watching shows. It’s very bright and usable even outdoors in the sunshine.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Performance: Can handle most tasks

The Achilles heel of most ChromeOS devices is their lack of computing horsepower, but while the Galaxy Chromebook 2 isn’t up to really demanding tasks, it’s more powerful than a lot of Chromebooks I’ve used.

Its Intel Celeron CPU5205U and 4GB of RAM are more than enough to provide a snappy experience in the day-to-day productivity and media consumption that ChromeOS is typically used for. It achieved 535 frames in GFXBench, which isn’t bad at all for a Chromebook. 

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Onboard storage is a similar story—while 64GB is a very small amount of storage, it’s enough for a device that utilizes the internet for the most part, and it’s expandable via microSD.

Audio: Small laptop, big noise

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 produces way more noise than you’d expect from such a diminutive device. I use 2cellos cover of “Thunderstruck” to test speakers, and I found that the Galaxy Chromebook 2 delivered good highs and mids, though predictably it couldn’t quite reach down into the depths of the bass range.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 produces way more noise than you’d expect from such a diminutive device.

Greta Van Fleet’s “Broken Bells” sounded magnificent on this laptop as well, as did Guilhem Desq’s Hurdy Gurdy rock music. This good audio quality is partly due to the Smart Amp technology built into the laptop that detects and compensates for speaker excursion and temperature to counteract distortion.

Camera: Decent quality

There’s not much to say about the webcam on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 other than it gets the job done. It won’t win any awards for picture quality, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen, and its 720p footage will be adequate for most users to take Zoom meetings. 

Battery Life: Excellent and long-lasting

A benefit of Chroomebooks is that they tend to have fantastic battery life, and the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is no exception.

The 13 hours of claimed battery life is no exaggeration, and this isn’t a laptop you have to worry about running out of juice during the course of a workday.

The 13 hours of claimed battery life is no exaggeration, and this isn’t a laptop you have to worry about running out of juice during the course of a workday.

Software: The Ups and Downs of ChromeOS

ChromeOS isn’t the most robust and versatile software. It is inherently limited in its abilities, but it’s so lightweight and efficient that ChromeOS devices can outperform much more expensive traditional species in certain tasks. 

Connectivity: Powerful and modern

A device based on a glorified web browser certainly needs to be able to establish and maintain a strong internet connection. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 doesn’t have a problem with that due to it featuring Wi-Fi 6. I never experienced connectivity issues while using this device, and it features Bluetooth to provide a connection to headphones, wireless mice, and the like.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Price: ChromeOS at a premium price

The $580 MSRP of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a steep price to ask for a device limited by ChromeOS. However, in this case, I would say that though it’s expensive, it’s also quite an impressive little laptop that justifies its cost with the excellent build quality and generally well-rounded feature set.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook vs. Lenovo Chromebook C330

At almost half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a compelling alternative. It’s nowhere near as premium and luxurious as the Galaxy Chromebook 2, but the C330 gets the job done and does everything the Galaxy Chromebook 2 does, only at a slightly lower level of quality.

Final Verdict

An excellent, if somewhat pricey Chromebook.

Though it’s definitely on the steep side for a ChromeOS device, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is still a compelling option for a premium, lightweight laptop with amazing battery life. It’s perfect for getting work done on the go and is remarkably well-rounded.

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Specs

  • Product Name Galaxy Chromebook 2
  • Product Brand Samsung
  • UPC 887276534886
  • Price $549
  • Release Date February 2021
  • Weight 2.71 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 12 x 8 x 0.5 in.
  • Color Fiesta Red, Mercury Gray
  • Warranty 1 year
  • RAM 4GB
  • Storage 64GB
  • Display 13.3 inches, 1920 x 1080p QLED
  • Touchscreen Yes
  • Processor Intel Celeron CPU5205U
  • Battery Life 13 hours
  • Operating System ChromeOS
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