Quick review: Samsung Chromebook 2 (11.6-inch, Intel Celeron)

The Pros:

The Samsung Chromebook 2 with Intel Celeron offers sturdier build than your normal Chromebook with great performance with over 7 hours of battery life, a responsive touchpad and an agreeable console given the 11.6-inch estimate. Live video support is incorporated fueled by Google Helpouts.

The Cons:

The display quality isn’t very good even for a cheap tablet. Memory is settled at 2GB.

Conclusion:

Samsung keeps the decent looking plan of its past 11.6-inch Chromebook 2 while making it somewhat more tough and puts live support help only a tick away, making it an worthy refresh to Samsung’s Chrome-processing lineup.


 

The processor is joined by Intel HD graphics, 2GB of memory, 16GB of internal storage and 802.11AC wireless and Bluetooth 4.0, making it all in all a pretty typical Chromebook.

Six screws stand between you and opening up the bottom of this thing, but after doing it ourselves, there really isn’t a reason to go digging around in there. That’s disappointing because although I didn’t expect to be able to put in additional storage, I was hoping to add more RAM.
The one positive is that should its battery stop holding its charge as well, you could potentially service it yourself. (That’s the battery being held up in the picture above.)

As is the case with every Chromebook we’ve tested, the system boots in a matter of seconds, and the combo is powerful enough to efficiently run Chrome and Web apps. Streaming HD video from Hulu Plus or listening to Spotify or Google Play Music while working in other tabs didn’t pose any problems, and even under heavy load it stays quiet because of its fanless design.

Opening up dozens of tabs is an urge you’ll want to fight as it will slow things down. But for things like simple photo editing using Pixlr Touch Up or Polarr or a quick game of Cut the Rope, it has enough pop.

Samsung claims this Chromebook 2 is capable of up to 9 hours of battery life based on results from Google’s power-testing procedures. Using our continuous wireless video-streaming test with sound and screen brightness set to 50 percent, we hit 7 hours and 6 minutes. These times will change according to what you’re using it for, but regularly reaching 7 to 8 hours of use should be no problem.

There is one last thing that makes this Chromebook 2 stand out from the crowd, and that’s the live video chat support Samsung includes with this model.

Powered by Google Helpouts, Samsung Support can be contacted through the Chromebook Help menu installed on the laptop. Samsung says the support team is ready to answer questions about the hardware and Chrome OS basic usability and features, but any technical troubleshooting will be redirected to Google. That matches what we experienced with the support call we made.

Ever since Chromebooks launched I’ve read comment after comment saying they’d be great for less tech-savvy family and friends and what a relief it would be to no longer need to be “IT support.” That’s true to a point.
For instance, since it’s running on Google’s browser-based Chrome OS, you can’t install software. While that means there’s less risk of picking up a virus, it also means you’re still explaining that he or she can’t install iTunes or use a USB-connected printer. It is with those things or potential hardware questions that the Samsung support might come in handy. Though it might not be a huge benefit, it is a benefit.

The service, which is currently in beta, is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. The support is for the life of the product, but right now that only means the Intel-based Chromebook 2. Samsung is planning to roll out service to other device, but a schedule has not been determined yet.


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