Samsung Chromebook Pro Review: The Chromebook Evolved

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The Samsung Chromebook Pro ($549.99) is a gadget constructed on firsts. It’s the primary Chromebook that has an embedded stylus and will run Android apps out of the field, and each options upload a ton of capability to Google’s light-weight working gadget. Throw in a skinny, top class construct and a bright, albeit oddly formed 12.Three-inch show, and you have got probably the most highest Chromebooks available on the market presently. Being first, after all, comes with some rising pains. Some Android apps we used from the still-in-beta Google Play Store merely did not paintings smartly. However, although you might be getting a Chromebook since you simply need Google’s browser-centric working gadget, the Chromebook Pro stands proud from the group.

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Design

The Chromebook Pro is swish however very minimalist. The aluminum chassis is not as extensive as you possibly can be expecting on maximum notebooks, and it took me awhile to get used to the form. The lid may be very undeniable, with rounded edges and no adornments, apart from for a monochromatic Chrome brand and Samsung branding.

Our overview unit was once a silver preproduction fashion, however the ultimate model can be black.

Lifting the lid published the 12.Three-inch, 3200 x 1800 contact display screen, which was once a little bit of a surprise. Rather than the typical 16:Nine width-to-height ratio show that almost all laptops use, the Chromebook Pro employs a three:2 ratio, which matches nice as a pill however is a little bit extraordinary for a pocket book.

You nonetheless get a complete island-style keyboard and a trackpad, however they are jammed right into a chassis with little or no room at the aspect. This is vital in an effort to accommodate the display screen’s form. I discovered that the Chromebook Pro felt way more herbal as a pill than as a pocket book, regardless that I controlled to get used to the design after a number of hours of use.

Samsung Chromebook Pro
Because the Chromebook Pro is a 2-in-1, it may be used as an ordinary pocket book, a pill (through folding the keyboard all the long ago), a show (with the keyboard face down and the show pointing ahead) or a tent (an upside-down “V”).

MORE: Best 2-in-1s (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)

At 2.four kilos and 11.1 x eight.7 x zero.6 inches, this hybrid is without doubt one of the thinnest and lightest Chromebooks we now have noticed up to now — such a lot in order that I forgot it was once in my messenger bag as I carried it round. The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is a tad larger, at 11.Nine x eight.Three x zero.6 inches and a pair of.6 kilos. Acer’s Chromebook R 13 is heavier (12.eight x eight.Nine x zero.6 inches, Three.2 kilos), nevertheless it has a bigger, 13.Three-inch show. 

Ports

Chromebooks depend so much at the cloud, so it isn’t a wonder that Samsung’s pc isn’t bursting with ports. A headphone jack, microSD card reader and a USB Type-C port are at the left, and the best aspect of the device has a unmarried USB-C port and a slot to carry the integrated stylus. Because the 2 USB Type-C ports are used for charging, you’ll use just one port when the pc is plugged in.

Samsung Chromebook Pro

Display

The 12.Three-inch, 2400 x 1600 panel is without doubt one of the maximum crisp and colourful I have noticed on a Chromebook. When I took to the internet to observe the prolonged, 1080p trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” I may just see all the blue veins bulging from Yondu’s face, and Gamora was once the very best coloration of inexperienced.

Samsung Chromebook Pro
The Chromebook Pro’s show reproduces 118 p.c of the sRGB colour gamut, surpassing the 99 p.c ultraportable reasonable, and the rankings of the Chromebook Flip (76 p.c) and R 13 (64 p.c).

Those colours are slightly, correct, too. The display screen registered a Delta-E ranking of one.zero (zero is perfect), which is best than showings through the Flip (1.6) and R 13 (1.1), and the typical (2.2).

At 376 nits, the Chromebook Pro’s show is way more luminous than the ones of the contest. The reasonable is 304 nits, whilst the Flip measured 292 nits and the R 13 output 244 nits.

The display screen makes use of a three:2 ratio quite than an ordinary 16:Nine, which was once onerous to regulate to in pc mode. However, it is very best for a pill, particularly one with an uber-responsive contact panel.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Chromebook Pro’s island-style keyboard supplies a mediocre typing revel in. It has simply 1.2 millimeters of go back and forth (we choose 1.5mm or extra) and calls for 52 grams of pressure to press (we glance for at least 60g). The result’s a suite of spongy keys and, for me, extra typing mistakes than same old.

Samsung Chromebook Pro
On the 10fastfingers.com typing take a look at, I reached 106 phrases in line with minute, falling simply wanting my 107-wpm reasonable and with a three p.c error charge, upper than my same old 2 p.c.

The four.1 x 2.Nine-inch touchpad is clean, spacious and correct. The pad labored flawlessly as I zipped across the internet and used fundamental gestures like three-finger swipe.

Stylus

The Chromebook Pro is the primary Chromebook to come back with an embedded stylus. The pen pops instantly out of a slot at the proper aspect of the pc and appears nearly just like the S Pen that Samsung makes use of in its Note sequence of telephones, only a tad longer, a little bit thicker and without a button to turn on further options.

Samsung Chromebook Pro

Popping out the stylus routinely launches a menu (regardless that you’ll close this conduct off) with fast movements to seize all or a part of the display screen, get started a brand new word in Google Keep, or use the pen as a magnifying glass or laser pointer at the display screen. I used the stylus menu regularly, particularly when taking notes. Google Keep can learn the notes and use optical personality popularity to make it searchable from any tool.

MORE: Which Laptop CPU is Right for You?

For example, I may just search for a grocery checklist I made in Google Keep through looking out with the phrases “grocery” and “list” within the note-taking app, in addition to with any merchandise at the checklist. The identical went for a word to name buddies; I simply needed to seek their names or telephone numbers. 

Samsung Chromebook Pro
Google claims that it has used device finding out in the back of the scenes in order that that there may not be a lot display screen latency whilst you write. I did understand some lag as I took notes in Google Keep, however I additionally discovered that my handwriting at the Chromebook Pro appeared extra find it irresistible does with pen and paper than on every other stylus and touch-screen mixture I have attempted earlier than. The stylus is pressure-sensitive, which allowed me to make delicate adjustments within the strains I drew within the Adobe Photoshop Sketch Android app.

Audio

The audio system at the Chromebook Pro don’t seem to be very loud, and so they struggled to fill our midsize convention room with sound. When I listened to “My Shot (Rise Up Remix)” from The Hamilton Mixtape, Black Thought, Joell Ortiz and Busta Rhymes’ rapping was once crystal transparent, as was once the backing guitar, however the piano keys had been quiet and the drums were not as snappy as I would like.

Performance

The Chromebook Pro is powered through an Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU, with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC garage. That’s greater than sufficient efficiency for multitasking. I had 16 tabs open in Google Chrome (considered one of which was once streaming a 1080p video from YouTube) without a lag. When I opened the Twitter and HipChat Android apps, there was once a cut up 2nd of latency as I switched between tabs within the browser.

The pocket book earned a ranking of 126.6 at the JetStream JavaScript benchmark, falling simply wanting the Asus Flip (Core m3-6Y30, 127.Three) however handily beating the Acer R 13 (MediaTek MT8173C ARM CPU, 58.7). The ultraportable class reasonable is 164.five.

But the Samsung simply defeated its fighters at the WebGL Aquarium graphics take a look at, rendering 2,000 fish in a tank at 48 frames in line with 2nd. The Flip notched 32 fps, whilst the R 13 wavered between 20 and 40 fps.

When I performed Asphalt eight, the sport was once most often clean and playable, apart from for one or two spots that were given a little bit uneven.

Chrome OS and Android

The Chromebook Pro is the primary Chromebook to reinforce Android apps out of the field. Keep in thoughts that the Acer Chromebook R 11, Asus Chromebook Flip and Google’s personal 2015 Chromebook Pixel had early reinforce, and each Chromebook that launches in 2017 will sooner or later paintings with Android apps.

Samsung Chromebook Pro
Installing Android apps is as simple as opening the Google Play Store (which remains to be in beta on Chrome OS, however Google says it’s going to be finalized through time the Chromebook Pro launches in April) and downloading apps like you possibly can in your telephone. Not each app works, regardless that. I effectively used Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Nintendo’s Miitomo, Twitter, Threes and Dark Sky, however Pokemon Go, Tinder and Signal gave notices that my tool wasn’t appropriate with the app. In the longer term, I believe maximum primary Android apps can be appropriate with this pocket book.

A large number of apps did not play great after being resized. Specifically, HipChat and Spotify warned that they may not paintings when resized, despite the fact that they most often did. A couple of instances, they snapped again to their authentic sizes or simply refused to modify dimension altogether. Dark Sky did not give you the chance, whilst the sport Threes flipped across the display screen uncontrollably till it settled on a place (most often sideways, which I did not respect).

You will have more than one home windows open with other Android apps working. Swiping down with 3 palms at the trackpad makes it slightly simple to change home windows. Just remember that you’ll’t snap home windows aspect through aspect as you’ll in Windows 10, neither is there reinforce for digital desktops.

A inexpensive fashion, the Samsung Chromebook Plus, is the same in capability, however is available in silver and makes use of an ARM CPU that you’d typically in finding in drugs or telephones.

I did understand one different hiccup. After saving a drawing in Adobe Photoshop Sketch, I could not get entry to the picture thru Chrome’s document gadget. I needed to obtain an Android symbol viewer to peer my art work. Google tells me that it is a recognized factor that can be rectified within the M57 release of Chrome, on March 14, earlier than the April release.

Still, Android apps are an overly welcome boost. Otherwise, Chrome OS is most commonly the similar, with the browser as the primary focal point, a job bar on the backside that gives simple get entry to to systems and Wi-Fi required for almost all of apps to paintings. If you favor simplicity, it is very best, however you will not get all the options you’ll be able to in finding in Windows or macOS.

Battery Life

The Chromebook Pro will have to closing all over your Nine to five. The pocket book persevered for eight hours and five mins at the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which is composed of continuing internet surfing over Wi-Fi. The ultraportable reasonable is decrease, at eight:06, whilst the Flip (eight:52) and R 13 (11:00) each outperformed the Chromebook Pro. 

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Webcam

The 720p webcam at the Chromebook Pro is serviceable. It’s sharp and detailed, catching particular person hairs on my head and creases in my blouse, however the gentle coming in from the home windows blew out my face a little bit. Colors had been true, and the digicam captured my blouse’s precise coloration of grey.

Heat

The Chromebook Pro stayed great and funky all over our checking out, by no means surpassing our 95-degree Fahrenheit convenience threshold. After I streamed 15 mins of HD video from YouTube, the ground of the pc hit 90 levels, the keyboard between the G and H keys measured 86 levels, and the touchpad reached 82 levels.

Configuration Options and Warranty

The Samsung Chromebook Pro comes with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC garage, and it has a black aluminum chassis. When this pocket book releases in April, it’s going to price $549.99.

A inexpensive fashion, the Samsung Chromebook Plus, is the same in capability, however is available in silver and makes use of an ARM CPU that you’d typically in finding in drugs or telephones. That one will release on Feb. 12, promoting for $449.99.

Both the Plus and the Pro include one-year warranties. See how Samsung did on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brand Ratings.

Bottom Line

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is the primary Chromebook (in conjunction with its sibling, the Chromebook Plus) to incorporate an embedded stylus and reinforce Android apps once you log in. Its light-weight, aluminum chassis and crisp, bright show additionally assist outline this device as a top class 2-in-1. However, if you happen to don’t want the stylus or top class display screen, Asus’s Chromebook Flip C302CA prices $50 much less, has a significantly better keyboard and gives extra inner garage; it does now not include Google Play preloaded, however you’ll simply get it.

At e-newsletter time, the Play Store remains to be in beta on Chrome OS, and has numerous problems, together with incompatibility and deficient window and document control. However, Google says that the device can be out of beta and able for primetime when Chromebook Pro ships in April. We’ll retest the pc, replace this overview and revisit our ranking when this new model of Chrome OS launches.

Even if Google does not adequately give a boost to its Android revel in, the Chromebook Pro remains to be nice as an ordinary Chromebook due to its design, construct high quality, and distinctive pen reinforce.

Photo credit score: Jeremy Lips/Laptop Mag