Good things can sometimes come in small packages, and the new Samsung Chromebook Pro is no exception! Chromebooks are more and more becoming the machine of choice for students, gamers, and professionals alike. This is due to their convenient size, array of features, and generally affordable price-point. Clocking in at just under $450, Samsung’s Chromebook is priced as a mid-range machine with a high range of features.
Some of the notable features unique to this model are:
- a 2,400 x 1,600-pixel 12.3″ touchscreen
- a 32GB Flash Memory Solid State Hard Drive
- 4GB of RAM
- a transforming360° hinge for instant conversion from laptop to tablet
- a stylus
- an improved ChromeOS experience
- Android integration
- an impressive 10-hour battery life
The first notable characteristic of the Samsung Chromebook Pro is its metal body exterior. Unlike other previous Chromebooks with plastic outer exteriors, the polished metal finish is sleek and feels sufficiently more durable. The entire unit itself has a size of 11.06 × 8.72″ and is very slimwhen folded, measuring about 0.51″ in thickness. At only 2.38lbs, it’s light weight and small size means it can easily fit into a backpack, briefcase, or purse for convenient travel. The drawback, however, is the way this size affects the screen. While the Samsung Chromebook Pro is capable of producing an output up to 2400 x 1600 pixels, it is also fixed at a 3:2 aspect ratio. This is more narrow of a display than your average laptop screen, and could be off-putting to those accustomed to the 16:9 displays on their personal computers or televisions. Hardware wise the Chromebook Pro packs a Rockchip Hexa-Core OP1 processor which, as noted by LaptopNinja, is also optimized specifically for Chrome OS giving it the edge of many cheaper competitors.
Though the screen may be shorter and narrower in size, this DOES allow for it to provide a more genuine tablet experience. The Samsung Chromebook Pro is built with a rotating 360° hinge which allows the user to fold the upper screen back completely, thus converting the unit into a flat tablet shape with plenty of extended room for drawing or note taking. Unlike other Chromebooks which also might have touchscreens, the Samsung Chromebook Pro includes its own built-in stylus. While the stylus itself is somewhat shorter than the average pen/pencil, it is still comfortable to hold and moves easily across the screen. This is convenient for annotating or drawing, as it provides a more precise result than just dragging one’s finger along the touchscreen. The bottom of the screen also contains a black strip of soft, glossy bezel that allows for a comfortable place to rest your wrists when typing or drawing. This extra strip of space helps prevent accidental clicks and touches while the Chromebook is being used in tablet mode.
Another unique feature of the 360°-hinged screen is the ability to use the Samsung Chromebook Pro in what is referred to as “tent mode”. This is where the screen is folded halfway back, forming a triangular tent-like shape, and can be propped up this way with the display rotating accordingly. This is a great feature for those who would like to use their Chromebook for extended movie watching (either streamed online or loaded onto the Chromebook via SD card) without having to hold the tablet in their hands or lay it flat (with the keyboard in the way) like traditional “L” shaped laptops. The Samsung Chromebook Pro’s speakers are positioned at the front of the keyboard, near the corners. When used on a flat surface, or in one’s lap, this can lead to a muffling of sound due to their position. In tent mode, the speaker grills are not obstructed which allows for clearer sound to come through.
As with all Chromebooks, the Samsung Chromebook Pro runs off of Google’s own operating system: Chrome OS, which was tied to your online Google account and previously required an internet connection to use. This is no longer the case with the Samsung Chromebook Pro- unlike previous iterations, this Chromebook allows for offline access to all of Chrome OS’s normally available apps and features, as well as a new version of the Google Play Store featuring Andriod apps. This means that any applications previously made only for Andriod operating systems can now be installed and used on the Samsung Chromebook Pro. They are also available anytime- online or off- which is a useful feature for those who might want to use their Chromebook in places where wifi is not readily available.
All in all, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is a solid step forward in terms of features and durability. It still has its drawbacks (a cramped screen and less-than-ideal speaker placement), but it is a solid machine at a reasonable price. This Chromebook is a definite option for those looking to replace their laptop or home computer with something more portable, without sacrificing too many features or applications.