A solid hybrid, Android and Chrome OS-Samsung Chromebook Pro
People love the idea of Chromebooks because they are lightweight, minimalist, simple to use, and best of all, inexpensive. Spend $500 on a Chromebook and you will get your pick of the best Chrome OS devices on the market. We have seen that Chrome OS and Android are steadily merging over the years and now the union has reached the pinnacle with the introduction of Samsung Chromebook Pro.
For 2017, Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus are the next evolution in that effort. Samsung team and Google’s engineer’s team up to produce Chromebooks designed specially to run apps from Google Play Store with a multi-touch compatible display and with motion controls.
The design of Samsung’s Chromebook Pro centers on portability. This all-metal Chromebook weighs 2.38 pounds and is the lightest device in its class and a lightweight compared to most laptops. It has a 0.55 inch high frame, just five-hundredths of an inch thicker, and is lighter than the HP Chromebook 13.
The Chromebook Pro is one incredibly thin and light device. But don’t mistake its featherweight nature for a flimsy laptop. Samsung Chromebook Pro’s all-aluminum build makes it sturdy and flex free. It also comes with all rounded edges and a softer metal, much more inviting to hold for long than most hybrid notebooks.
Unlike many other laptops of Samsung, the Pro comes with a 3:2 display that you see more regularly on tablets. You get more vertical pixels making it easier to read web pages at a glance and view photos in full screen, especially while holding it in a portrait orientation.
The hinge is sturdy. It is easy to tilt the screen, and wherever you need it to, it will hold the panel in place. That allows it to work splendidly in both laid-back and tent modes. When you fold it all the way round, it becomes an Android tablet, albeit it is not quite simple. The volume and power buttons fall on the keyboard unit behind the tablet portion. It is not easiest to use it as a dedicated tablet but is much better. The device’s light weight and small size make it easy to handle.
Samsung Chromebook Pro features limited connectivity which is not of much surprise considering its intended use case and size. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Thunderbolt 3 port on each side of the system, with MicroSD and headphones slot tucked away on the left side. That might seem limited to some but one or two Type-C ports are quickly becoming standard for lightweight and compact systems.
Samsung Chromebook Pro features a 2,400×1,600 display boasting a pleasantly high 235 PPI. The Samsung benefits from its unusual 3:2 aspect ratio which has become much common on touchscreen devices. This ratio brings the display closer to a square that makes the system more tablet-like and offers Android apps plenty of rooms to run in both portrait and landscape mode.
The display provides not just impressive color accuracy and contrast but impressive general screen quality. Colors are full and vivid and black levels are satisfyingly deep and give bright spots a chance to truly shine. The screen is one of the best reasons to consider Samsung Chromebook Pro.
Keyboard and Trackpad:
The Samsung nails in key-feel. Samsung Chromebook Pro’s keys are sturdy, responsive and click nicely, providing deep travel that is not usually found on such smaller systems. The keyboard, however, feels cramped. Important keys like tab and backspace are too narrow which is a common issue on smaller Chromebooks. It has no backlighting.
The trackpad is somehow disappointing. It is small as compared to sprawling glass touchpads of XPS 12 and Apple MacBook line. Some of the Chrome OS gestures also feel a little cramped. Fortunately, it features touchscreen so you can simply drag around the screen. But users sitting at a desk might want to look for an external mouse.
The Samsung is the sole manufacturer offering a digitizer stylus with its Chromebook. The stylus slips away into the back-right corner on base of the laptop and pops out with a clicking button on its exposed end. When you remove it, a pop-up context menu will be triggered to allow the user choose its functionality. Besides handwriting and standard touch modes, there is also a magnifying glass, a laser pointer mode and a selection mode for capturing screenshots.
The stylus may not be useful in all situations such as in Chrome web apps but it helps with precise touches in Android apps. It also features handwriting recognition through Google Keep allowing you to jot down notes and even search them quickly, assisted by Google’s deep learning.
Samsung’s Chromebook Pro is powered by an Intel Core m3-6Y30, a dual-core chip with 900MHz base clock, Hyper-Threading and 2.2GHz Turbo Boost. It is well-equipped for a higher-end Chromebook. The Samsung Chromebook Pro performs very well for most users, in most daily use cases. It occasionally hangs or stutters for a few moments but only when a lot of tabs are open.
The Chromebook Pro has one of the stronger performance points in terms of Android apps. The Core m3 chip is faster than anything you would find in a standard Android tablet. The most demanding Google Play apps run smoothly at highest resolution and setting.
• Sturdy chassis
• Full Android app support
• Satisfying performance
• Middling battery life
• Cramped keyboard layout
Samsung’s new Chromebooks represent bleeding edge of development for Chrome OS and support features you will not see on other systems for quite some time. Samsung’s Chromebook Pro is an ambitious, premium system, featuring a lot when it comes to features set and design.
There are minute problems associated with recent introduction of Google Play to Chrome OS, but these are minor and potentially solvable in software. The Chromebook Pro comes with a premium price for category. Like almost every other laptop, the Samsung Chromebook Pro comes with 12-month warranty which is standard even for low-cost Chromebook category.
Also read another Samsung Chromebook Pro’s review: Quick and Versatile-Samsung Chromebook Pro