Have you been looking into buying a Chromebook? If you are looking into buying a laptop I wrote about why you should be looking to purchase a Chromebook. I purchased the Samsung Chromebook Plus six months ago and have used it fairly extensively. I hope to provide you with a useful, honest review of the Samsung Chromebook Plus.
What is the Samsung Chromebook Plus?
The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a Chromebook with a touchscreen interface and a stylus that also runs Android apps and can double as a large tablet. It runs on an ARM processor (Rockchip RK3399) and has 4GB of RAM. Its 12.3-inch 2400×1600 resolution screen has an uncommon 3:2 aspect ratio. The Samsung Chromebook Plus as the following specifications:
- 32GB of storage (microSD card slot for expansion)
- Dual array microphone
- 720p webcam
- 2 USB Type-C ports
- Accelerometer and Gyroscope
- Pressure sensitive stylus
- 29Wh battery (8hours)
- Supports wireless 802.11g, n, and ac
Samsung also makes a Chromebook Pro which has all the same specs except it runs a more powerful Intel Core M3 processor. Newer versions of the Pro model also have a backlit keyboard.
Samsung Chromebook Plus Pros
There are two very basic features that I appreciate the most about the Samsung Chromebook Plus: battery life and how fast it boots off. I often use my Chromebook instead of my work laptop on days when I have multiple meetings because I don’t have to worry about running out of battery or waiting for it to boot up. The battery lasts over 10 hours during typical light business usage, and with heavy consistent usage (videos, web browsing, social media, document composition) it has lasted consistently around 8 hours for me. Boot up time is incredibly fast. Seconds. Literally seconds. It goes from off to ready to use in less than 10 seconds. I’ve never had a laptop that booted faster.
This Chromebook does all the things other Chromebooks can do and does them well. Unlike many other Chromebooks, this one runs android apps. Android apps work when the Chromebook is in laptop or tablet mode and can utilize the keyboard and stylus in addition to the touchscreen. The Samsung Chromebook Plus comes with the Google Play Market pre-installed, so you access Android apps just like you would on any phone or tablet. Keep in mind that many android apps aren’t built to look great on large displays.
The screen is beautiful. It has a great resolution and images and videos are crisp and clear. The 3:2 ratio of the screen is mostly a plus. This is narrower than the 16:9 aspect ratio of most laptops, but that makes the Chromebook more comfortable to carry around and great for web browsing. The only downside is that almost all videos will display letterboxed.
- The touch interface and stylus are responsive.
- It is very thin ( 11″ x 8.7″ x .55″) and light (2.4lbs).
Samsung Chromebook Plus Cons
In my day to day usage, I ran into three primary issues:
- Limited and/or complicated VPN configuration in ChromeOS – I run OpenVPN at home and I never could properly configure ChromeOS to connect to it. This might be my shortcoming but Google searches indicate I’m not the only one having problems with OpenVPN and Chromebooks. Android VPN apps worked fine with connecting to my OpenVPN server from the Chromebook.
- Speed – This machine isn’t slow, but it certainly can’t be described as fast. I tend to have 8-15 tabs open at a time and I sometimes find the web browsing to be a little laggy. Totally usable, but I do notice the lag sometimes.
- No backlit keyboard – In all honesty my eyes aren’t fond of using computers in the dark anyway.
Recent Updates – Chromebook Plus V2
On June 24th, 2018 the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 went on sale. It adds:
- A 13-megapixel rear-facing camera
- Faster Intel Celeron 3965Y CPU
- Better keyboard protection against minor spills
- .55 lbs
Other than that it is the same.
I have been very happy with Samsung Chromebook Plus. Even though it is on the more expensive side for a Chromebook it is relatively cheap compared to most Windows and MacOS laptops. If I had to do it all over again I’d probably purchase the Chromebook Pro as it is probably much snappier, but it will set you back about $100 more. For $50 more you can now get the Chromebook Plus V2 release which also worth considering if you don’t want to fork out $100 but want a little more speed. For more options, take a look at the Chromebook section in my Buyer’s Guide.
Do any of you own a Samsung Chromebook Plus or Pro? How has it worked for you? Do you have questions about it that I can answer? Let me know in the comments below.
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