Samsung and Google have announced two new Chromebooks with a 360-degree rotating touchscreen, designed for use with Google Play. Will the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Samsung Chromebook Pro spark new interest in Chromebooks?
The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro: Convertible Twins
Samsung partnered with Google to develop these new Chromebooks, both of which are designed to work seamlessly with Google Play and Android apps. The Plus and the Pro share the same design and overall feature set; the major difference is in processing power. The Plus features an ARM processor, while the Pro uses an Intel Core m3.
The outside of the Chromebook Plus and Pro is made of lightweight metal. It will be available in one color scheme, Platinum Silver. The Chromebook Plus and Pro are about 0.5 inches thick, and weigh 2.38 pounds. That’s certainly light and thin enough for a convertible notebook this size, by our definition.
The 360-degree hinge allows these Chromebooks to transform into tablets or several in-between modes. Both Chromebooks have an island-style keyboard and a clickpad for user input, plus, of course, the touch display.
The devices feature 12.3-inch displays with a “quad HD” resolution of 2,400×1,600 pixels. (We’re used to calling that “2K”.) If you do the math, the aspect ratio works out to 3:2, much like on the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The screen’s surface is covered by slick Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Chromebook Plus and Pro will have 4GB of memory (RAM) and 32GB of internal storage, both of which are non-expandable. You can, however, add more storage via the built-in microSD slot.
The battery life is said to be up to 8 hours. We’re hoping the device can go for a bit longer than that, as Windows convertibles like the just-announced Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are routinely quoting over the double-digit mark.
Other major features include dual 1.5-watt stereo speakers, 802.11ac wireless (2×2 antenna setup), Bluetooth v4.0, and a 720p webcam.
Ports-wise, the Chromebook Plus and Pro have a combo audio jack, and two USB Type-C. The USB Type-C port allows up to 5Gbps of data transfer, and supports 4K display out with an optional adapter. The device also charges through the USB Type-C port. (Take a look at our features: USB Type-C: Do You Need It Now?)
Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro Technical Specifications:
Operating System: Google Chrome
Processor: ARM OP1 (hexa-core, Dual A72, Quad Q53) or Intel Core m3-6Y30 (0.9GHz, up to 2.2GHz Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Internal graphics (ARM), or integrated Intel HD Graphics 515 (Intel)
Memory: 4GB LPDDR3 onboard (non-upgradeable)
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Networking: 802.11ac wireless (2×2 antennas) and Bluetooth v4.0
Ports: 1 headphone/microphone combo jack; 2x USB Type-C with charging support, plus 4K video out support with optional adapter; microSD card reader
Power: 30W USB Type-C adapter; internal 39Wh battery
Dimensions: 11.06×8.72×0.51~0.55 inches
Weight: 2.38 lbs.
Pricing and Availability
The ARM-powered Chromebook Plus should be available for $449 at major retailers, including Best Buy, in February 2017. The Chromebook Pro isn’t slated for availability until “later this Spring”, and it wasn’t explicitly stated whether it would be priced the same as the Plus. We’d think the Intel processor would demand more of a premium. Time will tell.