So, Samsung did something I’m pleasantly surprised at, and launched a new Chromebook, nattily named the Chromebook Pro. It’s a pretty smart piece of kit.
I’ve been looking for a replacement Chromebook for a while after my old one went to a fabulous person who needed it more than I did. Unfortunately the nearest one that suited my needs was a Dell Chromebook 13, and that was getting long in the tooth. My needs are allegedly simple: a good keyboard, long battery life, and it needed to be 13 inches as I couldn’t deal with a 1366 x 768 pixel screen.
On top of that, I had some secondary requirements. I wanted USB type C, because that was the future, and if I could get a screen longer than a 16:9 ratio, then so much the better. 16:10 would have been perfect, but I’d have been just as happy with a 3:2 screen.My choices so far were coming down to that previously mentioned Dell 13, and the HP Chromebook 13. Notice the innovative naming systems going on there? At least I knew where I stood, right? In any case, I started watching a couple of the ChromeOS related sites,
My choices so far were coming down to that previously mentioned Dell 13, and the HP Chromebook 13. Notice the innovative naming systems going on there? At least I knew where I stood, right? In any case, I started watching a couple of the ChromeOS related sites, OMG Chrome and Chrome Unboxed. OMG Chrome used to keep a really close eye on the entire Chrome ecosystem. It meant that OMG was a great place to check the pulse of all things chrome, and it didn’t feel overly U.S-centric.
Admittedly, there hasn’t been a lot of Chromebook-related news, so Joey-Elijah Sneddon hasn’t had the chance to get on top of things. So, I went hunting around and found Chrome Unboxed. The guy who runs the site, Robbie Payne, went in on ChromeOS. I started learning about commits and baseboards, which was an education in itself.
The point being, I learned about ‘Kevin’ and ‘Gru’. Kevin, it turned out was to turn into the Samsung Chromebook Pro. For starters, it’s slim, at 12.9 mm thick, and weighing in at 1.08 kilogrammes. This is definitely lighter than the Dell Chromebook 13 with it’s bigger battery and the HP Chromebook 13 which just tips over that point at 1.3 kg.
Then, there’s the screen. It’s a svelte 112.3-inchaffair, with 400 nits brightness. The panel itself is impressive. I can’t be sure whether Samsung has taken advantage of its display making skills to create the 2,400 X 1,600 pixel screen (which gives you 324 pixels per inch and a 3:2 screen ratio), or if they outsourced it. My guess is that we’ll see iFixit proving Samsung made it themselves. Also, about that screen? It rotates completely, so you have tablet, tent and stand modes available to use how and when you want if laptop mode just isn’t enough.
There are very few other laptops out there that use that same aspect ratio. In fact, the only other laptops I can think of that use a 3:2 panel size are Google’s own Pixel Chromebooks and at least one of the Surface Pro lineup. Rounding out the specs we have available, it should last for around 10.5 hours, a stylus that’s called the PEN, a 2GHz Hexacore Rockchip processor, 2 USB type C ports, headphone jack and what appears to be a MicroSD card slot. In terms of storage, you get 4GB of RAM in what is likely to be the standard configuration and 32GB of SSD storage.
All for what would have been a reasonable $499 USD. What that will be in our British pounds by the time it hits the UK – what with the exchange rate being unfavourable to imports – is anyone’s guess.
You can see a short YouTube video of the Chromebook Pro here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feddokieqCk
Is this something I’m excited to see in the market? Hells yes. It is a very worthy alternative for those who liked the utility of the Chromebook Flip, but wanted something a little bigger or more powerful. Is this something I would personally go for? Potentially yes. But for reasons* I think that having a backlit keyboard is more important and that’s the only thing that would be missing for me on such a compact laptop. Either way, I want to see this out soon, if only so it will give the forthcoming Acer R13 Chromebook a run for its money. Unfortunately, Samsung hasn’t yet officially announced the Chromebook Pro, so we’ll have to just wait until they’ve finished dealing with more important things.