Samsung Chromebook 2 review

Price when reviewed

Samsung has long been a champion of the Chromebook. Since releasing the very first commercially available model back in 2011, it’s been steadily trickling out new models, despite a lukewarm reception from consumers. The Samsung Chromebook 2 is the latest to roll off the production line. Read on for our in-depth Samsung Chromebook 2 review

Samsung Chromebook 2 11.6in

In fact, there are two models of Chromebook 2: the one we have here, which has an 11.6in screen with a resolution of 1,366 x 768, and a 13.3in version with a 1080p screen, which we’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks.

Samsung Chromebook 2 review: design

Whichever you choose, you’ll get a very similar-looking device. As with many Samsung products, the build is unapologetically plastic, but it isn’t an eyesore. The lid is finished with a grippy soft-touch compound, patterned to look like leather, and there’s faux stitching around the edge to top things off. On the inside, a shinier, semi-matte plastic surrounds the Scrabble-tile keyboard, and a tasteful chrome-effect trim surrounds the touchpad.

Samsung Chromebook 2 11.6in

It doesn’t feel flimsy, and it’s extremely light. Tipping the scales at just over a kilogram, the 11.6in Chromebook 2 is a laptop you can carry around all day and hardly know it’s in your bag. It’s certainly a more elegant device than the Dell Chromebook 11, which is more brutish than beautiful.

And despite the slim profile, Samsung has still found room to include one USB 2 and one USB 3 port so you can connect hard disks and thumbdrives, plus a full-sized HDMI output for connecting a second monitor or TV. It’s a little disappointing that there’s no full-sized SD card slot, but you do at least get a microSD slot, allowing you to add to the existing 16GB of internal storage.

However, this is a machine that’s happiest away from the encumbrance of wires and cables, and in such an environment it performs admirably. We’re encouraged to see 2×2 stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi on board, and ergonomically it’s spot on. The keyboard doesn’t feel particularly positive, but we got up to speed on it quickly, and we can’t fault the layout.

Samsung Chromebook 2 11.6in

The touchpad is large enough to ensure Chrome OS’s two- and three-finger multitouch gestures are easy to perform. It’s a buttonless touchpad, which isn’t ideal, but it is reliable, and clicking doesn’t cause the cursor to jump around the screen.

Samsung Chromebook 2 review: display and performance

The Samsung Chromebook 2’s 11.6in screen isn’t a high point, unfortunately. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the resolution, and we like the anti-glare, semi-gloss finish, which keeps reflections to a minimum, but it isn’t very bright. We measured it at 200cd/m[sup]2[/sup].

To make matters worse, contrast is low, and vertical viewing angles are narrow. It’s no better than the far cheaper Dell Chromebook 11, and is outdone by the HP Chromebook 11, which has a brighter, much punchier IPS screen.

Performance is disappointing as well. We’ve become used to the snappy performance of Intel’s Haswell-class Celerons in recent Chromebooks, but inside the Chromebook 2 is an ARM-designed, Samsung-manufactured Exynos 5420 SoC.

This is one of Samsung’s octa-core processors: it has four 1.9GHz Cortex-A15 cores for heavy duty jobs, and another four 1.3GHz Cortex A7 cores for light duties. Alas, it just doesn’t feel as zippy in use as the Intel-based Chromebooks do. It doesn’t wake up quite as quickly from sleep, taking two or three seconds each time you open the lid before the screen comes alive.

Samsung Chromebook 2 11.6in

And once you have more than a handful of tabs open things begin to slow down further. A result of 659ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark shows it isn’t as fast in a straight line as Intel’s processors, either, with the Dell achieving 323ms.

Still, you may well be willing to put up with the occasional pause or stutter, given how good the battery life is. When looping a cached 720p YouTube video with Wi-Fi turned off and the screen set to 120cd/m2, the Chromebook 2 lasted a significant 7hrs 39mins, almost two hours longer than the lifespan of the Dell Chromebook 11. That’s enough to bump up the Samsung’s Performance rating a notch.

Samsung Chromebook 2 review: verdict

The Samsung Chromebook 2 does an awful lot of things right. It’s well designed, if a little plasticky, light and well equipped, and battery life is excellent.

Yet, with that lacklustre screen, slightly sluggish performance and a price tag that makes it one of the more expensive 11.6in Chromebooks on the market, it doesn’t do quite enough to gain our wholehearted recommendation.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions289 x 203 x 17mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.5kg
Weight with extended batteryN/A

Processor and memory

RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0

Screen and video

Screen size11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetMali-T628 MP6
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Speaker locationBase
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.9mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use8hr 20min

Operating system and software

Operating systemChrome OS
OS familyChrome OS

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos