The original Galaxy Chromebook was one of the best Chromebooks of 2020 and remains the best 4K Chromebook today. However, there has been some understandable confusion over whether it still deserves to be your next Chromebook when its successor has debuted at almost half the price. If you’re dead set on having a Galaxy Chromebook and that sexy, sexy Fiesta Red, here’s why the Galaxy Chromebook beats the Galaxy Chromebook 2 so long as the price is right.
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is not an upgrade
I’d normally get into the finer points of why the next generation has some benefits even if it’s not as powerful as its predecessor — and make no mistake, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is weaker in almost every measurable way — but I’m just going to let them speak for themselves:
|Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
|Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
|10th Gen Intel Core i5
|Intel Celeron 5205U
Intel Core i3-10110U
|13.3″ AMOLED 3840x2160px (4K)
|13.3″ QLED 1920x1080px
UFS/microSD card slot
Audio combo jack
microSD card slot
Audio combo jack
Garaged Active Pen
Project Athena certified
Active Pen support
Up to 8 hours
Up to 13 hours
|Fiesta Red or Mercury Grey
|Fiesta Red or Mercury Grey
$735 (Core i3)
Everything on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the same or worse with two exceptions: the price tag and the expected duration of the battery. While the Galaxy Chromebook has a bigger battery, that i5 processor eats it up like candy, so it only gets 5-8 hours of battery life on a charge, while the Galaxy Chromebook 2 can get much closer to the 10-12 we expect on a modern Chromebook. That said, considering the i3 model you’d actually want to purchase is still an i3, that number is actually more like 7-10 hours from the reviews so far.
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is aimed at an entirely different market.
The lower price tag is the most important thing here. All of the sacrifices made, down to the rest of the spec sheet, were made to get the Galaxy Chromebook 2 down to almost half the original’s price for that starter model. The OG Galaxy Chromebook was going after Pixelbook owners, while the Galaxy Chromebook 2 targets a more budget-conscious crowd that’s still willing to pay a premium for Samsung style and a better-than-most screen.
While the screen on the 2 is a downgrade, it’s still the first Chromebook with a QLED screen, and 1080p is perfectly fine for a 13.3-inch touchscreen. What’s harder to deal with is the drop in power between an Intel Core i5 and a Celeron on the $549 model, which also only has 4GB of RAM — especially when you can get an i3, 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen, backlit keyboard, and more ports for under $400 in the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook vs. Galaxy Chromebook 2: Which should you buy?
If you’re dead-set on a Galaxy Chromebook 2, you’d want the $700 model with the Intel Core i3 and 8GB of RAM — but you can get the original Galaxy Chromebook for $750 on Amazon right now. Best Buy has also routinely dropped the Galaxy Chromebook price into the same range, meaning that for about $50 more, you can get that sweet 4K screen, Project Athena performance, and a built-in stylus? Yeah, that’s a no-brainer.
Honestly, why didn’t Samsung just give the original Galaxy Chromebook this price cut six months ago and call it a day?
If you can’t afford to go up to the $700-$800 range for the i3 or i5 models that you deserve, you’ve got better choices for performance in the Lenovo Flex 5, which is $380 but packs basically all the Galaxy Chromebook 2 features except the ultra-thin design and QLED screen. Hp also just announced a processor refresh of the HP Chromebook x360 14c, so the current model is down to $429 with an i3, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The screen is inferior to Samsung’s, but it’s powerful and much more affordable.
Another great option with a damn fine 2K touchscreen is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713; it’s normally $630, but Best Buy drops it down to $530-$550 once or twice a month. The Spin 713 has an i5 — same as the original Galaxy Chromebook — 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage while still packing plenty of ports, including HDMI, so you won’t need to reach for a dongle to extend to a secondary monitor.
Buy it on sale
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 13.3″
It’s hard to beat the original, especially on discount.
Whether you want the latest specs for your work or the best screen around for watching movies, this gives you both. And a year after launch, the original Galaxy Chromebook might still be the better value than the Galaxy Chromebook 2 now that it’s a few hundred off.
The mediocre future
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 13.3″
Too expensive for its specs, too cheap for its style.
Samsung tried to thread the needle between premium Chromebooks and affordable workhorses and ended up missing both markets by a few hundred dollars. Deep discounts might help the Celeron version compete with the rest of its kin, but $700 for the i3 model is a bit steep considering several i3 and i5 Chromebooks can be had for hundreds less.
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