We finally have the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go in the office and we’re doing what we do, hopping in the box and seeing what is offered by this somewhat-strangely named Chromebook. You see, the Galaxy Chromebook Go is larger, heavier, and thicker than both the original Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Galaxy Chromebook 2. While I give lots of points to Samsung for creating a clearer marketing and naming strategy for their Chromebooks, the ‘Go’ appendage on this device feels a bit akin to the ‘Pro’ moniker that is so often just used as a replacement for premium.
With that out of the way, you simply need to know that the Galaxy Chromebook Go is the entry-level follow up device to the Samsung Chromebook 4 and 4+. We’re looking at all plastic build materials, a TN non-touch screen, and some pretty entry-level specs to go along with all that. Rocking the latest small-core Gemini Lake processor from Intel (the Celeron N4500), 4GB of RAM and a measly 32GB of storage, there’s just nothing about this Chromebook that goes anywhere beyond the affordable Chromebook category.
The design looks nice, however, and the keyboard is surprisingly solid for a device with this much plastic in the chassis. The trackpad – also plastic – has a solid click and in my time using it I’ve not been bothered at all by its performance. The all-black interior against the light gray exterior looks pretty sharp as well and the boxy sides of this Chromebook really do make it look far better than the price tag or meager internals would indicate.
You also get a nice array of ports, with a USB Type C on both sides, a single USB Type A, headphone/mic jack, microSD slot and a Kensington lock. What you’ll also notice is a lack of fan ports anywhere outside this device and that only serves to keep the outer chassis clean and refined as Jasper Lake processors simply don’t need fans for cooling.
Along the bottom you’ll find the two speaker ports and I do have to say that they house some impressive drivers. They are full and reproduce spoken words with great clarity. As we all continue to live in a world where video calls are prevalent, better built-in speakers for these sorts of activities are always welcome additions. They aren’t the absolute best speakers I’ve ever heard on a Chromebook, but they are comfortably in the top 10.
We have to talk about the screen
I’ve held off on the biggest bummer of this device until the end because I think it was an avoidable issue. Samsung chose to once again go with a low-res TN panel that has terrible viewing angles and washed out colors. At 14-inches, this device is simply too big to use a 1366×768 panel and the terrible colors and viewing angles only make this worse. Yes, this device is only $299 without any additional sales, but I know Samsung could have scrounged up a decent 1080p IPS screen for this device and kept that price point. Sadly, they didn’t.
Overall, however, I think this is a reasonably-attractive, affordable Chromebook. If you can forgive the word ‘Go’ in the name and understand what you are getting into, this device has some positives for sure. The N4500 processor is fast enough for general tasks, the speakers are great, and the keyboard/trackpad is surprisingly good as well. Chromebooks in this range tend to get poor screens and scant internals, and the Galaxy Chromebook Go definitely lands in that boat. You can get by with 4GB of RAM, but it’s up to you to decide if expanding your storage via microSD is a workable solution and if a bad screen is enough to turn you off or not.