The official day one of CES 2020 is coming to a close and we got the opportunity to spend some quality time with the fantastic new Chromebook from Samsung while at the show today, and I can confirm that this Chromebook is easily the best Chromebook money can buy at this point in the game. From monster specs to a striking and beautiful build quality, the Galaxy Chromebook hits all the right notes across the board.
Starting with the build quality, this 13.3-inch Chromebook is only 9.9mm thick and comes in weighing a tiny 2.3 pounds. With those dimensions, it is the thinnest Chromebook ever made and one of the lightest, too. None of that means it is flimsy or bendy, though, as the chassis feels firm just like the Pixelbook Go. Thin, light devices don’t look like they should be this firm, but manufacturers are clearly finding ways to make diminutive bodies with very rigid internal structures, and Samsung has nailed it in the Galaxy Chromebook.
The colors are fantastic as well, giving users the option of Fiesta Red (which looks flat-out amazing) and a nice, subdued Mercury Gray for those who don’t want to attract so many gazes. From all angles, this Chromebook looks every bit the flagship part. The thinness, squared off edges, and colors all come together to make for an exceedingly-pleasing aesthetic.
The keyboard and trackpad are not surprisingly great as well. I’d compare the keys to the Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go, but I’ll really have to spend more time with it to see if the comparison really holds up. Travel is slight, click is solid, and the spacing is super comfortable on the backlit keys. The trackpad is similar in size to the Pixelbook Go and is glass with a nice click, so there are no complaints from me there either.
A great addition to the keyboard is the fingerprint scanner up where the power key resides on most Chromebooks. While we couldn’t really test it, there’s little reason to think it won’t work just as advertised as it has on the few previous Chromebooks that leveraged the biometric option. Additionally, there’s a stowed pen for jotting notes and it doesn’t need to be charged or clipped anywhere on the outside of the device. Like other Samsung products, it is built right into the body of the Chromebook so it is available right when you need it.
Internally we have exceptional things going on here as well with a 10th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage with options to increase the RAM to 16GB and the storage to 1TB. I’m not surprised to see this, but the internal storage is of the NVMe variety, which is more expensive SSD and is much faster than standard SSDs and eMMC storage options. With a ton of 2019 Chromebooks opting for the cheaper, slower eMMC storage, I’m glad to see NVMe on board here.
Overall, this combo of internals made for a silky-smooth experience on the 4K AMOLED display that the Galaxy Chromebook comes equipped with. We’ve seen few 4K displays on Chromebooks and we’ve NEVER seen an AMOLED display, so this is really a treat. For those unaware, AMOLED is the type of display many of us are used to in our phones that gives us super-contrast, deep-black-having, punchy & colorful images and videos. In nearly every way, AMOLED is the best choice for superior displays, and this Chromebook benefits in every way from it. It is very bright with colors and contrast that look like they were pulled from the latest, greatest smartphone displays. It is perhaps the most-killer feature of a bloated feature list for the Galaxy Chromebook.
We’ve mentioned it before, but we also have to talk about the price. At $999, I’m not surprised at all. This level of engineering, feature inclusion, and build materials doesn’t come cheap. As a matter of fact, I’d put every part of this device against any of the Windows-toting laptops out there and guarantee it stands toe-to-toe with them. Even the new laptops Samsung unveiled here at CES 2020 alongside the Galaxy Chromebook don’t differ that much in their quality and aesthetic. There simply isn’t another option out there that comes even close to this overall package when we are talking about Chromebooks, and even when we bring Windows laptops and Macbooks into the conversation, I’d put the Galaxy Chromebook right up there with those as well. It is that well put together.
This clearly isn’t a side project for Samsung this time around. Instead, it feels like a much more collaborative effort from Samsung, Google and Intel at delivering a device and experience that are truly next-gen in the Chromebook space. There is much more we feel we’ll uncover once we have one in the office for the official review, but I’ll say this much: I haven’t been this smitten by a Chromebook since I got my hands on the original Pixelbook. I can’t wait to see what it is like to use this thing on a daily basis.