When Samsung released its Chromebook 2 earlier this year, it shipped with the company's own Exynos 5 Octa chipset. And you can still buy those 11.6 and 13-inch models — though better Chromebooks exist. Today, Samsung's adding a third option: a second 11.6-inch Chromebook 2 powered by an Intel processor. To be more specific, it's a fanless Celeron N2840 chipset that can run at up to 2.58GHz. The Intel Chromebook 2 has 2GB of RAM, whereas the models running Samsung's own chip feature 4GB of memory, so you may need to occasionally cut back on the number of tabs you've got open. If you're set on an Intel chip, Acer's C720P with an i3 processor is another option. Storage remains the same at 16GB; obviously Chrome OS places a huge focus on keeping your documents, music, photos, and other content in the cloud.
This Chromebook 2's more durable than the others
Samsung says it's made improvements when it comes to the Chromebook 2's durability and construction. Each of the four corners is now reinforced by metal, as are the USB ports. There's also a metal frame behind the display, which should contribute to the laptop's overall rigidity. So the Chromebook 2 should be able to endure daily travels and the occasional bump just fine. But don't spill anything on it; Samsung's made it more resilient, but there are still no protections against liquids. That seems like the next logical step — but maybe not for a $250 product. Elsewhere, it's still the same ugly design we saw before with fake leather stitching intact. (If you're going for the leather look, then why is it silver?) This one features the 1366x768 resolution display, which has pretty subpar viewing angles and just doesn't look as nice as the 1080p screen in the 13-inch, non-Intel model.
Since a lot of consumers remain unfamiliar with Chromebooks, Samsung has collaborated with Google for a new "Google Help" app. It's essentially Amazon Mayday for Chromebooks; click a button and you're connected over video chat to a support representative at Samsung's North Carolina operations center. From there, they can take control of your screen to show you how to accomplish common tasks, change settings, or fix any problems you might be experiencing. Samsung's reps don't work around the clock like Amazon's people, though; you can talk to them Monday through Friday from 10AM to 7PM ET.
Pre-orders for the Intel-powered Chromebook 2 start today and Samsung says it will be widely available through retail channels next week. The company sells a ton of its other Chromebook 2 configurations and says it's the leading manufacturer of Chrome OS notebooks. I see little reason to doubt those claims. You can bet plenty of people will be buying this one, too. It's not the most powerful Chromebook out there by and stretch, but it's built to last and runs for up to 9 hours on a charge. At $250, that'll suit quite a few people just fine.
Photos by Sean O'Kane