Rather than upping the ante on specs like most PC sequels, Samsung took the opposite approach to its successor to the Galaxy Chromebook. When the Galaxy Chromebook 2 was announced last month at CES 2021, it was one of the rare occasions where a sequel offered less for less.
The original Galaxy Chromebook hoped to corner the upscale Chromebook market with a raft of high-end features, such as an Intel Core i5 processor and a 4K active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display. It also included a "Fiesta Red" color option as a stylish alternative to the typical gray chassis. With a starting price of $999.99, Samsung targeted the enterprise space to which Google's Pixelbook Go also appealed.
What a difference a year makes. Rather than updating the specs of the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with improved components and retaining the same starting price, Samsung has downgraded the successor in both power -- and perhaps more importantly -- price. With a new base price of $549.99, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is perhaps coming to grips with the reality that many potential buyers aren't interested in dropping a grand on a Chromebook, no matter how powerful or pretty. Its original cost was $350 higher than the base Pixelbook Go, making it a potential tough sell before even factoring in the Windows and MacBook notebooks at similar or lower price points.
At CES, Samsung didn't pin down a specific release date, but that timing is now apparently March 1, as the company's website has the Galaxy Chromebook 2 available for pre-order. You'll get a choice of two configurations in either the red or gray color choices that the original Galaxy Chromebook offered as well. For the $549.99 starting price, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes with a more modest Intel Celeron 5205U processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of built-in storage. For $100 more, you can choose a model with a faster Core i3-10110U CPU and twice the memory and storage capacity of the base version.
Despite being a little pokier and a little thicker (about 4mm more than the original Galaxy Chromebook), the Galaxy Chromebook 2 does retain the 13.3-inch 3,840x2,160 AMOLED screen of its predecessor. However, there is some confusion around the inclusion of a digital pen, as the specs chart says there is a "Built-in Pen (Digitizer)," but the fine print points out that a "USI pen is a separate accessory." In other words, there is pen support built in, but you'll need to cough up another $50-$60 for a Samsung S Pen.
While the Galaxy Chromebook 2's pricing has become more reasonable, Samsung is offering you a chance to save even more money by trading in an older device for up to $270 worth of credit. Of course that amount will vary by device type (either smartphone or tablet) and other variables, but the maximum credit could slash the price of the base model nearly in half.