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Hands on: Samsung’s Chromebook Plus/Pro breathe new life into Chrome OS [Video]


There’s not a ton to get excited about at CES 2017, but two devices we’ve been eager to check out are the ASUS Chromebook Flip 2 and the Samsung Chromebook Pro & Plus. Today, we’ve finally been able to lay our hands on Samsung’s latest Chromebook option.

Both the Chromebook Pro and Chomebook Plus are premium Chromebook convertibles, packing more powerful specifications compared to your average Intel Celeron powered machine. The Chromebook Plus is powered by an unnamed ARM-based chipset, but it seems most likely that this is either an Exynos chipset or one from Rockchip, the latter being the most likely based on the evidence we’ve seen so far.

In the short time I spent with the Chromebook Plus, everything was very smooth and webpages loaded without a single issue. Android apps and the Play Store also performed very well. This was all especially impressive considering these are pre-production units running on unfinished software.

On the other hand, there’s also the more powerful Chromebook Pro. In the few minutes I spent browsing was quick as well, but it wasn’t noticeably faster than the Plus. I’d guess the m3 will show its power under more intense workload, not just with the basics going.

The display was also fantastic with good colors and plenty of room for apps and web browsing. We did notice, though, that when the device is in “tablet mode” it doesn’t allow for split-screen multitasking. It’s unclear if this is intentional, or just due to the beta software.

As for the “Pen” which looks like an S-Pen but apparently isn’t an S-Pen, it’s quite nice. It tucks neatly away into the Chromebook and the touch response is good as well. As for feel in the hand, it’s exactly what you would expect. This feels just like an S-Pen because it basically is the S-Pen from the Galaxy Note 5. That’s to say it works well, but it’s nothing like the feeling of an actual pen.

Then there’s the build of these devices which honestly, is not great. The magnesium alloy build doesn’t at all feel like metal, rather it feels like very cheap plastic. The extends to the lid of the machine and to the bottom as well. Further, the device is very top heavy which means the lid is pretty difficult to open without holding the bottom down.

Overall, these machines look good, but I wouldn’t call them perfect. That said, they’re a fantastic showcase for what Chrome OS is capable of side-by-side with Android applications and they set the stage for the future of the platform.

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Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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