Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 moves from Rockchip to Kaby Lake

Samsung has been on board with Google's Chromebook platform since the first round of retail PCs running the browser-based OS began to ship. The Korean manufacturer has shown no CPU architecture allegiance in that time, being the first major manufacturer to offer an ARM-based Chrome OS portable but also offering plenty of Intel-powered Chromebooks over the years. The company just announced its Chromebook Plus V2, a thin-and-light convertible that tosses out the Rockchip OP1 from the previous-generation machine in favor of an Intel Kaby Lake Celeron 3965Y.

That Celeron two-core, two-thread processor isn't the fastest thing on the block, but it's an upgrade from the Cortex-A72 Rockchip 3399 found in the first-generation Chromebook Plus. The CPU gets 4 GB of memory and is connected to 32 GB of integrated storage. The microSD slot can read and write on cards as large as 400 GB. The 12.2″ touchscreen has a resolution of 1920×1080 and claims 300 cd/m² brightness when cranked all the way up. That content-consumption-biased panel still has a fairly high pixel density at 181 PPI, but it nevertheless represents a downgrade from the old model's 2400×1600 screen with a more productivity-friendly, Surface-style 3:2 aspect ratio. 

Samsung's latest machine has a 2-in-1 hinge design that lets the device dress up like a tablet. The Chromebook Plus V2 comes with front and rear cameras as well as a built-in pen that can detect 4096 levels of pressure. The user-facing camera is a one-megapixel unit, but the (sometimes) rear-facing unit has a 13-MP lens and an f/1.9 lens. That snapper is poised to provide high-resolution photos of the interiors of the user's nostrils when the machine is in traditional clamshell laptop mode, since the lens is positioned just above where the F2 and F3 keys would be on a Windows laptop.

Chrome OS devices started getting access to Android Apps from Google's Play Store a couple years ago, and some Chromebooks have been steadily blurring the line between the two operating systems ever since. Samsung didn't specifically mention Chrome OS's new ability to run containerized Linux applications in an integrated fashion, but we would be surprised if that capability didn't eventually make it to the Chromebook Plus V2.

The machine measures 11.3″ wide (28.8 cm), 8.2″ deep (20.8 cm), and 0.7″ thick (1.8 cm) and weighs in at 2.93 lb (1.3 kg). Samsung says the Chromebook Plus V20's curved-cap keyboard can withstand spills of up to 2 oz (60 cc) of liquid, about 10% of a full venti cup of coffee. The sides of the machine sport a USB 3.0 Type-A connector, an audio combo jack, a microSD card reader, and two USB-C ports that can also serve as 4K display outputs. Samsung didn't provide any battery capacity information, but the internal pack is replenished through the USB-C connectors and has “all-day” life. 

Samsung says the Chromebook Plus V2 will hit store shelves on June 24. Buyers will be expected to hand over $500 in order to leave the store with one.

Comments closed
    • tipoo
    • 1 year ago

    So is the OP chip program dead? It was Google picking an SoC vendor and working with them, but I never really got clarity on what they optimized, if anything. The OP1 didn’t really benchmark any higher than what one would expect from the core types, but people did say user feel was decent.


    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 1 year ago

    How locked down are these devices? Can I install Linux on it?

    • shess
    • 1 year ago

    I care 0% about the CPU speed of a Chromebook, or the amount of flash storage, what I really want is more RAM. Excess RAM can somewhat make up for an inadequate CPU, but a faster CPU can’t make up for inadequate RAM.

    [Yes, it’s sad that I’m suggesting that 4GB isn’t enough. Sorry, I have too many tabs, and whether that’s right or wrong, I’d rather solve the problem with more RAM than more work.]

    • brucethemoose
    • 1 year ago

    Yeah, it doesn’t really make much sense to have a low end ARM chip in these Chromebooks, does it?

    Whatever power you save over x86 is going to be dwarfed by the bigger screen anyway.

      • DavidC1
      • 1 year ago

      I can think of two reasons for the switch.

      One, is because Samsung already makes notebooks and keeping everything similar means lower cost.

      Two, the Google Pixelbook is rumored to have the ability to use both Windows 10 and Chrome OS. This further reinforces the above.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      Probably more about a Chinese ARM SoC vendor being willing to take slim margins, where Intel, not so much.

      • Eversor
      • 1 year ago

      I have owned one of these RK3399 devices and they are great at power efficiency / performance ratio. RK3399 is not a powerhouse but has very decent performance and the six cores are available in a transparent HMP scheme – this is not your old BIG.little dilemma.

      You can also load graphics and all the six cores and see only minor throttling on the A72 cores, which is not something you can say about current Intel devices – just read some reviews on notebookcheck and you will see clocks dropped in half or more.

      Looking at benchmarks for the 3965Y, it is barely faster, although it will be significantly better in Javascript benchmarks.

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