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 1920x1080 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 2400x1600 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.

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