Samsung, which along with Acer was the first to market with Chrome OS-based Chromebooks in 2011, has announced the launch of its Chromebook 2 Series. With the two new models that will come in 11.6- and 13.3-inch configurations, Samsung is looking to retain its position as the leading selling Chromebook brand in the US.
Since their release, Chromebooks have gained a foothold in the education market, with Samsung quoting Futuresource in claiming that Chromebooks now account for one in every four devices now sold into K-12 schools in the US. Looking to grab a larger slice of this pie, Samsung says its new Chromebook 2 Series boasts faster startup times, longer battery life and an easy-to-grip lid featuring the faux leather stitched design found on the Galaxy Note 3.
Both models cold boot in under 10 seconds, wake up in less than one, and are powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor – the 11.6-inch model is clocked at 1.9 GHz, while the 13.3-inch unit runs at 2.1 GHz. Both pack 4 GB of DDR3L RAM and come with a 16 GB Flash drive, 720p webcam and LED display, with the 11.6-inch model featuring 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and the 13.3-inch model boasting 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Connectivity features for both Chromebooks include single HDMI, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, along with a MicroSD multi-media card reader and a combo headphone out/mic-in port. Samsung's energy-efficient, ARM-based Exynos 5 Octa processors give the devices an estimated battery life of up to 8 hours and 8.5 hours for the 11.6- and 13.3-inch models respectively.
Both will also ship with a package of "premium apps" Samsung values at over US$100. These include Air Droid Premium (a smartphone access and data management service), Wunderlist Pro (a task management and collaboration app), and LittleBridge.com (an English learning app).
The 11.6-inch unit comes in at 2.43 lb (1.1 kg) and measures 11.4 x 8.06 x 0.66 in (28.9 x 20.5 x 1.7 cm), while the 13.3-inch model tips the scales at 3.09 lb (1.4 kg) and measures 12.72 x 8.8 x 0.65 in (32.3 x 22.3 x 1.6 cm). The smaller of the two will come in a choice of "Jet Black" or "Classic White", while the 13.3-incher will only be available in "Luminous Titan Gray".
Both the 11.6- and 13.3-inch models will be available in April for $319.99 and $399.99, respectively.