Samsung Chromebook Plus Packs Pen, Touchscreen for $449

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Now that Chrome OS lets you access Android apps from the Google Play store, you're going to be seeing a lot more Chromebooks with touchscreens. Samsung's Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, which start at $449, go even further by including a pen and enhanced multitasking capabilities.

I had a chance to go hands-on with the two new convertibles at CES 2017, and they're pretty impressive little machines if you're willing to pay a premium.

Pen on Board

The Chromebook Pro and Chromebook Plus are slick 12.3-inch laptops that double as tablets, with a full metal design that weighs just 2.4 pounds. They include a pen that pops out of the right side of the system, letting you take notes with Google Keep and other apps in the Google Play store. The app is smart enough to recognize characters, so you can search through your handwritten notes afterwords. 

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The digitized pen will work with other apps as well, whether it's for sketching or drawing. However, I found that the pen didn't write as smoothly as the S Pen on Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 (RIP.) Samsung includes other pen utilities, such as a magnify feature, digital laser pointer and the ability to capture screenshots.

MORE: Best Chromebooks Available Now

Quad HD Screen, Two CPU Options

The Chromebook Plus is powered by an ARM processor, while the Pro offers an Intel Core m3 chip. Both convertibles come with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Samsung says users can expect 8 hours of battery life.

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The two Samsung Chromebooks offer a quad HD (2400 x 1600) pixel screen made with Gorilla Glass 3. Interestingly, the display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes it feel more natural in the crook of your arm when being used as a tablet.

In terms of ports, you get two USB-C ones, as well as a microSD card slot. 

Multi-Window Support

Samsung added another feature to the Chromebook Plus and Pro, and that's a button in the bottom right corner of the screen that activates a multi-window feature. This makes it easy to work on multiple apps at the same time, as opposed to switching between tabs. 
 
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Pricing and Availability

The ARM-powered Chromebook Plus starts at $449 and will be available in February through major retailers, such as Best Buy. The more powerful Core m3-fueled Chromebook Pro will be available this spring.

Outlook

While the two notebooks are on the pricey side, the premium design, pen capability and multitasking abilities of the Chromebook Plus and Pro make them stand out. We look forward to putting these convertibles through their paces. 

 

 
 
 

 

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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4 comments
  • Monica Says:

    When is samsung chromebook plus and pro available in store and online to buy?

  • Monica Says:

    When is samsung chromebook plus and pro available in store and online to buy?

  • RShack Says:

    Do they have backlit keyboards?

  • JuanSoto Says:

    The Samsung Chromebook Pro sounds like it could be a Pixel 2 (2015) killer - *if* the price is right.

    The one general-purpose laptop that blew me away over the last couple of years was the Pixel 2. It had everything going for it except for price, local storage and OS. It suffered from Linux compatibility issues (only recently fixed, I think, with 4.9 kernel).

    Samsung's Chromebook Pro (with the x86 chip) and a delicious 3:2 aspect ratio could really catapult it into immediate cult status among Linux users. Local storage still sucks but a microSD card can fix this. I hope this thing isn't too pricey. I already have the Pro pegged as my next laptop if about $600 (or is this wishful thinking?)

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