It’s time for Samsung to redeem the Galaxy Chromebook

It's time for Samsung to redeem the Galaxy Chromebook

The year was 2020. Three small-town tech bloggers made their way to Las Vegas to unveil what could potentially be the greatest Chromebook in history. Little did we know that three months later we would be in the grip of a global pandemic but that is a story for another day. At the time, we were expecting to see a new iteration of the Samsung Chromebook Pro V2 and while Samsung didn’t disappoint, we were greeted with more surprises when we landed in Nevada.

Before CES 2020 officially began, Samsung and Google had already released news that Galaxy-branded Chromebooks would be showcased at the annual trade show. Unlike many Chromebook unveilings at CES taking place in off-site locations and side rooms away from the “big news” hardware, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook took center stage in the main hall alongside Samsung’s latest Windows Galaxy Book laptops. This was a huge deal for the Chromebook landscape. With ten years of existence under its belt, ChromeOS was still widely seen as an operating system for kids or a glorified web browser that wasn’t capable of much other than web surfing.

When we got to the show floor, the Samsung booth was buzzing as usual and the tables in the main hall where the Galaxy Chromebook was strutting its stuff were packed with excited tech enthusiasts. Our enthusiasm turned to unbridled excitement as we approached the tablet with multiple Galaxy Chromebooks in fiery Fiesta Red and more subtle Mercury Grey. Once we got our hands on the sleek, elegantly built Galaxy Chromebook, our hopes were fulfilled. Just for a moment, take a look back with me and relive the excitement of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.

As I mentioned, we were completely floored by this new Chromebook from Samsung. The fact that a company that built its name around the Galaxy brand would put that badge on a ChromeOS device was perhaps the biggest thing for Chromebooks since Android apps arrived on the platform. This laptop screams Galaxy. At under 10mm thick, beautifully designed and featuring everything ChromeOS had to offer at the time, this was undoubtedly the biggest Chromebook ever. Until it wasn’t.

morning after…

Well, it wasn’t exactly morning after all. It will be about three months before Samsung’s flagship Chromebook is available to the public. Once it was released in April 2020, things quickly deteriorated. Due to the ultra-slim design of the Galaxy Chromebook, Samsung chose to go with a fanless CPU setup using an Intel Core i5 processor. These CPUs, while technically able to go fanless, tend to put out a fair amount of heat. It wasn’t long before users took to the web to complain that the bottom of the device was getting uncomfortably hot while lapping the Chromebook. While I personally never experienced this problem, there were enough people complaining about it to admit that it was a problem.

That, sadly, was only the tip of the iceberg. The Galaxy Chromebook’s poor battery life was an overwhelming gripe from reviewers and users alike. It became such a hot topic that premium 2-in-1s were being compared to older iPhones that required you to plug in if you planned to do anything. The sub-par battery life was, in part, due to the segment-first AMOLED display that the Galaxy was rocking. If you always use the Chromebook at less than 50% brightness, the battery life was no worse than any other device but crank it up and you’ll be lucky to get 5 hours and that’s unacceptable for a thousand dollar laptop. Especially at a time when Chromebooks barely breached that price range in the consumer market.

Hence, battery life was poor and some devices were experiencing thermal issues. An unfortunate incident but not enough to completely demonize this beautiful Chromebook, right? I mean, some firmware updates can fix both of those issues and at one point, it looks like Samsung is addressing the battery life issue. Sadly, that fix never surfaced and Samsung just seems content to sweep the problem under the rug. a blow.

Then, things really started to fall apart. Reports of the Galaxy’s key frame and track pad starting to fail started surfacing. Missed keystrokes, double-typed space/keys, and even the track pad not working perfectly. Some users also reported audio issues where the speakers would randomly stop working for short periods of time and then start working again for no rhyme or reason. We soon experienced this first hand after our staff purchased a brand new Galaxy Chromebook directly from Samsung. It’s extremely difficult to be productive as a full-time writer when your keyboard isn’t working properly. strike two.

I contacted Samsung to initiate a repair order and was given a shipping label to send the Chromebook to an authorized repair partner. exactly So far, so good. A few days later, the Chromebook came back and everything seemed hunky-dory. Keep in mind, this Chromebook was less than six months old for us at the time. Soon, similar issues emerged. I contacted Samsung to request a refund or exchange and was told that the company does not accept returns on Galaxy Chromebooks. Even though it was well within warranty, our only option was to send it in for another repair attempt. Bad form Samsung. It was clear that this problem plagued multiple Galaxy Chromebooks. Why not make good and issue a refund or at least replace the device and try again? Either way, the refusal to replace or refund our purchase was a failure in my humble opinion. strike three.

It was clear to me that Samsung had made up for its loss and that the Galaxy Chromebook would forever be known as the laptop that “could have been.” Then, Samsung threw a curve ball by releasing the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a dumbed down version of the original Galaxy. While the second iteration avoided all the faults that plagued the original Galaxy Chromebook, it was a Blaze device with a very plastic and overall disappointing look and feel. If you can get one on sale, it’s a solid device with some curb appeal but it just lacks the fit and finish that we saw from the original OG Galaxy Chromebook.

From there, Samsung decided to start producing budget-friendly devices that still carried the Galaxy name and that felt like a complete punch in the gut. With each new device, we wondered if Samsung would ever take another swing at the ultra-premium market. I mean, the company’s Galaxy Book devices are absolutely amazing. Everything about them exudes premium power and performance. It’s clear that Samsung knows how to make a great laptop. So, why not learn from their mistakes and give them a second go?

It’s time

Samsung has never been a giant in the Chromebook space, but the company has been there since the beginning. The electronics giant is responsible for some of the most exciting and innovative ChromeOS devices on the market. Its deep ties with Google make me wonder why Samsung has given up on making another flagship device. Now, we have companies like HP releasing “prosumer” Chromebooks designed to compete with the best PCs available and even Apple devices. The iron is hot and Samsung has a prime opportunity to strike.

The thing is, Samsung doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. The original Galaxy Chromebook is, to this day, one of the best looking, uniquely designed Chromebooks ever. Major problems with Chromebooks can easily be overcome by making them a bit thicker, adding a fan, and using the same key frames and track pads found in Galaxy Book Windows devices. That’s it. Ditch the AMOLED display and use a crisp 2K panel and all the battery life issues are there but take care of yourself. Have a garaged stylus and make it a USI. Seriously, that’s all it takes for this device to experience a complete rebirth and redeem Samsung’s first effort.

The market is finally getting comfortable with Chromebooks in the $700-$800 price range. Samsung could easily launch a true successor to the Galaxy Chromebook priced at the same $999 and no one would bat an eye. Frankly, the ChromeOS ecosystem needs a new Galaxy. Google doesn’t seem to have anything on the radar when you’re talking about ultra-premium, consumer-facing Chromebooks, and HP is the only game in town. A void has been created and Samsung would do very well to swing in and fill it. It’s just my two cents but I desperately wanted to root for a Galaxy Chromebook but fell short. It’s time for Samsung to redeem the Galaxy name and give HP some competition.

#time #Samsung #redeem #Galaxy #Chromebook

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