Samsung's most recent Chromebooks are among some of the better made out there. But its higher end fare—like the HD 13-inch Chromebook 2—is a little expensive. The new Chromebook 2 11-inch brings that design into a more budget $250 package.
The 11-inch Chromebook 2 has the same faux-leather back that Samsung's become so fond of, paired with a pretty meh 720p screen, and a frame that actually has internal metal reinforcement around its edges for added durability. Inside, the new 11-inch Chromebook 2 runs an Intel Celeron processor instead of Samsung's own Exynos. Which is promising, since Exynos chips tend to be better suited for phones or tablets, and have left previous Chromebooks reeling.
The Chromebook 2 also has a new, exclusive "help" app, much like Amazon's "Mayday," which can connect users with folks at a Samsung support center, who will video chat them and help them suss out ChromeOS or the Chromebook it's running on.
I got a chance to spend some time with this new 11-inch. Not enough for a full review, but enough to get some general impressions. The hardware is pretty damn great. It's kind of gross-looking, yeah, but it holds together well. The keyboard is one of the best I've come across on a ~$250 Chromebook. Pounding out emails is no trouble, which is more than I can say for other similarly priced like the Acer c720.
The performance, though, still leaves a lot to be desired. Typing websites into the URL bar was constantly laggy, and while the Chromebook never lost any of what I typed—text would only show up after an irritating delay. That, and the Chromebook totally joked under more intensive WebGL tests. Choppy framerates all over the place.
Pre-orders for the new 'lil Chromebook start today, and it should start popping up through retail channels in the next week.