Samsung Pro Review
Pros: Fast and powerful, touchscreen and stylus, reasonably priced
Cons: Less onboard storage than the Pixelbook
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Samsung Pro offers great performance, a slew of features, and a price that is at least reasonable. If you already do most of your computing in Chrome and don't mind storing most of your files on the cloud the Pro will serve you quite well. If you want to push the Chrome OS to its limits and a machine that can store all your files onboard, you'll have to upgrade to the Pixelbook.
After a slew of tests divided into 5 different testing metrics, the Samsung Chromebook Pro proved to be one of the absolute best Chromebooks on the market. For more on how it performed in all of our tests, and how that compares to the competition, read on.
The Samsung Pro was one of the fastest, most capable models we tested, falling just behind the overpowered Pixelbook.
Functionally, we didn't feel like we could slow the Samsung Pro down. Even while streaming video and editing Google documents with 10+ tabs open we didn't notice any lag. If we really pushed the envelope, adding even more web apps into the mix, we did start to notice a small amount of lag, not a debilitating amount of lag, but a noticeable amount. This is the only area where the Pixelbook was clearly better, as it didn't get bogged down at all even with the highest levels of multitasking. However, unless you regularly want to stream video while running Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Office 365 all at the same time, we don't' think the Pixelbook is worth the extra cost.
The Samsung Pro has 32GB of internal storage, which is pretty much standard for a Chromebook. Unless you're looking to store a large media library or a lot of documents for offline access, this is more than enough storage. If you do want the freedom of saving more files on your Chromebook the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA has 64GB of internal storage and the Google Pixelbook has 128GB.
The Samsung Pro has a MicroSD card slot, headphone jack, and 2 USB-C ports. This is plenty for most uses, but may leave you a bit short if you want to plug in a number of accessories at once (ie. an external monitor and keyboard and charging cable).
Interface and Features
The Samsung Pro tied for the top score in our interface and features testing.
Like the Pixelbook, the Samsung Pro has just about every bell and whistle you could want: touchscreen, ability to fold into a tablet, full-sized keyboard, large trackpad, and a stylus. Even better than the Pixelbook the Pro's stylus is both included and can be stored in a slot in the machine itself.
The trackpad and touchscreen (whether used with finger or stylus) are both quite sensitive and allow for easy navigation. We loved using Android Apps on the Pro. The keyboard likewise has a nice feel and didn't cause us any wrist fatigue during long typing sessions. These attributes are very similar to those of the other high-end models like the Google Pixel and ASUS Flip C302CA.
Whether web surfing or Netflix binging, we loved the display of the Samsung Pro.
With a full HD resolution of 2400 x 1600 the Samsung Pro's screen offers very crisp images, both when watching movies and when staring at text for hours and hours. It also produces very true colors and good contrast. Even Christopher Nolan would probably be happy with how his movies look on this screen. Overall this screen's performance is almost identical to that of the competing Pixelbook, right down to size and aspect ratio. The only screen that might have a slight advantage over that of the Samsung Pro is the screen of the Acer 15. This is mostly because the Acer's screen is larger (15.3" vs. 12.3" on the Samsung) and it has a 16:9 aspect ratio, so widescreen movies fill the entire screen. The 3:2 aspect ratio on the Samsung Pro means there is a small bit of unused screen on the top and bottom when watching widescreen movies.
The Samsung Pro lasted 4.8 hours in our battery life torture test, which was fairly standard for most of the models. We really put these machines through the wringer in that test, using a streaming video and maximum screen brightness. The Pro would last longer under less taxing circumstances.
For a 12.3" screen the Samsung Pro offers quite a bit of portability. The super slim Pixelbook is the only computer of the same size that slightly outperforms it in this metric.
Weighing in at just 2.38 pounds, the Samsung Pro certainly isn't going to weigh you down. In fact, it is just slightly lighter than the 2.4 pound Pixelbook. The Pixelbook is a bit thinner, 0.4" to the Samsung Pro's 0.55". This shouldn't be a decision maker for anyone as the difference is minute, but it does make the Pixelbook feel a good bit sleeker. Overall, the Samsung Pro is very portable for a 12.3" computer.
The Samsung Pro certainly isn't a steal, but it also doesn't feel overpriced. For those looking for a high performing, do-it-all Chromebook with both typing and tablet functionality, this is both a great choice and a good overall value.
For the majority of Chromebook users that don't mind storing most of their files on the cloud and want both a good typing interface and a great touchscreen for Android apps, the Samsung Pro is the best choice.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata