Google and Samsung have teamed up on a pair of new Chromebooks that made their debut at the CES 2017 taking place in Las Vegas. The new models, the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, offer 2-in-1 designs that can transform from laptop to tablet form and each offers a 360-degree rotating touchscreen, quad HD screen, built-in digitized pen and a new metal design.
Each new model will have 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage and Samsung said the batteries can last up to eight hours. The devices will also come with an enhanced battery life extender to lengthen productivity time. The Plus will launch next month for $449, while the Pro is set to arrive sometime in the spring for an undisclosed price.
The Chromebooks are likely being positioned as less-expensive alternatives to Apple’s iPad Pro, which starts at around $699, and the Surface Pro, priced starting at $899, but with the added benefit of an included stylus and the ability to more easily switch between laptop and tablet mode, thanks to the rotating touchscreen.
Machines Appear Virtually Identical
“With the Chromebook Plus and Pro, we’re partnering with Google to pair a sleek design with supreme flexibility, encouraging users to experience more with Google Play and Android apps, while continuing to provide simplicity, top-rated security and shareability inherent in Chromebooks,” said Alanna Cotton, vice president of product marketing at Samsung Electronics America.
From the specifications, the two devices appear virtually identical. The only differences between the Plus and the Pro are to be found in the processor — the Plus uses an ARM-based OP1 chip, while the Pro uses an Intel Core M3 — and graphics ability — the Plus uses internal graphics, while the Pro comes with Intel HD Graphics 515.
Both feature a lightweight design that has them tipping the scales at 2.38 pounds. At just a shade wider than 11 inches across, both devices should easily slide into whatever bag you choose while still offering a full-size keyboard.
Chromebook with a Stylus
Samsung is also talking up the stylus that comes included with both models, a first for a Chromebook. The company said the pen, which will enable users to capture on-screen content, comes with a 0.7mm tip with pressure sensitivity that will allow for more precise control and a more natural writing experience. The device also comes with a slot on the side where the stylus can be securely stored when not in use. It also acts as a laser pointer that can be used during presentations.
App availability is another major selling point that both Samsung and Google are emphasizing. The devices were designed specifically with the Google Play store in mind, allowing users to easily download Android apps on their machines. The platform comes pre-installed.
“The Chromebook Plus and Pro are for the user that wants to do more, create more and get more done all while staying connected,” according to Samsung. “The new Chromebooks deliver a powerful multitasking multi-window experience allowing users to browse on Chrome, work in Google Drive and chat easily with friends on Google Hangouts.”