Looked at along the Samsung Chromebook four+ we currently reviewed, the Samsung Chromebook four, with out a plus sign, is without a doubt minus four—minus four inches, that is. It’s a compact Chromebook with an 11.6-inch display as opposed to a huge 15.6-inch panel withinside the fashion of a laptop replacement.
Both are bare-bones financial system structures, however this Chromebook (begins offevolved at $229.ninety nine; $242.fifty one as examined) is a chunk extra a success than its larger sibling.
Besides being less difficult to carry, it has higher battery existence, and its low display best is much less important on the smaller length.
It’s now no longer a delight, however it is a respectable grab-and-move pc in case you’re a pupil or genuinely have a strict price range.
Several Memory and Storage Choices
The base version of the Chromebook four is $229.ninety nine at Samsung’s on-line store, aleven though it’d be extra appealing at $199 (or, higher yet, $149).
It combines a 1,366-with the aid of using-768-pixel display with a dual-center Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a skimpy 32GB of eMMC flash garage. Our check unit (version XE310XBA-K02US) is a $242.fifty one Amazon.com configuration with 64GB of garage. The Samsung webweb page gives a model with 6GB of reminiscence and 64GB of flash for $279.ninety nine.
The silver-grey pc (Platinum Titan, in case you ask Samsung) measures zero.sixty six with the aid of using 11.three with the aid of using eight inches, intently matching the 11.6-inch Lenovo Chromebook three’s zero.seventy one with the aid of using 11.three with the aid of using eight.1 inches.
The Samsung is barely heavier (2.6 as opposed to 2.forty two pounds), however each are clean to toss right into a bag, a backpack, or a briefcase.
The Chromebook four’s plastic creation feels pretty hardy, with out an excessive amount of flex whilst you draw close the display corners or press the keyboard deck.
Thick bezels surround the 11.6-inch, anti-reflective display, with a webcam focused withinside the pinnacle border. The keyboard spans the entire width of the machine. The display tilts nearly all of the manner back, aleven though its slim viewing angles flip it right into a color-shifted picturegraph bad in case you push it too far. You might not discover luxuries like a backlit keyboard or a fingerprint reader.
The port loadout is minimal: one USB-C port, an audio jack, and a microSD card slot at the left edge, and one USB three.zero Type-A port (plus a protection lock slot) at the right.
The provided AC adapter plugs into the USB-C port, because of this that you can not have each the strength plug and an outside monitor (thru DisplayPort adapter) related on the identical time. Bluetooth four.zero and Wi-Fi 5 (the older 802.11ac standard, now no longer 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6) cope with wi-fi communications.
Screen and Sound: Barely Getting By
Acceptable pc monitors graduated to 1,920-with the aid of using-1,080-pixel or better resolutions years ago, however you may nevertheless discover 1,366-with the aid of using-768 panels withinside the 11.6-inch segment.
Such a low pixel remember manner the Samsung might not display first-class details, and letters appearance faintly fuzzy. (As with maximum Chromebooks, you may dial in lower “appears like” decision scaling in case you need icons or display factors to seem larger.) Also, the Chromebook four’s vintage twisted-nematic (TN), as opposed to in-plane-switching (IPS), panel generation interprets to slim viewing angles and dishwater-murky colors.
The display’s low brightness offers you pictures that control to appearance faded and dingy on the identical time, with susceptible contrast.
All that said, the display’s petite length makes it seem sharper and extra bearable than the 15.6-inch expanse of the Samsung Chromebook four+.
It’s subpar, however now no longer horrid. Browsing web sites and batting out emails feels reasonably-priced and compromised, however now no longer like a punishment, withinside the manner that the huge, and actually bad, 15.6-inch panel did.
The keyboard follows the acquainted Chromebook layout, with browser and machine command shortcuts alongside the pinnacle row and a search/menu key in region of Caps Lock. It has a really flat however quality typing feel, with ok tour and tactile feedback. The barely off-middle buttonless touchpad glides and faucets easily and clicks stiffly.
Sound from the lowest-established audio system appears muted or muffled despite extent cranked to the max, with only a trace of bass and slightly audible overlapping tracks.
The 720p webcam captures dim, slightly tinted (in preference to colorful) pictures withinside the Camera app and murky blurs in Google Duo.
Testing the Chromebook four: Patience Is a Virtue
For our benchmark charts, I stacked up the Samsung Chromebook four in opposition to 3 different coat-pocket-length Chromebooks: the Lenovo Chromebook three and the 12-inch convertible HP Chromebook x360 12b, which (just like the Samsung) have Intel Celeron strength, and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, a 10.1-inch removable pill and keyboard combination that is predicated on a MediaTek ARM processor.
That left one slot, which (as in my Samsung Chromebook four+ review) I packed with a far higher-geared up and extra expensive ($629) mainstream version: our customer Chromebook Editors’ Choice winner, the Intel Core i5-primarily based totally Acer Chromebook Spin 713.
In our experience, Chromebooks with ARM processors are appreciably slower than people with x86 chips, so it is no wonder that Lenovo’s Duet trailed the field, whilst the Core i5 Acer raced ahead. The Celeron structures landed in between.
We’ve brought UL’s PCMark for Android Work 2.zero check to our Chromebook regimen. This check suite runs in a small smartphone-fashion window and mimics productiveness operations starting from textual content and picturegraph modifying to records charting and video playback.
The Duet turned into extra aggressive on this check, whilst the Acer Spin 713 ruled again. The Samsung completed solidly, aleven though Android apps are awkward with out a hint display.
Finally, to check a pc’s battery existence, we loop a 720p video document with display brightness set at 50%, audio extent at 100%, and Wi-Fi disabled till the machine quits.
If the Chromebook’s inner garage is not huge sufficient to keep the video, we play it from an outside SSD plugged right into a USB-C port.
Any of those Chromebooks gets you thru a complete day of labor or school, aleven though their monitors (besides for the 13.5-inch Acer’s) are too small to apply easily for that long.
The Walmart-distinctive Lenovo Chromebook three made a sturdy case for itself with the aid of using lasting nearly 8 hours longer than the Samsung Chromebook four and costing $70 much less.
The Lowest Common Denominator
They can be clinging to existence at the lowest of the pc ladder, however 11.6-inch compacts nevertheless fill a gap as ultra-low-price range ultraportables. (Plus, Chrome OS works tolerably on humble hardware, while the final 11.6-inch Windows pocket book we attempted and examined turned into genuinely pitiful.)
The Samsung Chromebook four receives the activity done, however withinside the way of a space-saver spare tire in preference to a high-overall performance radial. If you may have enough money a better-priced and higher-geared up pc, you will have a far extra fun ride.