Samsung today (Oct. 7) unveiled the Chromebook 4 and Chromebook 4+, two new low-cost laptops that are great alternatives to pricier Windows laptops.
While these budget laptops won't light up the specs sheet, one highlight is the Chromebook 4+'s 15.6-inch, 1080p display. Chromebooks have a reputation for being cheap, plastic machines with small screens. In the case of the Chromebook 4+, you get a larger, high-res panel but at a super-low price.
We haven't gone hands-on with these laptops yet, but the Chromebook 4 and Chromebook 4+ look quite sleek based on the photos Samsung provided us. The Chromebook 4 has an 11.6-inch display and weighs just 2.6 pounds while the Chromebook 4+ weighs 3.8 pounds, which is pretty lightweight for a 15-inch laptop.
Our favorite budget Windows laptop, the Acer Aspire E 15, costs $380 with a Core i3 processor, 6GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. But it costs $80 more than the Chromebook 4+ and is significantly heavier at 5.27 pounds.
Given their price, these devices are targeted at students --- for schools to buy fleets of them. It's a good thing, then, that both laptops have undergone "extensive" durability testing and meet eight military-grade standards. That means they shouldn't power down when a child accidentally bumps them against a desk or drops them from a low height.
“The Samsung Chromebook 4 line is a testament to what can be achieved when you’re focused on pushing the boundaries of convenience and value for computers,” said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. “Given the tremendous response to the Chromebook 3, we worked hard to maintain the features our consumers loved, while still making great strides in design, performance, and user experience with the Chromebook 4 and 4+.”
The battery life of these notebooks should also be good. The Chromebook 4 is rated at 12.5 hours while the 4+ should get around 10.5 hours.
Just don't expect to run demanding programs or play games on these budget devices. Packing an Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, up to 6GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage, the Chromebook 4 and 4+ aren't the most powerful machines. That said, they shouldn't have problems running Chrome OS or playing Android apps.
Other notable features include built-in Gigabit Wi-Fi and a USB-C port for charging and fast file transfer.
Samsung's Chromebook 3 is among the best laptops available, so we're eager to see how the sequel stacks up. We should be getting the Chromebook 4 and Chromebook 4+ in soon, so expect a full review in the coming weeks.