Samsung Announces Budget 'Chromebook 3' For Early 2016

Samsung announced its next-generation budget Chromebook, called the “Chromebook 3,” which targets consumers, businesses and schools alike.

Samsung seems to be committed to creating Chromebooks, especially as it has seen a rise in popularity for Chromebooks in the past few years. Samsung was also one of the first companies to make a Chromebook, which has allowed it to remain one of the top Chromebook makers to this day, as well.

“We’re seeing more and more people flocking to Chromebooks as families, students and other consumers seek out easy-to-use, highly portable and affordable laptops as resources for personal use, education and even work,” said Gary Riding, senior vice president, Mobile Computing at Samsung Electronics America.

He added that “Samsung recognized that demand when we launched the first-ever Chromebook in 2011. We’re continuing to keep up with evolving consumer needs with this new iteration, which offers even more convenient features that solve consumers’ pain points, like all day battery life and fast charging capabilities.”

The new Samsung Chromebook 3 is a 2.53-pound lightweight device with a reinforced metal body to make it sturdier. It’s also easier to grip than previous generations, which helps with carrying it around and avoiding accidental drops.

The device comes with a Celeron N3050 chip, based on 14nm Intel Atom technology. It has a dual-core CPU with a base frequency of 1.6 GHz and a bundled Intel HD Graphics chip with 12 execution units (“cores”) with a 320 MHz base clock speed.

The Chromebook 3 has an 11.6” display with a 1366x768 resolution. For a while it looked like Chromebook makers were trying to bring higher quality and higher resolution 1080p IPS panels to Chromebooks, but now it seems the trend is to keep the old panels from a few years ago and cut the retail price instead.

This likely means we’re going to keep seeing 1366x768 TN panels for longer than we would’ve expected otherwise, despite the rise in 1080p IPS displays even on mid-range smartphones. The OEMs’ choice of going with more expensive Intel Atom-based chips instead of performance-equivalent ARM chips may have also played a role in continuing to use cheaper older panels on new Chromebooks.

Samsung’s device also comes with 16 GB of eMMC storage, a choice between 2 GB and 4 GB of RAM, support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, an HD webcam, as well as support for single USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports. The company promised the device will have “up to 11h of battery life,” but that will likely only be achieved under conditions of minimum usage.

The Chromebook 3 is supposed to be a budget device, so we should expect a price of around $200-$300, but Samsung hasn’t given out the pricing details yet. The device is expected to ship early 2016.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. 

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