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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: A cracking compact convertible

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £419
inc VAT/£499 inc VAT (LTE)

If you can live with the lack of horsepower this is one of the best compact Chromebooks around


  • Strong compact 2-in-1 design
  • Great high-resolution screen
  • Wi-Fi 6 plus optional 4G
  • Stays quiet and cool


  • Low-end performance
  • Average keyboard
  • Only 4GB of RAM

There’s been no shortage of small-screen Chromebooks in the past five years, but models we could recommend have been few and far between. Too often they’ve exhibited the worst characteristics of budget Chromebooks, from tiny, dim HD screens with massive bezels to creaky plastic shells, rattly keyboards and the slowest, bargain-basement CPUs.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 bucks that trend. It’s far from perfect but it’s a fine ultraportable Chromebook that gets more right than it gets wrong.

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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: What you need to know

The Chromebook 2 360 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with an unusual 12.4in screen. Not only is it slightly larger than the 11.6in screens we’ve seen on similar devices but it also has an abnormally high WQXGA resolution (2,560 x 1,600), which gives you a much crisper, clearer image than the 1,366 x 768 resolution you’ll find on cheaper 11.6in Chromebooks.

If only the rest of the specification was so advanced: an Intel Celeron N4500 CPU with 4GB of RAM is the definition of bog standard. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 comes in two variants, with the base model rocking 64GB of eMMC storage, while the LTE version packs in 4G connectivity and 128GB of storage.

READ NEXT: The best 2-in-1 laptops available

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Price and competition

It isn’t hard to find cheaper 11.6in alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360. The Lenovo Ideapad Flex 3i Chromebook, the HP 11a-na0502sa and the Acer Chromebook Spin 311, all can be found for £150 to £250. However, all three have slow Intel or Mediatek processors and basic HD screens.

To get something better, you really need to move up the price scale to 13.3in Chromebooks such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (£400) or consider tablet models with detachable keyboards, such as the HP Chromebook X2 11 (£480) or the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet (£260).

The latter is due to be replaced soon by the new Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 3 but this has yet to be seen in the wild. Again, these Chromebooks come with higher prices than the basic 11.6in devices but deliver brighter, higher-resolution screens and an even more versatile design.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Design

Most 2-in-1 convertible Chromebooks don’t work particularly well as tablets. They’re usually too heavy and too bulky, with chunky bezels, and the HD screens don’t hold up for use at close range.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 just about works, however. Fold the base flat against the rear of the screen and it’s still a pretty meaty tablet – it’s about 18mm thick in this configuration and weighs 1.28kg – but it feels well balanced. The bottom bezel is a little oversized but the display looks pretty good, and responds well to taps and gestures.

It’s even better when used as a standard clamshell laptop. The plastic feels sturdy, it hits MIL-STD 810G standards for shock resistance and the keyboard is spill-resistant. It feels more like a premium Chromebook than it really ought to at this price.

Connectivity isn’t exceptional, but you get two USB-C ports, a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a microSD card slot. Both models have Wi-Fi 6 2×2 networking and Bluetooth 5.1, and the pricier LTE model has a slot for a 4G SIM card.

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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Keyboard and touchpad

Samsung has made the most of the space available for the keyboard and, while I’d have liked a slightly wider left shift key, there’s little to grumble about in terms of key size, spacing or layout. The key action is more okay than great – there’s a little wobble in the keys as you tap downwards – but there’s nothing that you can’t get used to. I’ve typed on better keyboards, but I’ve also used far worse.

There’s nothing fancy about the trackpad but the plastic surface is smooth, there’s no hint of lag when you’re moving the pointer and multitouch gestures register without a hitch. Crucially, I found the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 a very usable device while working under shade on a garden table or while out and about. It’s well balanced on the lap, it’s silent and it stays nice and cool.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Display and sound

The display is unquestionably the best thing about this Chromebook. At its native resolution text and icons are absolutely tiny, but use Chrome OS’s scaling capabilities and set the resolution to, say, 1,600 x 1,000 and you get crisp text, smooth images and plenty of detail for whatever you want to do.

It’s fairly bright by Chromebook standards, with a maximum luminance of 349cd/m², and contrast is decent at 3,013:1. I can’t even fault it on colour handling. It generates 98.1% of the sRGB gamut and 90.9% of DCI P3, while the average Delta E of 3.53 is more the result of some slightly overcooked blues than any serious colour inaccuracy. In use, for streaming video or playing Stadia games, it’s one of the best displays I’ve come across on a compact Chromebook.

The sound system is also surprisingly good. As with most smaller Chromebooks there’s not much bass and the mid-range grows harsh as you push the volume upwards but, at lower volumes, it’s fine for background music, while the wide, precise positioning makes it better than you’d expect for streaming TV and films.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best Chromebooks to buy

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Performance and battery life

Now we come to what looks like a dealbreaker. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 looks and feels like a mid-range Chromebook but its core specification holds it down in low-end territory. Across our browser-based Chrome OS benchmarks, speeds are similar to cheaper models with the same Intel Celeron N4500 and 4GB combo and a way behind faster mid-range Chromebooks with Intel Pentium Gold 7505 and Intel Core i3 CPUs. The only comfort for Samsung is that similar devices with Mediatek or Qualcomm Snapdragon 7C CPUs are even slower.What’s more, that specification could hold you back if you’re running Android apps. The HP Chromebook X2 11, with its Snapdragon 7C, posts a faster Geekbench 5 multicore performance score than the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360. The same goes for the Acer Chromebook 314 with its Mediatek MT8183C.Gaming is another area where the Celeron N4500 lags behind. The high-resolution screen means lower frame rates in the GFXBench Manhattan and Car Chase tests but even in the offscreen tests, which render at a fixed 1080p, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 is slower than the Chromebook X2 11 and Chromebooks with the speedier Pentium CPUs.

How much of a deal breaker this is will depend on how you plan to use your Chromebook. Running the Chrome browser with six or seven tabs open, flicking between Google Docs and Google Sheets, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 doesn’t actually feel slow. I’ve had the odd pause switching from one video-heavy site to another, but nothing seriously aggravating.

If you’re planning to use a lot of Android apps or experiment with Linux through Google’s Crostini tech, however, then you really need to look at something with more performance, preferably with a future-proof 8GB of RAM.

On the plus side, the Celeron N4500 has two benefits. First, it helps the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 run cool and quiet; I don’t think I’ve seen a Pentium-powered Chromebook with passive cooling but there are no noisy fans to be heard here. Second, battery life is great for such a small device. I managed to play over nine-and-a-half hours of HD video playback before Samsung’s little wonder finally ran out of juice and I didn’t need to recharge it at all during a day of nearly constant use.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 review: Verdict

With a slightly faster CPU and double the RAM, I’d probably be telling you the Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 is the best small-screen Chromebook out there, particularly if you want a convertible clamshell rather than a tablet.

As is it, it’s still a fine option – well designed, comfortable to use and with an impressive high-res screen. Just be aware that performance isn’t up there with the best mid-range Chromebooks and this might limit how you use it as time goes on.

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