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Samsung's $999 Chromebook problem, and more tech news you need to know today

A $999 4K Chromebook? At this time of year, at this time of day, and without decent battery life? Hmm, Samsung, hmm.

Published onApril 7, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook with pen

Your good tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, April 7.

1. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook reviews: uh oh?

We’ve talked about the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook too many times, but for $999 and with almost no feature spared, it was meant to be the next coming of the Pixelbook.

To recap in 14 words: Samsung bet on a premium Chromebook, when most Chromebooks are $500, or much less.

In more words:

  • At 9.9mm thick and 2.29 pounds, this is the thinnest Chromebook ever, and it just looks awesome. Again, it’s $999 so it needs to do everything right to be tempting for more than just enthusiasts
  • Reviews hit late yesterday. The reviews are not particularly good.
  • This can be wrapped up quickly: if you like battery life, don’t get one. The 4K screen seems to destroy the battery.

What else they’re saying:

  • The Verge gives the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook a 6/10, giving the 4K screen and hardware a big tick, but bad battery life is looking like a killer for the $999 expense: “Samsung claimed eight hours of battery life; I got four hours and 20 minutes on a charge, swapping between several apps and several Chrome tabs at 50 percent brightness. It also doesn’t juice back up particularly fast.”
  • Engadget hands over a 74/100, and says “it’s great, until the battery runs out,” and didn’t like the 16:9 screen ratio which feels limited these days. Battery comments: “The best I did was three hours and 52 minutes of use before the laptop shut down.”
  • Wired gave it the best score of the three at 8/10, and didn’t seem to mind the battery life issues, partly because the reviewer wound down the brightness: “…if you turn down the brightness—and you can afford to, since the screen is so sharp—you can coax a full day of use out of the battery.”
  • All reviews noted ChromeOS inconsistencies and found loads of unavailable Play Store apps, once you start looking outside the top 50.
  • I don’t know if there’s hope for this laptop yet.
  • Wired says you can get around it by lowering screen brightness but that’s not always an option as you move in different workplaces and as daylight changes.

Also: The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 is also now out, starting at $799. Another intriguing, expensive Chromebook. Only a few reviews I saw are available and the bad news is that it also has poor battery life.

2. Galaxy S20 Ultra or Z Flip: Which $1,400 Samsung phone should you buy? If any? (Android Authority).

3. The TCL 10 Series will be out in Q2: self-branded TCL smartphones including 5G, and Pro model, pricing starts at $449 down to $249 for the cheapest model, with the 5G model not as widely released (Android Authority).

4. After just six months of simple insecurity, Google has sent out a fix for the Pixel 4 eyes open problem. Not like this Google: it was an oversight that it wasn’t right at launch, it’s a problem it took this long to fix (Android Authority).

5. WhatsApp puts new limits on the forwarding of viral messages to fight misinformation (Android Authority).

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