When compared to the Samsung Chromebook 4+ that we recently reviewed, the Samsung Chromebook 4 without the plus sign actually measures minus 4—minus 4 inches. Look at Samsung Chromebook 4 Review.
It’s a compact Chromebook with an 11.6-inch screen versus a big 15.6-inch panel in the style of a desktop replacement. Both are basic economic systems, but this Chromebook ($229.99 starting price; $242.51 as tested) performs a little better than its larger sibling. In addition to being lighter and having a longer battery life, the smaller size makes up for the lower screen quality. If you’re a student or simply on a tight budget, it’s a respectable grab-and-go laptop, though it isn’t particularly exciting.
Our Verdict: Samsung Chromebook 4 Review
The Samsung Chromebook 4 is an adequate school laptop. The battery can provide more than 10 hours of light productivity, and it is incredibly portable. The webcam and microphone are adequate for video conferences and online classes, and it feels sturdy and well-built. The touchpad tracks decently, but it’s a little small, and while the keyboard feels okay to type on, it isn’t backlit. Additionally, the screen is too dim to be used comfortably in well-lit areas, which may restrict the locations where you can work comfortably.
- The metal and plastic construction feels solid.
- Battery life is sufficient for an entire day of light productivity.
- Exceptionally portable and light
- The webcam and microphone are of acceptable quality.
- Inadequate, non-backlit keyboard.
- Small touchpad with occasional tracking hiccups.
- During prolonged multitasking, slows down.
- The screen never becomes very bright.
Samsung Chromebook 4 Specific Review
Here are the details:
Price and Configurations
The Samsung Chromebook 4 is available in two sizes: the $229 11.6-inch model we reviewed and the larger, $259 15.6-inch Chromebook 4+ with slimmer bezels. You can upgrade the internal memory and storage from 32GB and 4GB to 64GB and 6GB for $50.
Given its low price, the Samsung Chromebook 4 looks exactly as you would expect. The Samsung Chromebook 4 resembles numerous MacBook knockoffs we’ve seen over the years in appearance thanks to its curved edges and silver color. Its aluminum top is a little nicer than I had anticipated, but the plastic body of the laptop clearly reflects its high price. It looks even more dated thanks to the bulky display bezels on this machine, but I don’t think you should expect more from a laptop that costs less than $250.
The Samsung Chromebook 4 weighs 2.6 pounds and measures 0.7 inches thick, making it slightly heavier than the Samsung Chromebook 3 (2.5 pounds) and slightly thinner than the Lenovo Chromebook C330 (2.82 pounds, 11.4 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches). A little thicker and heavier than the other two is the Dell Chromebook 3189 (3.2 pounds, 0.8 inches).
The Chromebook 4 has a USB-C port (which you’ll need for powering the machine) on the left, next to the microSD reader and headphone jack.
On the right side of the Chromebook, there are two ports: a USB 3.0 port and a security lock slot. Oddly, the USB 3.0 port lacks a bottom edge.
Samsung also says the Chromebook 4 passed multiple MIL-STD 810G durability tests (including transit drop, vibration, high temperatures and freezing, humidity, blasts of dust and low pressure).
Our biggest complaint about the Chromebook 4 is its display. The lack of a touch screen on this Chromebook is the first obvious flaw, especially in light of the near-universal availability of Android app support on Chrome OS laptops. The Samsung Chromebook 3 didn’t have a touch screen either, but the Lenovo Chromebook C330 and Dell Chromebook 3189 do have them.
Let’s discuss brightness next. The first thing I did after opening the Samsung Chromebook 4 was try to increase the brightness setting, only to find out that I couldn’t. Watching a trailer for Jumanji: The Next Level, I saw the white cast of the panel mute all of the tones, from the red bandana around Kevin Hart’s neck to the green fauna around the characters and the browns of the snake that ate Jack Black head-first.
The Chromebook 4 scored only 64% of the sRGB gamut when we scanned it with our colorimeter, almost matching the performance of the Samsung Chromebook 3 (63%). That’s lower than the 83% average for Chromebooks, as well as the ratings for the Lenovo Chromebook C330 (75%) and the Dell Chromebook 3189 (81%).
Keyboard and Touchpad
The typing experience on the Chromebook 4 is generally good. The keys felt a little shallow, but they’re not bad by any stretch. On my first try at the 10FastFingers test, I managed to reach 71 words per minute, which isn’t too far below my 80-wpm average.
The touchpad on the Chromebook 4 is similar in that it can track taps and scrolling reasonably well. The pinching and pulling motions were fluid as well.
On Run the Jewels’ “Legend Has It,” the A modestly sized room was sufficiently loudly filled by a Samsung Chromebook 4. The vocals of Killer Mike and El-P were audible enough, and the sound of the instruments was fairly accurate. Well, there was some. It’s not completely empty on kick. I’d suggest going with a pair of headphones or dedicated computer speakers if you plan on picking up the Chromebook 4.
At this price, the Samsung Chromebook 4’s Intel Celeron 3000N processor and 4GB of RAM offer adequate multitasking power. I divided the screen between 12 Chrome tabs, including those for Giphy, a Google document, and a 1080p YouTube video (Nick Offerman’s Hot Ones episode is delightful), and I only experienced lag when I returned to the Giphy page. The Google doc that contained my performance evaluations of the system continued to function.
The 0.9-megapixel webcam on the Samsung Chromebook 4 works as it should. Snapping a selfie with it, I saw enough clarity to be surprised (you’d be shocked how bad some of these cameras can be) but not impressed.
All the lights behind me were out, muting my mustard-yellow shirt.
It’s nowhere near the screen size of the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, but the 11.6″ The Chromebook 4’s HD display is sufficient for beginners. Although the HD LED display lacks the clarity of a full HD or 4K screen, it is adequate for watching YouTube and doing basic web browsing. However, there isn’t a full HD option, so if you want to purchase a full HD laptop, you must try the Samsung Chromebook 4+ or another model, like the Google Pixelbook i5.
The Samsung 4 only has HD, not full HD, as was already stated. The Chromebook 4 therefore only has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, not 1920 x 1080, as advertised. It will be able to play up to 720p videos on Youtube without an issue, but it won’t be able to accurately render 1080p videos. Younger users won’t have any issues with the low resolution, but older users who are used to a clearer screen might find it to be detrimental to the overall experience.
Battery life is one of the areas where the Samsung Chromebook 4 excels (even superior to what you get with the Samsung Chromebook Plus). According to Samsung, the internal battery can operate for up to 12.5 hours on a single charge. An hour and a half longer than the Google Pixelbook Go, which costs more, this is a fantastic battery life. Only one 5070 mAh 2-cell lithium-ion battery is required to power this performance. The battery life on this Chromebook should easily last throughout an average school day despite the fact that it lacks a fast-charging feature. A great alternative may also be one of the other Samsung models. Learn more when you check out our Samsung Chromebook 3 Review.
Weight & Durability
With a weight of 2.6 lbs, the Chromebook 4 is fairly lightweight. Although it is not the lightest model on the market, your child shouldn’t have any trouble carrying this laptop around with them as they go about their daily lives. This is one of the best Chromebooks you can purchase in terms of durability. The 4 has undergone testing and is rated for military-grade resistance to drops, vibrations, temperatures, dust, and humidity. You might want to think twice before granting your child a laptop if they manage to break this device!
Although this device only has a few connection options, your child should be able to use them. This Chromebook has one USB 3.0 port, one USB C port, one microSD card slot, and one 3.5mm headphone jack. While it would have been nice to have seen more ports included, the USB C port will work for any additional connections (such as an HDMI or DisplayPort connection) that your child may want, provided you purchase the appropriate adapter. Your child will be pleased to learn that the Chromebook 4 has Bluetooth capabilities if they prefer wireless headphones.
Compared to Other Laptops
Here are the details:
Acer Chromebook 315 (2020)
Power-efficient Intel Celeron CPUs are used in both the Samsung Chromebook 4 (2019) and the Acer Chromebook 315 (2020) Chromebooks. Although the Acer has a larger, sharper touchscreen display, a much better keyboard, and a better webcam and microphone, it performs better overall. Additionally, it has a much wider variety of ports and a much longer-lasting battery. On the other hand, the Samsung is much more portable, and although its speakers don’t get as loud, they sound much better.
HP Stream 11 (2021)
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Samsung Chromebook 4 (2019) are both 11.6″ laptops, but the HP uses Windows 10 S, while Samsung uses Chrome OS. Because Chrome OS is a lighter operating system than the HP, the Samsung performs more quickly and with greater responsiveness. The HP can run complete x86 programs if you take it out of S mode, whereas Chrome OS is more constrained because you can only use web apps, Android apps, and Linux apps. Battery life is much better on the Samsung for light productivity, but the HP lasts longer for video playback. The Samsung is more solidly constructed and has a better webcam, touchpad, and keyboard.
HP Chromebook 14 (2021)
The Samsung Chromebook 4 (2019) and the HP Chromebook 14 (2021) are both Chrome OS devices, but the Samsung is an 11-inch ultraportable, whereas the HP is a compact 14 inch laptop. The Samsung is more portable, has a better build quality, and has a better webcam and microphone. On the other hand, the HP has a better selection of ports, better speakers, and a much more comfortable keyboard for typing. Furthermore, the battery life is significantly longer.
The Samsung Chromebook 4 is a respectable option if you’re looking for a cheap Chromebook because of its durability, keyboard, and performance. If only its display weren’t so bad, with scant color and hardly any brightness.
If you want a system with a better screen that still has decent battery life and solid performance, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is right for you. Yes, it costs $50 more, but it also has a touch screen, which the Samsung Chromebook sorely lacks. The Samsung Chromebook 4 is recommended if all you need a Chromebook for is Google Docs and the most basic web browsing.