For many people, a Chromebook like the Samsung Chromebook 4 is all they need from a computer. With so many computing needs met by smartphones and tablets, computers are no longer an absolute necessity for everyone. However, ever since the first Chromebooks were released in June 2011, Samsung has been at the forefront of the Chromebook revolution.
In the case of the Samsung Chromebook 4, the company took a swing at making an inexpensive model that would be great for families, students, and individuals alike. Unfortunately, Samsung swung and missed as the Chromebook 4 isn’t a laptop I can easily recommend.
The biggest concern over picking up a Samsung Chromebook 4 is its poor performance. Even when it was released in 2021, the Intel Celeron N4020 processor was underpowered. Paired with 4GB of RAM, using the Chromebook 4 for anything more than 6-8 tabs in Google Chrome becomes a challenging experience.
You can go above this open tab number, but I feel compelled to note that more tabs mean more slowdowns.
If you are someone who thinks a Chromebook is right for your needs, you still want something that can go beyond what you think you will use a Chromebook for. By this, I mean that you want a model that has more RAM and a beefier processor for stronger performance.
The good news is that there is no shortage of inexpensive alternatives that you can pick up and do more with.
No Android Apps
One of the best ways to enhance the viability of the Chrome OS experience is to download Android apps. By downloading apps, you can give your Chromebook more features beyond the browser.
Unfortunately, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is too underpowered to take advantage of this feature. Instead, you are stuck with whatever comes out of the box software-wise. This is another big disappointment as adding Android apps opens the door for a lot of fun and exciting use cases with Chromebooks.
End of Life
Google does well for its customers by indicating when their Chromebooks will stop receiving updates. The downside of Google’s transparency is that it also puts a limit on ownership. In the case of the Samsung Chromebook 4, as of January 2024, you only have until June 2026 to receive updates.
After this date, the Chromebook 4 will still function, but it won’t receive any updates including bug fixes. This means no new features, enhancements, or anything that could make using the Chromebook 4 better. Knowing that you have a limited life with the Chromebook 4 is a strong reason to avoid it.
In today’s Chromebook and PC world, using a computer with a 1366 x 768 resolution is just rough. Even with a smaller screen footprint of 11.6 inches, the resolution is a limiting factor. The combination of both the small screen and low resolution means a visual experience that is difficult to use for long periods.
It doesn’t matter if it’s just web browsing, but trying to watch videos even from YouTube is borderline awful. There is no doubt Samsung focused on keeping the Chromebook 4 portable, but the compromises made with the screen make it difficult for me to recommend.
When you consider the panel itself is a TN display rather than the more popular IPS displays found in today’s newest Chromebooks, you also have limited viewing angles. The TN panel also means that colors are muddled at best, so definitely not a lifelike color experience.
I have to think that when Samsung developed the Chromebook 4, speakers were yet another aspect of the hardware that had to be sacrificed for an opportunity to keep costs down.
I would recommend the Samsung Chromebook 4 only if you have headphones or desktop computer speakers. Combined with the not-so-great screen, bad speakers are yet another reason why skipping the Samsung Chromebook 4 is in many people’s best interest.
A downside for Chromebooks in general is the lack of upgrading that you can do after purchase. In the case of PCs from the likes of Dell, Acer, ASUS, and more, you can expect easy upgrades. For laptops, you can often look to upgrade both the amount of RAM and the size of the SSD. In the case of the Samsung Chromebook 4, what you see is what you get.
This is rather disappointing as the included 4GB of RAM is one of the biggest hindrances of the Chromebook 4. If you were able to make some upgrades to the laptop and could overlook the screen limitations, this could be a good laptop for some people.
Unfortunately, without the option of upgrading any components, you might want to look outside the Chromebook environment.
Samsung is frequently known for its excellent build quality across televisions, smartphones, and tablets. In the case of the Samsung Chromebook 4, it looked like hitting an inexpensive price target won out over build quality. There is just something about the Chromebook 4 that makes the build quality match its inexpensive price tag.
In some cases, this might be a good thing but with the Samsung Chromebook 4, it just feels too plasticky and not sturdy for long-term use. This is not a laptop you will just throw in a backpack and take everywhere. I don’t think you need to handle the Samsung Chromebook 4 with kid gloves, but you also can’t treat it like other Chromebooks that feel far sturdier.
Best Chromebook Alternatives to the Samsung Chromebook 4
#1 Best Overall: ASUS Chromebook Plus CX34
In the world of Chromebooks, the ASUS Chromebook Plus CX34 is a real winner with outstanding performance.
As part of the “Chromebook Plus” lineup, the ASUS CX34 includes several excellent features. You get numerous AI-powered tools from Google, including Magic Eraser, noise cancelation, and lighting improvements for video calls. As a Chromebook Plus model, it also has the promise of updates for years to come.
Add all of the great software features with a 14-inch 1080p display, 8GB of RAM, and a strong Intel i3 processor, and the CX34 performs well. Plus, you get the benefit of Wi-Fi 6, so you are even more future-proofed with this ASUS model. Additionally, the CX34 can run the full suite of downloadable Android apps to help give your multitasking skills a boost.
Best 2-in-1: Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
If you are looking for a great 2-in-1 experience with Chrome OS, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is a great choice.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is a fantastic and inexpensive alternative to the Samsung Chromebook 4. Between its 13.3-inch Full HD touchscreen, OLED display, and 8GB of RAM, you have excellent performance. Performance gets a big boost thanks to the Snapdragon SC7180, which is terrific for less-demanding hardware. You also get 128GB of eMMC flash memory, which flies on the Duet 5 Chromebook.
Undoubtedly the best aspect of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is the ability to detach the screen for a tablet experience. ChromeOS still needs some additional enhancements to match Android on a tablet, but it’s good enough for web browsing and streaming your Netflix favorites.
7 Reasons I Would Not Buy the Samsung Chromebook 4 in 2024
|The Intel processor inside the Samsung Chromebook 4 is too slow.
|No Android Apps
|You cannot download Android apps on the Chromebook 4 for improved multitasking.
|End of Life
|The Chromebook 4 will stop receiving updates in June 2026.
|The small screen offers disappointing resolution quality.
|It’s best to use headphones with the Samsung Chromebook 4.
|You cannot upgrade RAM or hard drive space with the Chromebook 4.
|The plasticky feel of the Chromebook 4 feels too cheap.
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