LAS VEGAS - Samsung's Chromebook Pro was built for jotting down notes right on the screen. The 2-in-1 system sports a folding design, a 12.3-inch display with full pressure sensitivity, and a built-in active stylus. It's set to go on sale later this spring, but exact availability and pricing details haven't yet been announced.
What really separates the Chromebook Pro from rival systems are its note taking capabilities; no other Chromebook offers a pressure-sensitive display or built-in active pen. In this case, the pen pops out of the system's left edge, letting your start sketching and writing on the screen right away. The Pro's display folds back a full 180 degrees, so you can easily flip back and forth between tablet mode for taking notes and laptop mode for other tasks. I gave the pen a whirl at CES 2017, and found that writing on the Chromebook Pro felt smooth and natural – even though the pen is a bit small.
The Chromebook Pro's display has an unusual 3:2 aspect ratio, so it's taller than your typical widescreen 16:9 laptop screen. That's a huge perk, since the display won't feel as narrow when you're using it as a tablet.
And you will want to use it as a tablet, since the Chromebook Pro can run touch-based Android apps from the Google Play store. And multitasking on this machine is a lot easier than on your typical Android tablet or Chromebook. Samsung built in a button on the bottom right corner of the screen that activates the split-screen multi-window view so you don't have to toggle between open tabs.
The Chromebook Pro runs on a speedy Intel Core m3 processor, with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on board. A less powerful version – dubbed the Chromebook Plus – will also be available running on a low-power ARM processor. That model will be available sooner, starting in February. Workers will probably want to wait for the Pro, though, since the ARM version is a bit underpowered and tends to lag during multitasking.
Check back for a full review of the Chromebook Pro soon, or stick around and check out our top picks for the best business laptops currently on the market.