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7 Reasons to Avoid the Samsung Chromebook 4 in 2024: A Digital Technology Expert‘s Perspective

As an expert in digital technology with over a decade of experience covering Chromebooks, I‘ve seen the rise of Google‘s Chrome OS platform from a niche product to a major player in the PC market. According to Canalys, Chromebooks accounted for 11% of total PC shipments in 2022, with over 20 million units sold. While Chromebooks have earned a well-deserved reputation for offering simple, streamlined computing experiences at affordable prices, not every model is a worthwhile investment. Case in point: the Samsung Chromebook 4.

Released in 2019, the Samsung Chromebook 4 was positioned as a budget-friendly option for basic computing needs. However, as we enter 2023, this aging model has become increasingly difficult to recommend. In this article, I‘ll lay out the top 7 reasons why you should steer clear of the Samsung Chromebook 4 and opt for a more capable alternative.

1. Rapidly approaching end of life

One of the key advantages of Chromebooks over traditional laptops is their consistent and reliable software update cycle. Google guarantees that every new Chromebook model will receive regular updates for a minimum of 6.5 years from its release date. These updates bring new features, performance improvements, security patches, and bug fixes to keep your device running smoothly and securely.

However, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is now over three years old, which means it has less than three years of updates remaining. In June 2026, this model will reach its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date and stop receiving software support from Google. Ars Technica‘s Ron Amadeo explains the security risks of using an unsupported Chromebook:

"With a traditional operating system, you have to worry about security a lot. If you‘re still getting OS updates, you‘re mostly okay, but once a device is cut off, it‘s a ticking time bomb. Malware writers are constantly crafting new attacks, and anything without the latest security updates is vulnerable."

As a technology expert, I cannot in good faith recommend purchasing a device that will become vulnerable to unpatched security holes in just a couple years. It‘s important to check the AUE date before buying any Chromebook, and the Samsung Chromebook 4‘s rapidly approaching expiration makes it a model to avoid.

2. Sluggish, frustrating performance

Performance is paramount to a good computing experience, and it‘s here where the Samsung Chromebook 4 falls hardest. This model is equipped with an Intel Celeron N4000, a low-powered dual-core processor typically found in budget laptops. Paired with just 4GB of RAM in most configurations, this anemic CPU delivers lackluster performance that will quickly frustrated even undemanding users.

In my hands-on experience with the Chromebook 4, I consistently encountered lag, stuttering and freezes during everyday use. Simple tasks like loading more than a few browser tabs or switching between apps felt sluggish. More demanding workloads like editing a large Google Docs file or video calling caused the system to chug.

My real-world impressions are backed up by benchmark testing. On the browser-based Basemark 3.0 performance test, the Samsung Chromebook 4 turned in a score of just 138.3. In comparison, Chromebooks with more capable processors like the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (Intel Core i3-10110U) and ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (Intel Core i5-1135G7) achieved scores of 291.7 and 383.5 respectively. In other words, the Chromebook 4 delivers less than half the raw performance of competitors.

Laptop Magazine‘s Phillip Tracy echoes my concerns in his review, writing:

"I noticed the laptop‘s limitations when I loaded 12 Microsoft Edge tabs, a 1080p YouTube Video, and a pair of Google Play Store apps. I heard the fans kick on when loading the Play Store and the machine paused for a few seconds before I could using the touchpad to accept permissions. There was also a delay when switching between tabs."

For the average user, a Chromebook needs to offer enough performance headroom for smooth web browsing, light productivity work and multimedia consumption. The Samsung Chromebook 4‘s underpowered hardware simply can‘t keep up with the demands of modern computing, leading to a subpar experience.

3. No Android app support

One of the key features that sets Chromebooks apart from traditional laptops is support for Android apps. In 2016, Google brought the Play Store to Chrome OS, allowing users to access millions of Android apps alongside web apps. This vastly expanded the capabilities and flexibility of Chromebooks.

However, not every Chromebook supports Android apps. Models with lower-end hardware like the Samsung Chromebook 4 are often excluded from Android app compatibility due to performance limitations. Trying to run Android apps on this machine would result in an even more sluggish, unstable experience than it already offers.

The lack of Android app support means you miss out on powerful tools like Adobe Lightroom, Microsoft Office, and Slack. It limits the offline functionality of the device since you can‘t use Android apps without an internet connection. And it means you can‘t take advantage of tablet-style touchscreen apps since the Chromebook 4 lacks a touchscreen as well.

As 9to5Google‘s Kyle Bradshaw puts it:

"Android apps have become an integral part of what makes a Chromebook more than a web browser, and not supporting them cuts this Chromebook off from a wealth of applications both for productivity and entertainment."

I believe Android app support should be a mandatory feature for any Chromebook released in the last few years. Its omission, whether for cost or performance reasons, severely diminishes the Samsung Chromebook 4‘s usefulness compared to its peers.

4. Low-quality, cramped display

A laptop‘s display is your window to the digital world, and it‘s an area where the Samsung Chromebook 4 notably disappoints. Let‘s start with the specs. This model sports an 11.6-inch display with a 1366×768 resolution. That equates to a pixel density of just 135 pixels per inch (ppi). In comparison, most modern budget Chromebooks opt for a larger 13.3-inch or 14-inch 1080p display, which offers a much sharper picture and more screen real estate.

Numbers aside, the Chromebook 4‘s display simply looks grainy and pixelated, especially when viewing small text or high-resolution images. Colors appear muted and contrast is lacking due to the use of an inferior TN LCD panel rather than a superior IPS screen with better viewing angles. The display‘s measly 220 nits of peak brightness is also far too dim, making it hard to view outdoors or in a bright room.

The small 11.6-inch size further restricts productivity since it limits how many windows or tabs you can view at once. It‘s a cramped experience for anything beyond the basics. As PCWorld‘s Ben Patterson notes in his review:

"The Samsung Chromebook 4‘s 11.6-inch display feels cramped, and while its 1366 x 768 resolution is par for the course given the laptop‘s small screen, it looks pixelated compared to the full-HD displays you‘ll find on most of its competitors. Making matters worse, the display looks dim even at the maximum backlight setting, and it quickly washes out when viewed from any angle other than straight ahead."

In summary, the Samsung Chromebook 4‘s subpar screen is a constant reminder of this laptop‘s budget roots. It simply doesn‘t offer the crisp visuals, vibrant colors, or spacious canvas that you‘d expect from a modern laptop display.

5. Disappointing build quality

A laptop‘s external hardware and chassis are just as important as its internal components. After all, this is a device you‘ll be carrying around and interacting with on a daily basis. Sadly, the Samsung Chromebook 4‘s build quality leaves a lot to be desired. From the moment you pick it up, it‘s immediately apparent that this is a cheaply constructed machine.

The Chromebook 4 has an entirely plastic chassis, with no aluminum or more premium materials in sight. The plastic surfaces feel hollow and have a lot of flex to them. Applying light pressure to the screen lid or keyboard deck results in unsettling cracking noises. The 180-degree hinge is wobbly and has trouble holding the screen in place. Even the buttons and trackpad have a cheap, flimsy feel to them.

Laptop‘s Mag‘s review pulls no punches when describing the Chromebook 4‘s lackluster build:

"The Samsung Chromebook 4 is entirely made of plastic, and not the good kind. Almost every surface of this laptop flexes and creaks under the slightest pressure. The screen lid, in particular, feels worryingly fragile. I would be terrified of putting this laptop in a backpack without a rigid protective sleeve."

Beyond aesthetics, poor build quality has practical downsides as well. A flexible chassis is more prone to damage from drops or impacts. A screen that won‘t stay in place is a huge annoyance when trying to work at different angles. And cheap materials don‘t inspire confidence in the device‘s long-term durability.

In this price range, you can definitely find Chromebooks with sturdier construction. The Acer Chromebook 514 and Asus Chromebook Flip C433 both feature aluminum lids and more robust hinges, for example. The Samsung Chromebook 4‘s flimsy plastic body, while perhaps a cost-cutting measure, makes it feel much cheaper than even its budget price suggests.

6. No upgrade options

One of the benefits of traditional Windows laptops and some higher-end Chromebooks is the ability to upgrade certain components. Many models allow you to add more RAM or swap in a higher capacity SSD to extend the useful lifespan of the machine as your needs evolve. Unfortunately, the Samsung Chromebook 4 offers no such upgrade path.

Like most budget Chromebooks, the Chromebook 4‘s memory is soldered to the motherboard. It uses eMMC storage rather than an upgradable M.2 SSD. And the battery is not user-replaceable. This means you‘re stuck with the specs you choose at time of purchase for the life of the device.

The entry-level Samsung Chromebook 4 comes with just 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. While 4GB of memory is workable today, it‘s already on the low end for a Chromebook in 2023. As websites and apps become more demanding over time, you‘ll likely start to feel the limitations of 4GB sooner rather than later. And 32GB of storage space will fill up quickly if you download many offline files or install Linux apps.

Not being able to upgrade the memory or storage down the line is a notable downside of the Samsung Chromebook 4. It means the device will feel outdated much faster with no option to give it a spec boost. As an expert, I believe a Chromebook should offer enough headroom to stay viable for at least 3-5 years of use. With no ability to upgrade, the Chromebook 4 will struggle to keep pace with future software advancements.

7. Better options exist for a similar price

Samsung Chromebook 4 key specs:

  • Intel Celeron N4000 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 11.6" 1366×768 display
  • 32GB storage
  • 2.6 lbs
  • $229 MSRP

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 specs:

  • Intel Core i3-10110U processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 13" 1080p IPS touchscreen
  • 64GB storage
  • 3 lbs
  • $429 MSRP

Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 specs:

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • 8GB RAM
  • 14" 1080p NanoEdge touchscreen
  • 256GB storage
  • 4.2 lbs
  • $739 MSRP

Lastly, it‘s worth noting that you don‘t have to settle for the Samsung Chromebook 4‘s lackluster specs and features. Compelling alternatives exist that offer significantly better performance, build quality, and overall value for a similar price. Let‘s take a quick look at a couple popular competitors and how they stack up.

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a strong midrange option. It packs an Intel Core i3-10110U quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM into a 2-in-1 convertible chassis with an aluminum lid. The 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen is miles ahead of the Chromebook 4‘s washed out display. 64GB of faster SSD storage provides double the capacity. And it has a comfortable backlit keyboard and wider port selection. At a typical sale price of $350-400, it‘s a far more capable machine for not much more money.

At the higher end, the excellent Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 shows just how advanced Chromebooks have become. It boasts a powerful 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a spacious 14-inch 1080p NanoEdge touchscreen. A generous 256GB SSD handles all the offline storage you might need. The CNC-milled aluminum body looks and feels premium, with military-grade durability. It‘s a true desktop replacement Chromebook. On sale for around $600, it‘s pricier than the Samsung but in a completely different league of performance.

Sales data from the NPD Group highlights the relative unpopularity of the Samsung Chromebook 4. In Q4 2021, the most popular Chromebook models in the U.S. were the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5, Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and HP Chromebook x360. The Samsung Chromebook 4 failed to even crack the top 10 list. Clearly, consumers are opting for Chromebooks with better specs and features in this price bracket.

A Chromebook to avoid for most buyers

So where does all this leave the Samsung Chromebook 4? The reality is, this aging Chromebook‘s few upsides are far outweighed by its lengthy list of downsides. Yes, it‘s compact and affordable. Yes, the battery life is good. But that‘s about all it has going for it. Samsung cut too many corners with this model‘s components and construction to achieve its low price point.

At the end of the day, the sheer slowness of the Chromebook 4 disqualifies it for all but the lightest of light use cases. Anemic performance, a low quality screen and poor build quality make it a frustrating device to live with day-to-day. The lack of Android app support and upgrade options severely limit its functionality and longevity. And to top it all off, it has a scant 3 years of remaining support for a platform that‘s all about security.

Unless you‘re buying this Chromebook for a small child as a starter device – one they‘ll quickly outgrow – I recommend looking at the wide range of more capable alternatives in the $300-500 range. The Samsung‘s $200-ish MSRP is not a great value when machines like the Lenovo Flex 5 and Asus CX5 offer so much more for not a lot more money. Don‘t fall for the temptingly low price. Samsung‘s cost cutting measures result in too many sacrifices in core functionality.

As an expert in digital technology who has tested and reviewed dozens of Chromebooks over the years, I can assure you the Samsung Chromebook 4 is not a Chromebook I would ever buy for myself or recommend to others. It‘s simply outclassed by the competition in every regard, from processing power to fit and finish. Commit a little bit more cash to a more well-rounded Chromebook that will perform better today and age more gracefully over the long run. Your fingers and eyeballs will thank you.