Using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx compute platform for Windows with LTE support, you’ll be able work anywhere.
Samsung surprised us with a new laptop at Wednesday’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 10. The Galaxy Book S is an ultrathin, ultralight laptop with a 13.3-inch touchscreen that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx compute platform. Like past Qualcomm-based PCs we’ve seen, the Galaxy Book S sips power and is capable of 23 hours of continuous video playback on a single charge.
While battery life was extremely long on past Snapdragon-powered laptops we’ve tested, performance in general lagged behind their Intel competition, including Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2. However, at Computex 2019, Qualcomm’s demonstration of the 8cx compute platform showed it could more than keep up with an Intel Core i5. The new chipset gives the Galaxy Book S 40% greater CPU performance and 80% greater graphics performance than the Galaxy Book 2, said Samsung in its announcement.
What’s equally impressive is that you’re getting the increased performance and battery life in a fanless aluminum body that measures 11.8mm (0.46-in.) at its thickest and weighs less than a kilogram (2.1 lbs.). Combined with its Gigabit LTE support and 802.11ac wireless and instant-on capabilities that work similarly to a phone, you’ve got a laptop well designed to work wherever and whenever you want.
Being so thin, though, you have to wonder if Samsung will run into similar troubles as Apple has with its MacBook keyboards.Though the MacBook’s keyboard has some supporters, Apple has updated the design to address key issues some users have experienced and an all-new design is rumored for later this year. Also, extremely low-profile keyboards like the one on the Galaxy Book S can be uncomfortable, so I’m interested to see how Samsung’s feels during long typing sessions.
As part of its partnership with Microsoft, the Galaxy Book S will have OneDrive cloud storage and Microsoft’s Your Phone app that allows for a seamless connection between the Galaxy Note 10 and the laptop so you can access and move files, photos and video between the two as well as answer calls, send texts and receive notifications. 17 PHOTOSSamsung’s Galaxy Book S is a stunning slim laptop
Although you’ll probably be relying on cloud storage for the most part, Samsung will offer 256GB or 512GB of storage in the Galaxy Book S with a microSD card slot to add up to 1TB more. Both come with 8GB of memory to back up the laptop’s 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor.
The Samsung Galaxy Book S will be available in gold or gray versions in September starting at $999.
Samsung Galaxy Book S vs. LG Gram 15: Both make big battery claims
One is the current leader in our laptop battery life ratings. The other claims 23 hours of Battery life.
The new Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus may have been the stars of the show at Samsung’s recent Unpacked event in Brooklyn, but they weren’t the only new hardware introduced. In fact, the other major product promises to beat the Note 10 by a mile in one very important category — at least on paper. The Samsung Galaxy Book S claims to offer 23 hours of active battery life, while the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus so far only promise “all-day” power for an average user, which probably means intermittent use during typical waking hours.
The Galaxy Book’s secret is that it runs a QualcommSnapdragon CPU, similar to the ones found in many phones, rather than a standard Intel CPU. This should allow for very long battery life, even using an always-on 4G LTE connection. Think of it as a laptop with the DNA of a smartphone.
Video: Samsung Galaxy Book S takes a stab at all-day laptops
But, the previous wave of Qualcomm-powered laptops from a couple of years ago didn’t especially impress us. Battery life in the Asus NovaGo and HP Envy x2 (both tested in 2018) ran about 12 hours each. Excellent, but not the 20-plus hours promised.
These systems also felt sluggish compared to similarly priced Intel Windows laptops, and we occasionally ran into Windows/ARM compatibility problems with some software (rarely, but it did happen).
Can Samsung do it better? We’ll have to wait until we can test a Galaxy Book S to say for sure. But in the meantime, if long battery life is your most important laptop trait, here’s what the Galaxy Book looks like — again, on paper for now — compared to our current longest battery life laptop, the excellent LG Gram 15. The Gram hits almost 14 hours, even with its higher-power processor, but that’s because it has a very high-capacity battery.
Samsung Galaxy Book S vs. LG Gram 15
|Samsung Galaxy Book S||LG Gram 15|
|Price (USD)||$999 (starting price)||$1,999 (as tested)|
|CPU||2.84GHz + 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx||1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U|
|RAM||8GB RAM DDR4||16GB DDR4 2400MHz|
|Display||13-inch 1,920×1,080 touch display||15-inch 1,920×1,080 touch display|
|Storage||256GB/512GB SSD||2X 512GB M.2 SATA SSD|
|LTE||LTE Cat.18/Nano SIM||N/A|
|Battery life (hours:min)||TBD (“Up to 23 hours”)||13:58|
If long battery life is your main concern, then the Galaxy Book S will impress, even if it hits only half of that 23-hour number, especially because it starts at half the price of the LG Gram 15. But, I doubt the ARM chip in the Galaxy Book can match a hefty Intel Core i7 in performance. That’s not a huge deal by itself, but in our previous testing of Windows-on-ARM laptops, the sluggish performance and occasional compatibility issues were noticeable enough to bother me.
The LG Gram 15 is available now, while the Galaxy Book S is expected this fall.
Video: LG Gram 15 delivers a big screen and battery without the weight.
More information: cnet.com