Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Book
Hybrids are still a relatively small part of the portable computer universe, but they’re also one of the few sectors showing real growth. They’ve become the de rigueur portable computer for C-suite management who want something that stands out but is also great for home use. With that in mind, is the Samsung Galaxy Book the ultimate portable for home and business?
Let’s get the basics out of the way first: the Samsung Galaxy Book is an iPad Pro-like tablet with either a 10.6in or 12in screen, along with a detachable keyboard and a bundled S Pen. It’s running Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors, a dual-core 2.6GHz Core m3 on the smaller one, and a 3.1GHz Core i5 with the larger model. The 10.6in version comes with 4GB of memory and either 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage, while the larger one has either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Both are expected in March with prices, as yet, to be confirmed.
The displays on both models are 1,920 x 1,260, but there’s one big difference between them. While the Book 10 is an LCD, the Book 12 features a Super AMOLED display that supports HDR.
There’s an updated S Pen, too, with a more accurate inking experience, and more precise sensitivity. My initial time spent with it was short and I’ve never been sold on writing onscreen, but I can see the Galaxy Book being the perfect companion for a meeting or press conference in the future. Even better, this year’s S Pen doesn’t need a battery to work.
The keyboard cover is interesting. Even after its most recent iteration, Microsoft’s Surface Type Cover was always a bit too shallow for my liking, as was Apple’s Smart Keyboard, but Samsung has really nailed it with this one. The touchpad is big, with plenty of room for multi-touch flourishes. And the keyboard itself has a surprising amount of depth given its thinness, with each key giving a good amount of feedback with every press.
Of course this is a Windows 10 tablet, not Android. I know what you might be thinking at this point: “Windows 10 just still isn’t a great tablet operating system”. And you have a point, but just the one. Windows 10 still doesn’t have a lot of apps that really make the most of touch and a pen, but if you’re primarily a Microsoft Office user then the company has made a good job of integrating support into its products.
Samsung Galaxy Book: The early verdict
The big issue at present is the price, something Samsung failed to share with us at MWC. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 will still set you around £800, a high price point that’s certainly off the cards for a fair chunk of people. If Samsung can, miraculously, undercut this (at least with that 10.6in model), I can see the Galaxy Book being the go-to laptop/tablet hybrid for the next generation. Until we get official pricing, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic.