Amidst all the chaos of Galaxy Unpacked yesterday, Samsung managed to sneak in an extra announcement alongside the new Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. It’s called the Galaxy Book S, and it’s Samsung’s vision of the “future of mobile computing.”
Let’s take a step back for a second, though. We’ve heard this pitch before. Apple thinks strapping a keyboard to an iPad Pro is the future of mobile computing, while Microsoft is on board with a similar but much more powerful and versatile approach. Then there are companies who think 2-in-1 laptops are what will take us into the next age of mobile computing. With all these ideas of what mobile computing could be, Samsung has to take its own approach, and it appears that approach is what’s essentially an ARM-powered Windows 10 MacBook.
The Galaxy Book S is a laptop in its truest form. It comes with a 13.3-inch 16:9 Full HD touchscreen that’s permanently mounted to its keyboard base. There’s no 360-degree hinge or other means of turning this thing into a tablet. It’s strictly a clamshell laptop, and for what it’s worth, I’m kind of onboard with that.
The body of the laptop is made of the usual aluminum and plastic we’ve come to expect from laptops nowadays. You get a pretty decent-sized keyboard and trackpad combo, and the screen doesn’t look half-bad. There is only one port, though, and that’s a USB-C port. But this is the case with many devices that claim to offer a glimpse into the future of mobile computing, so it’s kind of what we’ve come to expect from gadgets like these, despite it serving a very limited purpose.
It’s also extremely thin and light, which is also to be expected.
This is where we start getting into the reasons why the Galaxy Book S is considered one of the “radical” devices that we might all be using in a few years. Under the hood, you aren’t going to find a typical Intel chipset. Instead, the Galaxy Book S runs on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx processor which offers “the power of a smartphone” in a traditional laptop chipset. To give you some perspective, think of the 8cx as a slightly more powerful Snapdragon 855 Plus.
The processor is obviously ARM-based, so it’s interesting to see full-fledged Windows 10 on this laptop. Not every day do we get decent ARM-based Windows machines, and while I haven’t gotten a chance to play with the device yet, I have to assume the experience using the OS is at least half decent. It’s probably not fantastic, but it should get the job done for lighter tasks.
Because the 8cx is much more power efficient than many Intel chipsets you’ll find, Samsung was able to achieve up to 23 hours of battery life with the Galaxy Book S. Its 42Wh battery should be sufficient to get you through a full day on a single charge. I don’t have to test the laptop to tell you that.
Also thanks to the processor, the Galaxy Book S includes a SIM card slot so you can connect to LTE. Yet another indication that this laptop wants to compete with the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 6 as an ultra-portable mobile computing solution.
For giggles and grins, Samsung also throws in a fingerprint reader, stereo AKG speakers, Bluetooth 5.0, 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and Windows 10 Pro, if you need it.
As an overall package, the Galaxy Book S will be marketed as the laptop that you can throw in your bag, not have to worry about charging, and can surf the web with wherever you are. That’s the idea many companies have when they set out to create something they can market as “the future of mobile computing.”
But in the same breath, this product isn’t very radical. It sticks with a traditional laptop form factor, standard Windows 10, and a somewhat average 13-inch touchscreen. It can’t flip around to transform into a tablet, you can’t detach the keyboard, and it isn’t insanely powerful.
Obviously, I can’t judge this machine until I use it. But for anyone looking to adopt a mobile computer that reminds them the decade of 2020 will see incredible advancements in this space, the Galaxy Book S probably won’t do it for them. It plays things a bit too safe to disrupt the industry.
Who am I to talk, though? I haven’t even played with it yet. I’ll let you know my full thoughts once I’ve had a chance to review this guy. Stay tuned.