The recent years have seen the release of hybrid after hybrid, all with one goal: to prove you don’t need a tablet and a laptop as two separate devices. Until the Surface Pro 4, however, none had done anything particularly groundbreaking to uphold the 2-in-1 concept. The Pro 4 was a remarkable feat of technology that left traditional laptops on their knees while rendering the mainstream tablet virtually irrelevant. So what will the Galaxy Book change this trend?
Since its release in 2015, the Surface Pro 4 has been regarded by critics and consumers alike, as the best laptop 2-in-1 on the market. And, although other manufacturers have tried, the result has always been in Microsoft’s favor. However, there’s a new challenger in town, and even those who had complete faith in the Surface are starting to waver. Samsung may have finally made the hybrid that’s worthy to take the Pro 4’s place at the top of the pack.
Unveiled at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the Galaxy Book is meant to be a much bolder entry into the 2-in-1 industry than last year’s Galaxy Tab Pro S. You, therefore, won’t find the design and hardware flaws that plagued the Tab Pro S and kept it from reaching true hybrid greatness.
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Instead, the new device is as compelling on the outside as it is inside, and it seems like an excellent, perhaps even better, alternative to the Microsoft Surface for professionals, students, and creatives.
Samsung Galaxy Book – First impressions
In addition to the obvious differences from the Tab Pro S, the Galaxy Book features a few subtle but important design updates. For instance, Samsung has generously increased the number of USB-C ports from one to two, putting the Galaxy Book on par with the Surface Pro 4, at least as far as connectivity is concerned.
The S-Pen also feels great on the screen, and with Samsung claiming a whopping 4,096 pressure levels, it could very well be the most advanced stylus to date. In comparison, the Surface Pen can only detect about 1,000 pressure points.
Samsung has long taken pride in its displays, and as expected, the 12-inch QHD screen is nothing short of amazing. It may have the same resolution and pixel density as the Microsoft Surface, but with AMOLED technology in play, the colors on the Galaxy Book look remarkably deep, punchy and vibrant.
Moreover, the display covers 99 percent of the Adobe RGB and 100 percent of the sRGB gamuts, which will assuredly earn it favor among photographers and artists that need accurate color representation.
While the Surface Pro 4 has a near-perfect design and a great display, performance has been its most effective weapon against rivals. Going by the Galaxy Book’s hardware specs sheet, the Surface’s dominance seemingly hangs by a thread.
Samsung has endowed its new hybrid with a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U which, depending on your wallet, can come complemented with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Sure, the U-series isn’t the most powerful CPU from Intel, but in slim designs such as these, it’s an excellent choice.
Microsoft is rumored to be cooking up an update to the Surface Pro 4 that will feature a 7th generation processor, but until then, Samsung remains a step ahead. And, although there are currently few choices of hardware configurations with the Galaxy Book, more are sure to come. Perhaps soon, Samsung will have a range of CPU choices to offer, from the Y-series to the Core i7 processors, as well as up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.
Battery life and Extras
According to Samsung, the Galaxy Book can last an outstanding 11 hours on a single charge, and while it’s yet to be put to the test, we can safely assume that the hybrid’s battery can get you through a typical day of productive use.
In addition to the enhanced S-pen, the Galaxy Book comes bundled with a detachable keyboard, which is great because the Surface demands that you buy the Type Cover separately.
With a 1.5mm travel depth, adequate key spacing and three adjustable backlight levels, it’s impossible not to love the Galaxy Book’s keyboard cover. However, and perhaps the device’s biggest weakness, is its magnetic docking system, which limits user modes to three stand angles.
The Surface, on the other hand, overcomes this limitation by accompanying its magnetic dock with metal pins that act as hinges to hold the device together across a wide variety of stands.
A budget-friendly option
The 12-inch Galaxy Book is a premium 2-in-1 that will fit perfectly in the ranks with devices like the Surface Pro 4, the Asus Transformer 3 Pro and the iPad Pro. Samsung may not have said anything regarding the price, but it’s apparent that it won’t be cheap.
However, rather than make compromises to one product and reduce its cost, Samsung has cleverly released a second, low-specced Galaxy Book for the bargain-lovers. The device sports a 10-inch HD LCD – in place of AMOLED – screen, which makes it less bright, accurate and vibrant than its bigger sibling. Nevertheless, it’s still more than good enough for general multimedia use.
Under the hood are an Intel Core M3 CPU and 4GB of RAM which, although paling in comparison to the 12-inch variant, will do just fine for users who want a tablet/laptop for basic tasks and functions.
While the main version of the Galaxy Book is intended for professionals, the 10-inch model is better suited for casual users who have long been hankering for a smaller, inexpensive Surface Mini. Despite its weaker specs, it’ll undoubtedly please anyone looking to buy a Windows 10 tablet on a budget.
Both the 12-inch and the 10-inch Galaxy Books are seriously impressive products. But, as the latter tries its luck among the many cheap tablets on the market, it’s the former that has a real chance at being the best 2-in-1 yet.