Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, a Windows 10 ultra-portable laptop, was supposed to ship shortly after it was announced last August, but was delayed. In January, Samsung announced the Book S would begin shipping early this year, and true to its word, the laptop was released in early February. It’s available for $999.99 from Samsung.
With the promise of exceptional battery life and speedy performance packed inside a light and thin design, the Galaxy Book S looks to be the perfect take-it-with-you-anywhere laptop.
Here are our insights after testing the Galaxy Book S for 24 hours.
So light, so portable
The first thing we noticed when unboxing the Galaxy Book S was just how thin and light it is. The Book S doesn’t have fans, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor, which translates to a lighter build, with the laptop weighing in at 12-by-7.99-by-0.46 inches and slightly more than 2 pounds. That housing holds a full-size keyboard and a 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen display.
A USB-C port that’s used for connecting accessories or charging the laptop is on either side of the housing, with a headphone jack joining the USB-C port on the left side. Also, on the left side is a combination microSD and SIM card tray that slides out from the laptop’s housing, similar to how the SIM card tray does on a Galaxy Note 10. You can add up to 1TB of additional storage.
We’d have no issues toting this laptop around all day long, be it around town or on a business trip. It’s almost too light.
Built-in connectivity is a dream
Every laptop and tablet should come with built-in LTE connectivity. With the Galaxy Book S, we didn’t have to do anything during setup to connect to a cellular network. It just worked, and it was exactly how all mobile computing devices — not just phones — should work.
Using the Galaxy Book S on a cellular network is an excellent indication of the versatility it allows. Instead of dealing with flaky and insecure Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, you’re always connected.
App compatibility and performance
Like the Surface Pro X, the Galaxy Book S uses an ARM processor. That’s the same type of processor you’d find in a smartphone or tablet — not traditionally in a laptop. Because of that, the Galaxy Book S only supports 32-bit apps or apps built specifically for the 64-bit ARM processor. That’s a bunch of tech jargon, but it distills to this: If you plan on using everyday apps like the new Edge browser, the Office 365 suite or Slack, you won’t notice much of a difference.
But if you need professional graphic design, photo-editing or video editing tools, odds are the Galaxy Book S isn’t for you.
We’ve been able to install almost all of the apps we use on a daily basis and have only noticed performance issues with two: iTunes and 1Password. Both apps have been slow to respond, whether moving the window across the screen or clicking on a button, there’s a delay. In iTunes, something as simple as loading a playlist can take up to a minute.
We plan to install and test more popular apps. Hopefully, performance issues are infrequent, because the apps that run without issues are impressively fast and responsive.
Samsung puts the Galaxy Book S battery life at 25 hours of continuous video playback. In our time with it (we haven’t able to test out the 25-hour claim yet), we can say that battery life has been good, maybe even great.
The Book S arrived with a 65% charge, and instead of plugging it in right away, we opted to set it up, install all pending updates and several apps. With about four hours of actual use, combined with the onslaught of app installers, the battery was down to 14% after eight hours. That’s with display brightness set to 80%.
More to come
We have many more questions about the Galaxy Book S, ranging from that 25-hour battery life claim to pushing it to its performance limits; all of which we will put to the test in the coming days. We will have a full review of the Galaxy Book S soon.
You can buy the Galaxy Book S for $999 right now from Samsung, with the option of either Sprint or Verizon for cellular connectivity (you have to pick one, but don’t have to sign up for service).
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.