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Samsung Galaxy Book S 13

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Book S is one of the first laptops available with Intel’s new hybrid processor that aims khổng lồ be both powerful and power efficient for long battery life. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Samsung’s latest Galaxy Book S is one of the first laptops available with Intel’s new hybrid processor that aims lớn be both powerful & power efficient for long battery life. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Samsung Galaxy Book S is no ordinary máy vi tính as it contains one of Intel’s brand new “hybrid” processors designed khổng lồ give PCs smartphone-like battery life while running regular Windows 10.

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The Book S follows the Book Flex in Samsung’s return lớn the UK PC market, but is confusingly available in two versions both costing £999: the Galaxy Book S hãng intel (as reviewed here) & the Galaxy Book S Qualcomm, which is slightly older and has a completely different type of chip.


The Book S hãng intel looks lượt thích a fairly standard Windows 10 laptop, except it is super thin và light at just 11.8mm thick and 950g in weight. For comparison, the Book Flex is 1.16kg và 12.9mm thick, while the táo khuyết MacBook Air is 1.29kg and 16.1mm thick.


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The laptop feels solid and well balanced, with a good-sized keyboard and a smooth matt finish on the deck. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe backlit keyboard is good, with well-spaced, responsive keys with enough travel – how far down it pushes – for most. The trackpad is wide and precise, but makes quite a loud click when depressed.

There’s a small fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button in the đứng top right of the keyboard, which is a much more sensible position than taking up half the shift key, as was the case with its sibling.

The 13.3in full HD touchscreen is good, but not quite as colourful và vibrant as the Book Flex, covering only 80% of the DCI-P3 colour palette. It can get super bright with a dedicated outdoor mode that boosts the brightness from 350nit khổng lồ 600nit, making it easier lớn see in sunlight. The model tested lacked automatic brightness control, but just setting it to lớn 70% brightness worked well in most scenarios.

The screen is noticeably less crisp than higher-resolution rivals, & being in the 16:9 ratio (matching your TV) means there’s less vertical space lớn work with. I found myself scrolling up & down a lot more than I would on taller screens with 16:10 or 3:2 ratios.


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A microSD thẻ slot is on the underside of the máy tính xách tay in a small pull-out tray. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Specifications

Screen: 13.3in FHD (1080p) LCD touchscreen (166PPI)

Processor: Intel bộ vi xử lý core i5-L16G7

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 512GB

Graphics: hãng sản xuất intel UHD

Camera: 1MP

Connectivity: Wifi 6, công nghệ bluetooth 5, 2x USB-C, microSD, headphones

Dimensions: 203.2 x 305.2 x 11.8mm

Weight: 950g

Hybrid hãng sản xuất intel chip


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There is a single USB-C port in the right side of the laptop. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianFor some time ARM chips, such as those running in all smartphones, have promised to deliver better battery life and similar performance than the hãng sản xuất intel processors used in almost all laptops. They haven’t yet delivered on that promise in Windows computers, but it hasn’t stopped intel designing chips in a similar way to lớn ARM models in an attempt lớn head off the competition.

The Intel bộ vi xử lý core i5-L16G7 running in the Book S is one of the firm’s first khổng lồ try a so-called big.Little design. What that means in English for this particular model is that you have one, high-power processing unit paired with four smaller, lower-power and lower performance units on one chip.

The idea is that the lower nguồn cores handle the simple things, và the high-power vi xử lý core handles the important things. The reason you have this sort of design is that for simple things the cpu consumes less power than the equivalent standard dual or quad-core chip, but it still has the poke to vì chưng heavy lifting when required. It also means this machine is fanless, relying entirely on passive cooling, & making operation totally silent.

In reality the Book S has very mixed performance. When you’re doing too much the laptop really bogs down, feeling slow and ponderous. It was particularly noticeable when first setting up the machine, performing updates & downloading apps – a similar thing occurred with the bộ vi xử lý core i3 processor in the latest laptop apple macbook Air.


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The bottom of the máy tính xách tay lacks vents for fans, but still has small feet lớn prop it up from a table for passive cooling. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianOnce thiết đặt was complete, if I wasn’t running any updates, performance was pretty good. On a par with most regular laptops, handling Chrome, Windows Mail, Evernote, Nextgen Reader & a bunch of chat apps just fine.

It started to lớn come unstuck when I opened a couple of fairly large photos in Affinity Photo. It managed the photo manipulation tasks OK, but was fairly slow doing it. It also struggled a little here & there when I connected it to an external 4K monitor and went into total meltdown when I attempted to mở cửa a spreadsheet while holding a Google Meet.

But that isn’t the point of this laptop. It’s designed to be used as a light-work máy tính that lasts a long time between charges. When used this way with all the apps mở cửa as above it lasts comfortably over 10 hours between charges, which is long by most máy vi tính standards, although beaten by an hour by the Book Flex.

Charging the laptop with the included tiny 25W USB-C charger takes 2.5 hours from dead, reaching 1/2 charge in an hour, which is pretty slow so it might be worth buying a more powerful power adapter. The Book S has two USB-C ports, one each side, and a headphone socket on the left. There’s a microSD thẻ slot hiding in a small pull out tray on the left too.


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The left side of the máy tính xách tay has a USB-C port next lớn a headphones socket. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Sustainability

The Book S can generally be repaired by authorised service centres. Samsung rates the battery for at least 1,000 full charge cycles while still maintaining at least 80% capacity. Samsung also has battery lifespan-extending options on the laptop, such as those that limit the maximum charge khổng lồ 85% to lớn prolong its useful life.

The battery can be replaced out of warranty by authorised service providers. The máy vi tính is not made from any recycled materials & while Samsung does offer trade-in and recycling schemes for other devices, it does not do so yet for laptops.

Windows 10 Home


The nguồn button doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint sensor. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe advantage the Book S hãng sản xuất intel has over ARM-based laptops, such as the Surface Pro X, is that it ships and runs regular Windows 10 home and therefore any standard Windows app.

At the time of writing, the Book S has still not received the May 2020 Windows 10 feature update, as there are some incompatibility issues for Microsoft to solve.

There was some unwelcome pre-installed software, including McAfee LiveSafe, Clonix RansomDefender and the usual Candy Crush Friends & Farm Heroes Saga, which I uninstalled on first use.

Price

The Samsung Galaxy Book S hãng sản xuất intel costs £999 with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in either grey or gold.

The Galaxy Book S is also available in a Qualcomm version with an ARM chip for £999.

For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex costs £1,349, the Microsoft Surface laptop 3 costs from £999, the Dell XPS 13 costs from £1,399 & the táo bị cắn dở MacBook Air costs from £999.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a sleek laptop with a new type of processor that is neither a trang chủ run nor an abysmal failure.

It was disappointing to see a £999 máy vi tính struggle with updates and video conferencing, but outside of those higher-demand tasks, performance was pleasingly snappy. Battery life was also very good for a máy tính this thin and light with a relatively small capacity battery, và without the compromise in app compatibility that an ARM cpu imposes. Therefore it’s not a bad start for the vi xử lý core i5-L16G7, the first of Intel’s hybrid chips.

The keyboard is good, the trackpad too. The fingerprint scanner is in the right place. Two USB-C ports are welcome, as is microSD thẻ support. The screen is good và the outdoor brightness mode really does make a difference.

The Book S is therefore better thought of as a good road-warrior’s laptop. One that can easily be packed, lasts a long time & gets the basics done with the minimum of fuss, just don’t expect it lớn be a premium power nguồn laptop. Whether anyone actually wants a road-warrior máy vi tính in the current pandemic remains to lớn be seen.

Pros: super thin và light, long battery life, normal Windows 10, two USB-C, headphones socket, tiny charger, microSD card slot, fingerprint scanner, good keyboard and trackpad, bright screen.

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Cons: processor struggles when doing a bit too much, fairly slow to lớn charge with included 25W power nguồn adapter, 16:9 screen ratio, lower resolution screen.