It was exactly a year ago when I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, and while it was a complete Windows system inside a slim tablet, there were three drawbacks: no bundled stylus pen, overreliance on the keyboard case, and lack of ports. The newer, upgraded Galaxy Book — yes, the naming scheme changed once again — fixes one of those issues.
Before we begin, let’s clear up a couple of details.
One: Despite being part of the Galaxy series, the Book is not an Android device like the ubiquitous Galaxy S smartphones; this is a Windows 10 machine through and through.
Two: I’ve tested the 10.6-inch model which comes with an LTE SIM card slot. (There’s a larger 12-inch variant available, as well.)
It looks like a regular laptop upfront
But you can fold it back into a plain tablet
Here’s how it looks from the side
This mode is better for typing with the keyboard, though
And you can set it up at a steeper angle
The keyboard is fun to type on
But the trackpad isn’t as responsive
You’re better off using the touchscreen for navigation
Or better yet, the bundled S Pen
This funny-looking tray can accept one nano-SIM and a microSD card
How well does it perform?
Performance varies depending on which configuration you get. For my test unit, I had a low-end Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage to play with. That’s similar to the Galaxy TabPro S, but there’s one major exclusion: no rear camera for quick snaps this time around.
It’s odd for Samsung to remove a feature highlighted by the predecessor, but this can be seen as a move to make the Galaxy Book look more like a notebook and less like an all-in-one tablet. I’m honestly fine with having just the 5-megapixel front-facing webcam, since I already have a smartphone handling Instagram duties for me.
Another upgrade over the TabPro S I would’ve liked to see is an additional USB Type-C port. Updated models of USB-C-loving notebooks have already opted for two ports, making the Galaxy Book feel so left behind. You’d need an adapter to allow charging and physical data access at the same time — ugh.
Besides those setbacks, the Galaxy Book is totally capable of getting work done without taking up much space on your work desk. During my tests, it only struggled when I had more than ten tabs idle on Chrome, Photoshop running in the background, and Spotify pumping music at the same time. But like with the TabPro S, don’t expect to game or edit videos smoothly on this thing.
Can it last an entire day?
As expected of a low-powered, efficiency-over-performance gadget, the Galaxy Book can likely outlast that smartphone you have on you, but that’s only possible on one condition: you rely primarily on Wi-Fi and not use the battery-hogging LTE connectivity. Without a SIM card inserted, I could get more than six hours of mixed usage, which is two hours longer than I get on most slim notebooks.
Unfortunately, true to its tablet-like functionality, the Galaxy Book comes with a rather slow charger. Samsung promotes its Adaptive Fast Charging, but it’s the same wall charger with a short one-meter cable you’d find packaged with a Galaxy S smartphone, which has a much smaller battery. Filling up the Galaxy Book’s 4000mAh capacity takes more than three hours when the screen’s turned off; charging while working takes even longer, depending on how much load you put on it.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Galaxy Book is an interesting entry in Samsung’s budding convertible lineup; it’s technically the successor to the popular Galaxy TabPro S from last year, but it feels like a different product altogether — and not just in the naming convention.
First, the good: Bundling an S Pen upped the usability of the Galaxy Book by several notches, and the highly improved keyboard makes the experience so much more fluid. Whether it’s on my lap or beside my desktop PC as a secondary computer, this convertible always felt like it was part of my daily workflow despite its unconvincing size.
As for the not-too-good: I really wish Samsung added another USB-C port this time, and did something about the tablet’s reliance on the keyboard case to keep itself propped up. The first issue translates to needing a separate USB-C hub to insert your flash drives and HDMI-powered devices, while the latter means you must hold onto the tablet if it isn’t attached to the keyboard’s stand.
Most consumers might also be turned off by the lack of a rear camera, but I myself never use my tablet’s main shooter if I have my smartphone on hand, which is a hundred percent of the time.
The most affordable configuration (4GB of memory and 64GB of storage) currently retails for US$ 500 (discounted from the original US$ 630 price tag). The only variant being sold in the Philippines is priced at PhP 44,990 (4GB of memory and 128GB of storage).
Alternatively, you may consider Samsung’s more notebook-styled convertible, the Notebook 9 Pro, once it’s available. It solves most of the Galaxy Book’s issues, albeit in a much larger package.