Laptops

Samsung Galaxy Book Review: Best of both worlds?

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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

The 10.6-inch model has a 1080p resolution on its TFT LCD unlike the 1440p AMOLED of the 12-inch version

But you can fold it back into a plain tablet

Perfect for pure stylus use on the Full HD display

Here’s how it looks from the side

You can see one of the side-mounted stereo speakers, as well

This mode is better for typing with the keyboard, though

The keyboard case attaches to the tablet magnetically

And you can set it up at a steeper angle

I just wish I could incline the keyboard the same way

The keyboard is fun to type on

This is way better than the overly flat keys of the Galaxy TabPro S

But the trackpad isn’t as responsive

A lot of accidental taps and gestures are bound to happen

You’re better off using the touchscreen for navigation

Multi-finger gestures are readily available

Or better yet, the bundled S Pen

Handy for taking down notes and highlighting sections of your screen

This funny-looking tray can accept one nano-SIM and a microSD card

It doesn’t look very happy :/

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.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro Review: Looks good, feels good

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Computers

Intel 9th-Gen Core processors feature ‘world’s best gaming processor’

Headlined by the Core i9-9900K

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Intel’s latest lineup of desktop processors, dubbed the 9th generation, were unveiled earlier today in an event in New York. They’re headlined by the Core i9-9900K, which Intel calls the “world’s best gaming processor.”

It’s definitely a powerful chip, owning eight cores and 16 threads with a single-core turbo frequency of 5GHz and base speed of 3.6GHz. It offers all sorts of speed boosts compared to the previous generation, but you’ll need a Z390-based motherboard to reach its full potential.

Included in the lineup are the Core i7-9700K and i5-9600K, which are equipped with eight and six cores, respectively — no extra threads here. All three chips, unfortunately, are still based on the 14nm process introduced years ago, with Intel releasing an updated 10nm process only in 2019.

Pricing is as follows: US$ 488 for the Core i9-9900K, US$ 374 for the Core i7-9700K, and US$ 262 for the Core i5-9600K. Pre-orders begin today with a rollout happening later in October.

In addition, Intel announced seven new Intel Core X-series processors, which include the Core i9-9980XE (US$ 1,979), i9-9960X (US$ 1,684), i9-9940X (US$ 1,387), i9-9920X (US$ 1,189), i9-9900X (US$ 989), i9-9820X (US$ 898), and i7-9800X (US$ 589). All will become available by November.

Built on Intel’s Mesh Architecture, the top-of-the-line model holds 18 cores with 36 threads to handle the most demanding tasks needed by professionals. Even wilder is the upcoming Intel Xeon W-3175X and its 28 core and 56 thread count, but it has no price yet —  only a release date of December 2018.

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Computers

Microsoft announces Windows 10 October 2018 Update

What’s new in Windows 10?

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The sixth major update for Microsoft’s popular operating system is here. During their event, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

The latest version of Windows 10 comes with a bunch of new features that Microsoft has been testing for a while, including a new snipping software, a dark theme for File Explorer, a cloud-enabled clipboard, and a new sign-in option.

Microsoft now focuses on Android phones since Windows 10 Mobile is practically dead. The new built-in Your Phone app lets users seamlessly connect and use Android phones with their PC. Additionally, using the Microsoft Launcher, users can also access their Timeline on mobile. On iOS, Your Phone is able to send the web pages being viewed in Edge on the PC.

The Search tool is also getting an upgrade. Users will now automatically get a preview of all results in search, including documents, emails, and files.

SwiftKey, a Microsoft-owned keyboard app, is finally available in the touch keyboard.

There are improvements coming to Edge too, like an offline dictionary and grammar tools. Windows Mixed Reality and Office get updated features as well.

Windows 10 October 2018 is available for direct download today. The automatic rollout will start next week.

To know more about the new update, you may head over to the Windows Blog.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

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Computers

Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

Incremental updates

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The Microsoft Headphones may have stolen the show during the recent product launch, but the slew of updated Surface devices serve their purpose, as well.

Surface Pro 6

First up is the Surface Pro 6, which continues to be the flagship convertible notebook of Microsoft.

This year’s model is simply a refresh with a bold new color. Now available in matte black, the Surface Pro 6 comes with Intel’s 8th-generation processors for even more power under the hood.

Besides those, it’s mostly the same as the previous model. You still get the signature hinge, 12.3-inch touch display, and colorful selection of detachable keyboards.

It’ll become available by October 16 with a starting price of US$ 899 for the Intel Core i5 variant.

Surface Laptop 2

Next we have the Surface Laptop 2. Like the aforementioned Surface Pro 6, this model is mostly just a refresh.

It’s equipped with Intel’s latest 8th-generation chipset, along with the same matte black finish. Everything else is identical to the original, from the 13.5-inch touchscreen LCD to the Alcantara keyboard and port selection — still no USB-C in sight, however.

Microsoft claims it’s 85 percent faster thanks to the updated specs, and that all-day battery life is still possible.

Like the Surface Pro 6, the Surface Laptop 2 will go for US$ 899 and will begin shipping in mid-October.

Surface Studio 2

Finally, there’s the Surface Studio 2, and it’s the “ultimate creative studio” — for obvious reasons.

This all-in-one PC is equipped with the newest chips from NVIDIA and Intel, making it the fastest Surface device you could possibly buy today.

The 28-inch touchscreen is still around, but it’s brighter and offers more contrast as compared to before, plus it has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity when using the Surface Pen.

All this power and flexibility comes at a price, however. The Surface Studio 2 starts at US$ 3,499 with no exact date of availability.

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