Samsung comes to MWC 2017 with the Galaxy Book, the successor of the famous Samsung Galaxy TabPro S announced at CES 2016 , and refreshed last October with a new paint. Dubbed the “TabPro S2” in the rumors, the second-gen Windows 10 hybrid 2-in-1 has been rebranded as the “Galaxy Book” by the Korean manufacturer.
We welcome the name change, “Galaxy TabPro S” could be easily confused with “Galaxy Tab S”, which is the name of Samsung’s Android tablet line and the manufacturer has just announced its latest addition, the Galaxy Tab S3.
All new MWC tablets come with the latest Samsung S-Pen that features the same technology found in the Galaxy Note 7’s S-Pen, with the addition of a tilt detection optimization present on the Windows 10 models. I have played briefly with the Galaxy Book 10” and the Galaxy Book 12”, and here are my first impressions:
Pros:high quality and large display in a thin-and-light form factor, great keyboard, and an amazing new S-Pen with an almost pen-to-paper experience for drawing. The 12” features two USB Type-C connectors and a more powerful processor, the Intel Core i5u (gen 7), packaged in a super slim body.
Cons: the 10” Intel Core m processor is good for light basic productivity tasks (email, word, excel, light web browsing with a small number of tabs), and is not suitable for compute-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing, web browsing with too many open tabs…
Bottom line: the Samsung Galaxy Book could be a laptop replacement for people who want to travel light and do not need to perform compute-intensive tasks while on-the-go. Traveling artists could use it to replace their paper notebooks, paints, inks, pens and brushes.
Samsung Galaxy Book 12″ with S-Pen Demo
What’s New: Galaxy Book vs Galaxy TabPro S
The Galaxy Book 12” is the direct successor of the popular Galaxy TabPro S, which was the first Windows-powered tablet that looked more like an ultra-thin Android tablet or an iPad than a thicker Surface-like device. Soon after the TabPro S announcement at CES 2016, similar devices started to show up, such as the Huawei MateBook unveiled at MWC 2016 or the slightly different Lenovo Yoga Book, launched later that year.
"THE GALAXY BOOK 12 PROCESSOR OPTIONS UPS THE ANTE CONSIDERABLY"The major upgrade from the previous model comes from the processor, up to 7th Gen. Intel Core i5u dual core 3.1Ghz. The Galaxy Book processor options ups the ante considerably in this category. The addition of the S-PEN and the improvement of the detachable keyboard are also remarkable. The rear camera features a higher resolution, upgraded from 5 MP to 13 MP, while the Super AMOLED display remains at the same 2160×1440 pixels resolution.
Samsung added a 10-inch version to the lineup, with mid-range specifications for the processor, the display resolution and the rear camera (Full HD, 7th Gen Intel Core m3 dual-core 2.6GHz, 5 MP).
Samsung Galaxy Book 10″
- Processor: 7th Gen. Intel Core m3, dual core 2.6Ghz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM – 64GB/128 GB
- Internal memory- microSD up to 256GB
- Display: 10.6” TFT , 1920×1080 pixels, 207 ppi
- Network: LTE Cat 6 ready (300 MBps downlink)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, Wifi 802.11 a/b/c/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct
- Front camera:5 MP
- Rear camera: 5 MP
- Dimensions: 261.2 x 179.1 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 654g
Samsung Galaxy Book 12″
- 7th Gen. Intel Core i5u, dual core 3.1Ghz
- 4 GB RAM – 64GB/128 GB – microSD up to 256GB
- 12.0” Super AMOLED, 2160×1440 pixels, 216 ppi
- Connectors: 3.5 mm audio jack, 2 USB Type-C
- Network: LTE Cat 6 ready (300 MBps downlink)
- Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2, Wifi 802.11 a/b/c/n/ac, WiFi Direct
- Rear camera: 13 MP AF
- Front camera: 5 MP
- Dimensions: 291.3 x 199.8 x 7.4 mm
- Weight: 754g
Industrial Design (Excellent)
A hair thicker than its older sibling, the Galaxy Book 12” still delivers a sleek and elegant product design with a new metal back cover in silver finish. Samsung added a second USB 3.1 Type-C connector on the right side, close to the 3.5 mm audio jack. The second USB-C port is very important in terms of usability because it greatly mitigates the need for buying and carrying a multi-port extension accessory.
One speaker is located at the top alongside the SIM card slot, and the other one is on the same side as the connectors.
The smaller version, on the other hand, does not get a second USB connector, and features a lower resolution TFT display instead of a Super AMOLED.
Keyboard (Very Good)
Since the Galaxy Book is a productivity device powered by Windows 10, Samsung made sure to build a top-notch keyboard with an ultra-slim form factor, with a longer travel depth (1.5 mm) than the previous model. I was able to compare with our TabPro S review unit, and the typing experience is indeed more comfortable. So we now understand where the additional 1.1 mm thickness in the new 12-inch version comes from, and it quite fine with me!
Samsung paid particular attention to the keyboard design and the spokesperson went into a lot of details on that part during the briefing. The key pitch for the 12-inch version is 17.5 mm, and 17.4 mm for the 10-inch, which is quite good since the recommended/standard distance on a full-size keyboard is 18-19 mm.
"THE GALAXY BOOK KEYBOARD DESIGN IS IMPRESSIVE"The trackpad size in the Galaxy Book 12” is also 50% larger than the older model, which makes a huge difference when it comes to the comfort of use. Finally, Samsung added 3-level backlit to the mix. There is no need to charge the keyboard since it does not work when it is detached and does not offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The “wired” nature of this keyboard ensures there is no lag or connectivity issues.
The Galaxy Book keyboard design is impressive because it offers a true PC laptop typing experience in a form-factor that traditionally had to deal with (a lot of) compromises.
Display (Very Good)
On the display front, we always expect the best from Samsung, knowing that the Korean manufacturer is a leading provider of small-size AMOLED panels. The Galaxy Book 12” gets the higher resolution Super AMOLED display at 2160×1440 pixels (216 ppi) while the 10-inch model delivers a slightly lower pixel density of 207 ppi, due to its Full HD (1980×1920) resolution on a TFT panel.
S-Pen – optimized for Adobe (Excellent)
Besides the keyboard, the star of the show is the brand new S-Pen that was not part of the first generation. The S-Pen integration is optimized for Windows 10, in partnership with Adobe, to automatically recognize when the digital pen tilts in the Adobe software.
The ERM Wacom technology inside is the same as the S-Pen we tried with the Galaxy Note 7 a few months back, and it delivers the same 4096 level of sensitivity in a 0.7 mm tip. The physical design, however, is different, with a slightly thicker and more angular form factor that prevents the S-Pen to rolling out of your desk. With the ERM technology, no need to charge the digital pen, since all the sensors are inside the tablet.
For the past few years, I have tried several generations of S-Pen and a few other digital pens, so I can say that the new S-Pen experience is really great. It feels almost like drawing with a real pen-on-paper, since the tilt option allows to subtly modulate the thickness of your line on the fly, by tilting the tip, just like you do when drawing with analog tools. Although professional artists would probably argue that the feel is still different, the S-Pen has come far closer to the traditional drawing experience than ever.
"S-PEN HAS COME FAR CLOSER TO THE TRADITIONAL DRAWING EXPERIENCE THAN EVER"Just like it does with the new android-powered Tab S3 and the (defunct) Galaxy Note 7, the S-Pen trigger the Air Command menu when users hover over the display. The user interface looks the same, please note that I did not have time to check if anything has changed, you can watch the video demo I shot on the Galaxy Note 7 back in August 2016 to get a sense of how it works.
Processor and Performance (Very Good for the form factor)
It is evident that this kind of ultra-mobility comes with some performance trade-offs. What’s important is to know if the level of performance is good enough to get your job done with relative comfort.
We will keep the benchmarks for when we get our hands on retail units, but looking at the Core m3 and Core i5 partial specification, we can venture to say that the Core m3 10” Galaxy Book should behave like the first generation Galaxy TabPro S, which is a very good sign. The Core i5 12” Galaxy Book could break a record in performance/weight, but this remains to be seen.
In any case, both should be a great fit for the writer, executive, sketcher, or anyone who value extreme light weight and excellent readability/visual quality for their Windows computing device.
Out of the box, the Galaxy Book in both versions comes with Windows 10 and Samsung Flow, a feature that lets users transfer what they are doing on their Galaxy Android Smartphone to their Windows Galaxy Tablets (TabPro S, Galaxy Book 12” and 10”).
Additionally, Samsung Flow synchronizes native email, text message notifications and allows some third parties messaging apps such as What’s app to communicate from the tablet to the smartphone and reply to messages directly. The application features auto-tethering, meaning when the Wi-Fi connections drops, it automatically enables mobile hotspot from the Samsung smartphone to keep the PC tablet connected.
According to Samsung, the 39.04 Wh battery of the Galaxy Book 12” lasts for up to 10.5 hours on one charge and the 30.4 Wh battery of the Galaxy Book 10” delivers up to 10 hours on a single charge. We do not know what kind of display brightness Samsung tested with, so we cannot provide a definitive opinion for now, however, it looks promising, knowing that standard tests are usually conducted by playing a video continuously until total exhaustion.
For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has a 38.2 Wh battery capacity, which we consider to be very nice for this form-factor. Samsung’s design has a smaller internal volume, so it is incredibly dense. Both Galaxy Book tablets feature a fast-charging technology.
Pricing & Availability
No word was shared on the pricing and availability side, we may update this article during MWC 2017 in case Samsung announces anything new. The device comes in silver with a black cover/keyboard.
Leveraging the success of its first attempt at cramming a full-blown Windows 10 PC tablet in an ultra-thin form factor with a keyboard, Samsung delivers an impressive product design performance with the Galaxy Book at MWC 2017.
On the 12-inch flagship version, the attention to details can be seen all over the high-quality chassis: from the addition of a second USB Type-C connector, to the improvement of the keyboard with a large trackpad, and the new S-Pen with tilt recognition for an optimized drawing experience in Adobe software.