With its new Galaxy Book S notebook, Samsung is aiming to redefine the mobile computing landscape by bringing smartphone traits to the laptop world – and, at the same time, liberating business travellers from a state of constant vigilance for the nearest AC power socket.
The Korean colossus hasn't sold a conventional laptop in the Australian market since 2014, but there's nothing conventional about the Galaxy Book S, which will debut here in November 2019 at $1,699.
Yes, it runs Windows 10 – and a full version of the Microsoft OS at that, in both Home and Pro editions – but it does so using the same type of processor in your smartphone (especially if it's an Android model) rather than an Intel chip.
Samsung claims the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx powerplant inside the Galaxy Book S is almost on par with Intel's mid-range Core i5 engine for performance, planting it firmly in the territory of mobile professionals who spend most of their time working with Microsoft Office and dipping into Web-based cloud services.
However, the inherent efficiency of the smartphone-inspired chip makes this a game-changer for battery life. Samsung rates the Galaxy Book S at "up to 23 hours of continuous video playback with only one charge."
That's a lofty claim, and one that Executive Traveller looks forward to challenging with some on-the-road testing. But even if the Galaxy Book S delivers only 20 hours on a single tank, that's more than enough for almost anybody – and if the fast-charge battery will soak up extra juice on even a brief top-up at the cafe while you do your own caffeine-fuelled recharging.
It also uses the same 23W USB-C charger as Samsung's latest-gen Galaxy phones, so you can pare down your travel kit or, if caught high and dry while your charger is back at the office or hotel, briefly borrow a charger from any smartphone-toting colleague.
Another Android-esque trait is how quickly the Galaxy Book S wakes from sleep mode: it's pretty much 'instant on', the 13.3-inch touchscreen springing to life in the blink of an eye.
Tipping the scales at 960 grams and with its aluminium-clad shell tapering from 6.2mm to 1.2cm, the Galaxy Book S is a 'barely-there' notebook. While the keyboard has a gentle feel it's not soft to the point of being sponge-like, and there's definite movement and travel with each keystroke.
In some regards the Galaxy Book S can be seen as a new accessory in Samsung's Galaxy phone ecosystem: the perfect laptop for the mobile maven, especially when paired with your phone via Microsoft's Your Phone app.
However, it also stands ready to carve out its own niche in a market of more staid, less exciting Windows laptops, especially as it comes with inbuilt 4G LTE mobile broadband (BYO nanoSIM card) and can have its onboard storage boosted by up to 1TB using a microSD card.
Samsung's Galaxy Book S will land in Australia in November, at $1.699 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage; and $1,899 with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
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