Samsung Galaxy Book S – 13.3”, 8/256/LTE Windows on ARM looks good
4.4Overall Score
Name: Samsung Galaxy Book S
Price (RRP): $1699
Manufacturer: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a 13.3” laptop – built on Qualcomm’s SD8cx ARM chipset with an X24 LTE modem. It has all the advantage of ARM – great battery life, instant-on, LTE and the productivity of Windows on ARM.

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is Samsung’s second 2019 Windows on ARM (WoA) offering in an ultra-light clamshell design. The first was the Surface Pro like Galaxy Book 2 (review here), 4/128/LTE in a hybrid tablet design – with its 12” Super AMOLED screen and detachable keyboard that at $1699 is perfect for travellers.

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a little more traditional. Let’s find out why.

Samsung Galaxy Book S

  • Australian website here
  • Manual here
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Price: $1699 from Samsung Stores, JB HiFi and major retailers

First impression – Mercury Grey or Earthy Gold

 The Samsung Galaxy Book S is thin, light and a clamshell. Don’t let my bias for a Surface-like 2-in-1 Hybrid fool you – this is one very attractive device that you cannot help but like.

And at 305.2 x 203.2 x 6.2-11.8mm (thinnest to thickest) x 961g its light as a feather.

Samsung Galaxy Book S

Please forgive us if any tests are incomplete – our test suite does not work correctly on Windows on ARM.

Reset your expectations, if not your price expectations as well.

If you feel that $1699 is a lot for what is essentially a ‘big always-connected phone’, then that will also buy some great Intel and AMD notebooks like the Surface Laptop 3 (13.5”, i5),  or a MacBook Air that offer more power, bigger screens, shorter battery life and more weight.

Sure it is not perfect – and will be the same with any Windows on ARM device – there are some limitations on software and apps it can run. I don’t want to go into detail suffice to say it runs Office 365, any Windows 32-bit app, any browser-based app, and any Universal Windows Platform ‘UWP’ code. It is perfect for productivity and content consumption – what 99% use PCs for.

If you have 64-bit, CPU intensive tasks like CAD, Photoshop, or any graphics-intensive tasks go Intel/AMD. It also does not run VPNs (a TAPI issue that is yet to be solved), and the only antivirus is Windows Defender. Older USB devices are out, especially those that need legacy drivers or BT devices with a ‘pin’ to connect.

And you are going to need USB-C dongles to connect USB-A, HDMI, and more.

As WoA takes hold, these issues will reduce, but it is not yet an Intel/AMD x86 killer.

The screen

The screen is 1920 x 1080, 166 ppi, 16:9 TFT touch screen – it is quite bright, reflective (not so good outdoors) and not as saturated as the Super AMOLED on Samsung’s phones and tablets.

We can’t understand why Samsung would not use an AMOLED. Our test software reveals it is from BOE, a Chinese made TFT LCD. It was developed by BOE to deliver better brightness, colours, and viewing angles.

You can debate about 16:9 (as this is) or 16:10 or even the Galaxy Book2’s AMOLED 3:2 ratio, but we assure you it is one of the better 1080p screens we have seen.

Our best ‘guess’ screen stats are: