Price (RRP): $1359
The Samsung Galaxy Book2 is for those that want a Windows Experience on the move. It uses the Qualcomm SD850 Mobile Compute Platform for Windows on ARM (WoA).
The Samsung Galaxy Book2 is everything you expect from a Samsung Windows device. Style, exquisite super AMOLED touch screen, build quality par excellence, and finally a kickstand just like the Microsoft Surface devices.
Before we review the Samsung Galaxy Book2, we need to look at how WoA works.
First, you may see it called Windows on Snapdragon (WoS) – it’s the same. WoA is not so much a bold move away from ‘powerhouse’ Intel x86 chips but an endeavour to run Windows in an x86 ‘emulation’ on an ARM-based, mobile chipset.
WoA requires app developers to write Universal Windows Platform ‘UWP’ code. For the most part, Windows Store Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and most other Windows programs are UWP compliant.
Then through magic (called WOW64) that runs efficiently on the Qualcomm SD850 SoC, it presents a simulated Windows environment that runs most 32-bit Windows programs on the alien 64-bit processor – think of WOW64 as a universal translator.
We say most apps run on WoA. We encountered a few that did not. For example, Microsoft’s own Windows app builder Visual Studio will not run. Some monolithic programs need more memory and horsepower. And don’t try 64-bit AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop Elements or most database/statistical programs that need a co-processor. Don’t even think of running older apps pre-Windows 8.
Why bother with WoA?
It comes down to a use case. Portability, huge battery life, LTE connectivity, and uses mobile phone technology to make a lower cost device.
The result is an always-connected device that is more like a big mobile phone with all the advantages of Windows desktop – mouse, keyboard, stylus, USB-C, multitasking, runs an external monitor, and a large 12-inch, 2160 x 1440, Super AMOLED touch screen. Simply put, you can do almost everything on this device that you can’t do on an Android or iOS tablet.
On the USB-C front, don’t try to connect older devices that need separate drivers installed. Generally, if a device runs on Windows 10, it should in W0A.
And what is with Windows 10 S?
The Samsung Galaxy Book2 ships with Windows 10 S – just like the Surface Laptop and Go. In essence, it is a pared down version that only installs apps from Windows Store (for security) and gives maximum battery life.
I can’t live with it as many of my testing apps are not in Windows Store, but it has an easy, free, one-way change it to full-fat Windows 10 – you can’t easily go back.
I did not see any downside in changing but all my tests were in full Windows mode so I have no comparison.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Book2, 4/128GB, 4G LTE version (SM-W737YZSBXSA)
Australian website here
I have to admit to owning its predecessor, the Intel x86, Core i5, Samsung Galaxy Book 12 (2017 review here and its Galaxy Book predecessor as well). Both are still going strong and in daily use. My only lament is the lack of a kickstand – well Samsung came through.
Price: $1599 (currently on special at Samsung at $1359)