The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 is a Windows on ARM (WOA) hybrid
tablet using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 mobile compute
The benefits of Windows on ARM are far longer battery life (up to 20 hours) and integrated LTE connectivity. Yes, there can be a performance hit over an x86 processor, but mobile users won’t notice.
At this stage, the Galaxy
Book 2 is only for the US market and sells for US$999.99. Whether it makes it
to Australia will depend on whether it can support our unique LTE bands 1, 3,
5, 7, 8, 28 and 40.
It is also a design departure from the Galaxy Tab Pro S and
Book – for the first time, it includes an
integrated kickstand (like the Surface) and a height-adjustable,
detachable keyboard (like the Surface) and includes
the S Pen and keyboard (unlike the Surface).
Alanna Cotton, Senior
Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America said:
The way the world works is undergoing an incredible
transformation. Users need technology that keeps them connected and ready for
anything when they’re out in the world getting things done. The Galaxy Book2
brings together Samsung’s hardware and connectivity leadership with innovations
from Qualcomm Technologies and Microsoft for a two-in-one that uniquely
delivers PC productivity and superior mobility.
Windows traditionally runs
on the x86 processors from Intel and AMD. The faster the chip, the more power it consumes. Gaming desktops using
the new i9 processor can require 140W, and
the lowest powered Atom chips can use 5W. Traditionally laptop CPUs use from
WOA (Microsoft technical article here) is for mobility and battery longevity. Naturally, Intel is fighting back and will eventually miniaturise a Core chip to match ARM’s offerings – but it is a few years away.
What is WOA?
WOA is not native Windows executing 32 and 64-bit
instructions. WOA is an emulator that works completely
transparently to both users and the programs they run. It uses the same WOW
(Windows on Windows) technology that Windows uses to run 32-bit applications on
64-bit versions of Windows.
The WOA Windows kernel, hardware drivers, and all programs
included with Windows are native ARM code. Universal Windows Platform (UWP)
apps from the Windows Store are also native ARM programs. The emulator only
kicks in when running traditional x86 Windows desktop software.
Unless a peripheral device is recent, it probably won’t have drivers for WOA.
The bottom line is
that WOA will not be as fast as an x86 desktop or laptop, but it will be sufficient for office productivity,
playing 4K video and web browsing – all in the familiar Windows environment. It
may also be a challenger in the Chromebook market.
WOA will come as Windows 10 S (like the Surface Laptop has),
and you can update to full Windows for
free. If you do the 20-hour battery life
will take a hit.
Early devices used the 835 chipset and were a little underwhelming. The Qualcomm 850 should be at least 30% faster. Early BenchMark indicators are 2263 for single-core and 6947 for multi-core. This bests Intel’s Core m3 series. It also has 10-bit colour, HDR and 4K decoding.