29 July 2017

Samsung Galaxy Book - First Impressions

I have been fortunate again to receive another device to test. This time around, it's Samsung's competitor to Microsoft's popular Surface Pro lineup, the Samsung Galaxy Book. A hybrid laptop/tablet, this machine is packing some pretty good specs and hardware but who exactly is this 'convertible' for and does it perform both functions exceptionally well? Here are my first (albeit random and spontaneous) impressions after 48 hours of using this as my main computer.

Samsung Galaxy Book S Pen
Surprisingly, I've found using the S Pen very enjoyable.
  1. I find myself using the S Pen more than I thought to interact and navigate. It's light, easy to use, has good sensitivity and pressure and means I won't smear the screen with my grubby fingers so much. Taking notes and annotating with it is also a breeze. Shame it doesn't have a clicky button at the top like the Surface Pen (for extra 'coolness').
  2. Wish the S Pen was magnetic like the Surface Pen - have to slide it into a loop instead to keep it safe with the device.
  3. My current practice has me using a combination of the keyboard, touch and pen whilst browsing and working - it's surprisingly easy and fluid using all three. 
  4. Speaking of the screen, it's beautiful. 12 inches makes for a great size, AMOLED, bright, vibrant, is HDR equipped and has four different presets. Lovely.
  5. Speakers are pretty good with clear stereo separation on the left and right of the device. They're full sounding and can get very loud. Only gets tinny in places when the volume is maxed out and you're playing very loud audio.
  6. Tablet mode seems a bit pointless and doesn't seem to offer many accessibility improvements over standard mode. A few of the taskbar buttons are larger and you can access apps slightly more quickly using the full screen Start screen but that's about it. I was expecting more like how other tablets operate a la iPads or even Android tablets.
  7. This is NOT a tablet - it's more of a computer with a touchscreen display that can be detached from the keyboard if needs be.
  8. Still, it's incredibly impressive to be holding a fully-fledged computer (with a 7th gen Intel Core i5 processor) in one hand. Very impressed.
  9. Travel on the included keyboard dock feels good and has better depth and travel compared to what I'm used to (Apple keyboard). As a result, typing is quick and mostly mistake-free.
  10. The trackpad can at times be inconsistent and a bit sluggish. It's not as smooth as the Apple trackpad which probably explains this. Trackpad does support gestures to navigate quickly between screens though.

    Samsung Galaxy Book keyboard dock trackpad
    The keyboard is nice to use but that trackpad is a bit sluggish at times.
  11. No quick login with Windows Hello is slightly annoying. Also: no fingerprint sensor.
  12. For a computer, it boots up insanely quick, just like a tablet.
  13. Fans can run a bit loud from time to time, even when not doing intensive tasks. However, whilst I'm typing this, they're very quiet.
  14. Love being able to pinch to zoom etc - speeds up productivity immensely. 
  15. Coming from Mac OS, so nice to be able to do proper cut and paste and move the screens to the side to have proper split screen functionality. 
  16. Performance is okay. There has been stuttering/freezing (which cleared up after a minute or so) but overall it's fine. Maybe I've been spoilt by the performance from my iMac. 
  17. 2 USB type C ports = nice (for the future). No full SD card port, only microSD = urgh. No USB type A ports = terrible. 

Samsung Galaxy Book keyboard dock display screen
A beautiful 12" AMOLED screen makes for an immersive experience.

A full review will follow soon but so far, I'm impressed. It's a solid performer as a computer and I find myself using it in tablet mode when I'm just chilling on the sofa. That being said, it's role as a tablet performer is still a little murky. We'll see how the next couple of weeks pans out.

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