After having deserted the European PC market at the end of 2014, Samsung nevertheless launched at the beginning of 2016, on the Old Continent, the Galaxy TabPro S 12, a hybrid laptop running Windows 10. Building on the success of the latter, the manufacturer is coming back with the charge with the Galaxy Book, its designated replacement. According to the presentation made at MWC 2017, the Book takes the good ingredients of the TabPro while adding more power. Owl !
Note that the Galaxy Book comes in two screen sizes (10.6 or 12 inches) and that the on-board configurations are not at all the same depending on the version, with the additional 4G offered as an option! It is a 12 inch model that we had in hand, announced at 1229 euros and only Wi-Fi. A strong competitor for the new Surface Pro from Microsoft?
Finally there is this Samsung Galaxy Book announced in Barcelona last spring! This new Windows 10 hybrid has a major mission: to replace the very good Galaxy TabPro S, which has long remained in pole position of our Top 10 hybrid PCs. To say that we expect a lot is a mild understatement. Without further ado, let’s start our review of the beast!
In the foreword, remember that the concept of 2-in-1 hybrid PCs is as follows: on the one hand, a tablet doped with PC components (and Windows 10) and, on the other, a keyboard. You love the first on the second and you’re in control of a machine that looks like an ultraportable PC. You can switch back to tablet mode at any time.
In touch slate, Samsung knows its business. The proof, the Galaxy Book has an excellent finish with its thin aluminum case (8 mm only, 1.6 cm with the keyboard) and quite light (746 g against 1.15 kg with keyboard).
After a quick inspection, it appears that the Galaxy Book is equipped with two USB Type-C sockets (not Thunderbolt 3.0 compatible) serving both as a battery charging interface and to receive compatible keys or hard disks. For conventional USB 3.0 devices, you will need to use an adapter (not supplied). Finally, to connect to the Web, it is compulsory Wi-Fi!
There are also on the sides of the slate a microphone / headphone jack and especially a microSD card slot to be able to expand the storage capacities of the Galaxy Book. On the top, a power button and another, wider for the volume, are in the game.
In PC mode, the ergonomics clearly leave something to be desired
Let’s move on to the keyboard part of the Galaxy Book. It acts as both a docking station and a protective cover for the slate. The tablet is magnetized to a plastic support, located just above the keyboard keys. But to keep it upright like a laptop screen, it is imperative to fold part of the cover and magnetize it on the back of the slate.
In fact, it is impossible to vary the inclination of the screen finely, only four fixed angles are possible. And we may have put the best will in the world, we have never been comfortable working in PC mode, with the Galaxy Book on my knees.
Another criticism of this docking station is that it is not recommended to fold the tablet over the keys as you would with any hybrid used in the “PC” position. If you do this, chances are the slate will come off the keyboard when you want to use it again! On the one hand, because the magnets are not very powerful and, on the other hand, because the thin plastic part accommodating the tablet does not offer enough clearance. So you have to do the opposite: bring the keyboard back to the screen. An unnatural gesture.
The keyboard itself is equipped with backlit keys (three levels of intensity), slightly smaller than the standard. In fact, some typos are to be expected during the first hours of use, the time that the fingers take their marks.
The touchpad, for its part, offers a good sliding surface with right and left click buttons, of good reactivity, integrated in the lower part of said surface.
A high-performance stylus with a (too) narrow body
Last steering accessory delivered with the tablet: an S Pen stylus (developed with Wacom). Thanks to it, it is possible to take notes directly on the screen of the tablet or to make, for example, careful trimming in the drawing or photo editing software.
In addition to the applications that recognize handwriting included in Windows 10, Samsung pre-installs others (notebook sheet, notepad, etc.). We did not see any pronounced latency between the plot on the screen and the materialization on the virtual white sheet. We almost find writing sensations similar to those experienced with a good old paper-pencil pair. Of course, the stylus recognizes many pressure points (4096 announced) which allows, for example, to darken or lighten a line simply by printing more or less force on the lead, as we would with a pencil. paper. We regret, however, the extreme finesse of this stylus, which does not facilitate its grip.
But what a beautiful screen!
Like the Galaxy TabPro S, the Galaxy Book uses a 12-inch Super AMOLED screen to make a difference with its competitors … and we are sticking our heads out. At a 3: 2 ratio (like the Microsoft Surface Pro), the panel displays very beautiful images in 2160 by 1440 pixels which, with the naked eye, offer bright, bright and well contrasted colors.
First impressions confirmed by our review probe: we noted an average maximum brightness of 413 cd / m2 and an abyssal contrast rate called “infinite” (99999: 1). However, these very good measures do not allow the Galaxy Book to obtain the maximum score in display. Why ? Simply because the shiny glass of the slate catches all possible and imaginable reflections! And since it is not possible to vary the inclination of the tablet in PC mode, it is impossible to limit these light parasites.
An obvious power gain
We mentioned in the introduction, the Galaxy Book has a much more powerful configuration than that of the late Galaxy TabPro S. Thus, exit the anemic Intel Core m3 processor and welcome to a real Core i5-7200U, capable of running all applications everyday life and much more. This Core i5 is also responsible for the graphics part, through its integrated graphics controller (Intel HD Graphics 620). No 3D follies on the menu but the possibility of running some old games or very undemanding titles without much concern.
For the asking price (1230 euros), we expected to find at least 8 GB of RAM. It is not at all, Samsung places the minimum vital quantity: 4 GB. Same observation on the SSD side, it is necessary to be satisfied with a little less than 90 GB available on the (only) 128 embedded. Blessed is the microSD card reader through which it will be possible to add a few extra GB to archive documents, photos and videos in the tablet. In fact, to be in command of a configuration closer to those of current ultrabooks, that is to say equipped with 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of SSD, you have to agree to pay 200 euros more.
However, according to current criteria, this configuration is a bit “fair”. This does not prevent the Galaxy Book from doing well in our various analytical and practical review software. On average, it scores between 400 and 900 points more than the Galaxy TabPro S in the various reviews of the software suite PC Mark 8. If surfing the internet, office automation and watching 4K videos are a simple formality for him, this hybrid can quite run photo editing software worthy of the name without suffering.
Finally, considering the components present in the slate, difficult to use a passive dissipation system. Samsung has however managed to design a ventilation capable of remaining discreet even when the material resources are strongly mobilized: the nuisances are maintained at 34.5 dB maximum. We almost would have liked it to make a little more noise to prevent the mercury from climbing too high! On the back of the tablet, we have indeed recorded temperatures reaching almost 56 ° C when the entire configuration is particularly stressed. It’s way too hot for our taste.
Very good endurance
Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Book fails to match the record battery life of the Galaxy TabPro S. However, whether it’s streaming video or sustained multi-use, the device is doing quite well. In the first case, the battery lasts almost 8 hours and in the second case, a little less than 6:30. As a reminder, the new Microsoft Surface Pro (in its Core i7 version) only lasts 5 hours 52 in the first case and only 3 h 48 in the second scenario …
Year after year, the Galaxy Book should remain operational when the days are not too busy. For hard periods of work, on the other hand, it is better not to forget the charger sector of the machine, no bigger than that of a smartphone! Good point, the latter recharges the tablet in a little over an hour, provided you connect it to the USB Type-C compatible socket Fast Charge.
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