Galaxy Book S: Samsung competes with MacBook Air with an ultrathin touchscreen laptop

Samsung's new Windows laptop offers 23 hours of battery life, but may fail to add anything new to the space.

To 5G or not to 5G? Galaxy Note 10 delivers 'extremely capable upgrade' for business users Samsung just announced its Galaxy Note series update with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. Expected internal updates were made, along with improvements to the S Pen capability and camera functionality.

On Wednesday at its Galaxy Unpacked event in New York, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Book S laptop, an ultrathin, Qualcomm-powered laptop. Running on Windows 10 and a Snapdragon chip, the laptop offers 23 hours of battery life, and works with the Galaxy Note 10 charger, Samsung executives said during the event. It also features a 13.3" touch screen and Gigabit LTE for always-on connectivity.

The Galaxy Book S will arrive in stores in September, with a price tag of $999. At first glance, this seems to be Samsung's attempt to compete with the MacBook Air; however, it's more likely that the device will operate similar to a Chromebook in terms of processing power, TechCrunch speculated

SEE: Samsung Bixby 2.0: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Here are the Galaxy Book S specifications:  

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"At Samsung, we believe that true innovation is only possible through an open, collaborative approach where partners are aligned and motivated to break down barriers and redefine the computing experience," DJ Koh, president and CEO of the IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, said in a press release. "Galaxy Book S combines the best mobility features Samsung has to offer with Microsoft's leading productivity solutions and Qualcomm Technologies' performance capabilities to deliver the best mobile productivity experience available in a mobile device today."

The laptop marks another step in Samsung and Microsoft's growing partnership, also evidenced by a new Link with Windows feature included in the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ phones, allowing users to connect directly to a Windows device for messaging, photo sharing, and screen mirroring. 

In December 2017, Microsoft and Qualcomm announced a partnership to bring Windows 10 to Snapdragon-powered notebooks, with the first systems introduced as part of that endeavor including the Snapdragon 835-powered HP Envy x2 and Asus NovaGo, which were criticized for poor performance and app compatibility. Windows 10 for Arm differs from Microsoft's previous attempt—Windows RT—by allowing the use of legacy 32-bit desktop applications to be run using an inline x86 emulator.

Eleven months later, Microsoft unveiled official support for compiling native 64-bit Arm apps (aarch64) apps for Windows 10, bypassing the need to use an inline emulator. Lenovo released the Yoga C630 in December 2018, which fared similarly poorly—ZDNet's Charlie Osborne noted that the "balance between the price point and the performance consumers would expect for a substantial amount of their hard-earned cash has not yet been met," and that it "is not suitable for resource-intensive applications." 

Likewise, Samsung's Galaxy Book 2—which, like the Yoga C630, is powered by a Snapdragon 850—fared slightly better in CNET's review, though Joshua Goldman noted that the "overall system performance just isn't there yet."

Samsung's transition from a detachable 2-in-1 to a full laptop, as well as an upgrade from the Snapdragon 850 to 8cx may not be enough to make the Galaxy Book S worthwhile. The primary encumbrance is in software: Despite years of trying to get it right, Windows on Arm has never worked quite right. That said, at least the Galaxy Book S will actually ship, while Windows Server Arm remains missing in action two years after being announced.

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Image: Samsung