Samsung's Galaxy Book was announced today alongside a slew of other Galaxy laptops, and it's shaping up to be the most budget-friendly entry in the lineup.
While its siblings the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 will ship with AMOLED screens, the Galaxy Book sports a simple TFT LCD display — much like the gaming-focused Galaxy Book Odyssey, though, without the Odyssey's new Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU.
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In the absence of a standout screen or cutting-edge GPU, what sets the plain vanilla Galaxy Book apart from its brethren is the price. Samsung announced today that the Galaxy Book's price will start at $549, hundreds of dollars cheaper than any other laptop in the Galaxy Book lineup.
While some details are still subject to change, here's what we know so far about the Galaxy Book.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Price and availability
According to Samsung's Unpacked event today the Galaxy Book is expected to retail with a starting price $549, or $649 for an LTE-capable model. The laptop is slated to go on sale May 14th alongside the rest of the Galaxy Book lineup.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Specs
|Header Cell - Column 0||15.6-inch Galaxy Book|
|Starting price||$549, $649 w/ LTE|
|Screen||15.6-inch TFT LCD (1920 x 1080)|
|Processor||11th Gen Intel i3/i5/i7 in some markets, Intel Celeron/Pentium Gold elsewhere|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe GPU for i5/i7, Intel UHD for i3/Pentium/Celeron, optional Nvidia GeForce MX450|
|Storage||Up to 1 TB (NVMe SSD)|
|Memory||4GB, 8GB, 16GB, LPDDR4x|
|Ports||2 USB-C, 2 USB 3.2, 1 HDMI, Security slot, MicroSD reader, headphone/mic jack, nano SIM|
|Security||Fingerprint reader on power button|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos support|
|Connectivity||LTE, Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+), Wi-Fi 6E ready, Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11 ax|
|Dimensions||14 x 9 x 0.6 inches|
Samsung Galaxy Book: Design
The design of the Galaxy Book appears to be slim and light, which is right in line with the designs of the other Galaxy Book laptops Samsung unveiled alongside the Galaxy Book during a press event today.
The Galaxy Book will sport the same keyboard (with 1mm key travel), 720p webcam, and Dolby Atmos speakers as its Galaxy Book brethren and it will ship in your choice of Mystic Silver or Mystic Blue paint jobs.
Notably, Samsung claims that the Galaxy Book should have an expandable SSD option, presumably allowing owners to swap out their SSD as they please. It's a welcome option, one that's also available on the similarly-sized Galaxy Book Odyssey.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Performance
Since the Galaxy Book appears designed to accommodate a broad range of component configurations, the performance you get will depend heavily on which CPU and GPU you choose.
The lower-end Galaxy Books with older Intel i3/Celeron processors and integrated graphics probably won't deliver great gaming performance. It'll also likely buckle under heavy workloads. But it should be just fine for basic web browsing and school/workplace tasks.
However, you should be able to get great performance out of a Galaxy Book if you take advantage of the fact that it can be configured with an 11th Gen Intel i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 mobile GPU.
Again, keep in mind that all spec details for the Galaxy Book are currently subject to change, and even when they're finalized, you may not be able to get all configuration options in all markets.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Display
The 15.6-inch TFT LCD display on the Galaxy Book isn't quite as exciting as the AMOLEDs on the Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360. But it's no slouch either. The hinge is also capable of slouching back 180 degrees to lay open and flat on a table, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
The screen should be capable of displaying your favorite films and games at 1080p without much trouble, though we won't know how good it is (and how it compares to displays on similarly-priced laptops) until we have a chance to test one for ourselves.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Battery life and charging
Samsung hasn't yet stated how long it expects the Galaxy Book to last on a full battery charge. It's safe to say the actual battery life will vary significantly depending on how you configure the laptop.
As far as charging goes, Samsung claims the Samsung Galaxy Book laptops support 65W fast charging and can deliver eight hours of video playback after 30 minutes of charging.
Samsung Galaxy Book: Ports
The Galaxy Book's array of ports should give you plenty of room to hook up whatever peripherals you need, as long as they don't require USB 4/Thunderbolt 4.
The pair of USB-C and USB 3.2 ports afford you options for where to plug things in, and the HDMI port is nice to have for when you want to hook up to an external display. It's also always nice to see a microSD card reader on a laptop meant for working on the go. And the optional nano SIM slot expected to be available on some Galaxy Books should let you stay connected on the go. (Availability will depend on your local carriers and region).
Samsung Galaxy Book: Outlook
There's a lot we still don't know about the Galaxy Book, but based on what we've gathered so far, it's clear that this is the entry-level reference point for Samsung's 2021 push to play a bigger part in the global laptop market.
The broad range of configuration options we expect to see when the Galaxy Book debuts later this year makes it a good starting point for anyone seeking a new Samsung laptop primarily for work or school. Lower-end configurations would seem to be the sweet spot for the Galaxy Book; for less than $800 you should be able to get a zippy, reliable laptop with good battery life (Samsung claims) and optional 4G LTE connectivity.
Factor in the fact that you should be able to upgrade the storage on your own, and hook it up to an external display for presentations or just more comfortable computing, and the Galaxy Book is starting to look like a respectable ultraportable for working on the go.
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