JIM LOVE is a tech-talking CIO who oversees a digital publishing business in East-end Toronto. Three days a week, he can be found in the office, laptop tucked under his arm, racing from meeting to meeting. For the balance of the week, and most weekends, the pace slows for Jim. He’s still on his laptop, but with a home on a tranquil lake two hours north of the city, he does his best writing sitting at the end of the dock. The writing isn’t always about work either; his laptop is full of lyrics and songs that require fine-tuning before they can be recorded with local musicians.
ANDREA STEWART is a sales machine. As an account director at a large Canadian communications firm, she is on the road a lot meeting with clients, working up sales profiles, and seeking out new opportunities. Though intimately connected through the office with collaboration tools, Andrea is rarely there in person. As the mother of two active children, her evenings include soccer games and frog-catching expeditions, even if she needs the odd moment here and there to check email, send a Facebook message to a sick friend, or respond to the office crisis de jour.
As both Jim and Andrea think of their personal computer as a critical third arm, they felt a touch of anxiety when asked to use Samsung’s new Galaxy Book and only Samsung’s new Galaxy Book for a week.
The Galaxy Book is the latest iteration of Samsung’s 2-in-1 tablet — a premium, Windows 10 device built with a powerful processor and designed for maximum portability. Out of the box, the device also includes a detachable keyboard and the S Pen, Samsung’s advanced stylus that allows users to take notes, annotate documents, translate or magnify, and requires no charging. For the purpose of this review, both Jim and Andrea used the 10.4-inch Galaxy Book.
IT World Canada CIO Jim Love undertook the experiment without expectation. He saw the Galaxy Book’s 2-in1 tablet and laptop functionality as a productivity booster, and was hoping for portable performance — that priceless (and elusive) feeling of being productive regardless of location.
“I didn’t know the specs for the Galaxy Book off the top of my head, and on purpose I didn’t check them before using the device,” said Jim. “This allowed me to go into the week with zero assumptions or biases.”
Andrea’s hope was for something functional and flexible, and it had to be lightweight and portable. “There’s no getting around that for me. Naturally, I wanted battery life, a comfortable keyboard, and strong audio for presentations, but the big thing for me was going to be its weight, and how easy it would be to take with me.”
Although weight and portability are also important to Jim, battery life was, and remains, top priority.
“Because I often work with huge files, and am away from my desk a lot, I need the best battery life I can get. While I’m grateful for Bluetooth connectivity and touchscreens, for me battery life is key, speed and weight are important, and bonus points go to a device that can give me a rich audio experience when I’m watching videos on the go.”
Andrea and Jim are busy professionals with hectic schedules, and the device would have to go everywhere with them — to the office, in transit, at offsite meetings. What follows is their impressions of the device.
“What impresses me most about the Galaxy Book is that I get most of what I need in a portable package,” said Andrea. “The device actually fits in my purse — a huge plus.”
The Galaxy Book also impressed Andrea on a functional level.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how well it matches up to my laptop. I love that you have the large tablet format with the flexibility to use Microsoft software, and that it doesn’t feel like I’m using a portable device. I can’t really say the same about other tablets.”
“Overall, I really enjoyed using the Galaxy Book. It offers many of the programs I use on my laptop, to the point where it could actually be my laptop, with the flexibility of a tablet. And with the keyboard and stylus included, it offers value and functionality.”
Jim offers an even-handed, though ultimately very positive review of the Galaxy Book:
- Speed: “Very responsive. Not quite as fast as my laptop, but more than adequate for my purposes. I performed every task I normally perform, and it kept up with me.”
- Battery: “I charged the device overnight, and I was good to go, using it the entire next day.”
- Connectivity: “It stayed linked to my wireless router regardless of where I was. As we all know, cheaper devices won’t always do that.”
- Touchscreen: “The touchscreen was fabulous, wonderful both in display and response. I tried everything on it, including handwriting recognition, and it didn’t let me down once. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
- Sound: “A-plus all the way. The speakers and sound were miles beyond what I expected.”
Jim said he is desperately looking for a device that will allow him to retire his notebooks: “So far, nothing. But the Samsung Galaxy Book comes closer than anything else. For functionality, I happily give it an ‘A.’ Same for the touchscreen and speakers.”
“The holy grail for business users is a device that can, when needed, do everything their laptop, phone, e-reader, and other electronic devices can do,” said Jim. “Samsung has taken a meaningful first step toward creating such a product. At the very least, it’s a device you can take with you anywhere, and get a heck of a lot of work done.”
Andrea agrees with Jim.
“It would be premature for someone to buy this device and then get rid of their laptop, but the flexibility of a laptop-tablet 2-in-1 is very appealing,” she said. “I found the Galaxy Book to be an excellent complement, even alternative, to my laptop. I used it for a week and didn’t miss a beat. If that’s not the definition of performance on the go, I don’t know what is.”
The Samsung Galaxy Book is available at all Samsung Experience stores.
10.6-inch model, 1.4 lbs (650 g) CAD $899.99 | 12-inch model 1.6 lbs (754 g) CAD $1,899.99