Home Article How to Use the S Pen With a Galaxy Book Pro 360. Galaxy book s pro
Article

How to Use the S Pen With a Galaxy Book Pro 360. Galaxy book s pro

How to Use the S Pen With a Galaxy Book Pro 360

Matthew S. Smith has been writing about consumer tech since 2007. Formerly the Lead Editor at Digital Trends, he’s also written for PC Mag, TechHive, and others.

Jonathan Fisher is a CompTIA certified technologist with more than 6 years’ experience writing for publications like TechNorms and Help Desk Geek.

  • The Quick Guide to Webcams
  • Keyboards Mice
  • Monitors
  • Cards
  • HDD SSD
  • Printers Scanners
  • Raspberry Pi

What to Know

  • The S Pen is included with Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360.
  • It doesn’t need to be paired and doesn’t need to be charged.
  • The Galaxy Book Pro 360 automatically detects the S Pen when it’s within a few millimeters of the touchscreen.

This article provides instructions on how to use the S Pen with the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360, including Air Settings, and how to get support for the S Pen.

How Do I Use the S Pen With My Galaxy Book Pro 360?

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360 is compatible with the S Pen, a digital stylus you can use to draw on the 2-in-1’s touchscreen. The S Pen is included with the 2-in-1. Here’s how to use the S Pen with your Galaxy Book Pro 360.

The S Pen that ships with the Galaxy Book Pro 360 does not use Bluetooth and does not rely on an internal battery. Instead, it uses a technology called electromagnetic resonance (EMR). This does not require a power source in the pen and doesn’t require pairing to use the pen.

Put simply, your S Pen will immediately work out of the box. It works as a stylus in apps that support Windows Ink and as a cursor elsewhere. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 does not have a setting, menu or checkbox for pairing the S Pen.

How to Use the S Pen Button to Open Air Command

You’ll find a single button on the S Pen. It can be used to open Air Command, a pop-up menu that provides quick access to unique Samsung features and apps. Here’s how to use the S Pen button to open Air Command.

galaxy, book

  • Hold the S Pen close to the Galaxy Book Pro 360’s display with the tip pointed towards the display. You should see a dot appear on the display near the tip of the S Pen.

Using the S Pen button to open Air Command can be tricky. It won’t work if the S Pen is even a hair too far from the display, or if the S Pen is held at too much of an angle. The key is to watch for the dot that appears on the display under the S Pen’s tip. That indicates the S Pen is powered on and communicating with the Galaxy Book Pro 360.

How Can I Change S Pen Settings on My Galaxy Book Pro 360?

The S Pen for Galaxy Book Pro 360 lacks a Samsung-specific control panel or settings menu, but you can change Pen Windows Ink settings that default to Windows 10.

Can I Use a Different S Pen With My Galaxy Book Pro 360?

Any S Pen sold by Samsung for the Galaxy Book Pro 360 will work.

In general, Samsung S Pen devices based on the same EMR technology as the Galaxy Book Pro 360’s stylus will work. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is one example. Most third-party styluses using EMR will also work.

Samsung does not provide a list of officially supported first-party or third-party styluses. Third-party EMR styluses will often work, but you’ll have to review their specifications for compatibility.

What Apps Support the S Pen?

You can use the S Pen as you would any digital stylus compatible with Windows. It works with Windows Ink and, because of that, works across a broad range of Windows applications. Any software compatible with a Windows Ink stylus will work with the S Pen.

Samsung also includes a number of unique apps that you won’t find on Windows devices. Most of these are accessible through Air Command, but you can also find them through Windows Start or Windows Search.

  • PENUP: This is a basic digital art app similar to the Microsoft Paint3D app. It includes a community feature for sharing your work with other Samsung Galaxy owners.
  • Live Message: You can use this app to quickly jot down notes or drawings with the S Pen and send them to others who have the Live Message app.
  • Samsung Notes: This is a note app similar to Microsoft OneNote or Apple Notes. You can add notes by typing on the keyboard or writing with the S Pen.
  • Samsung Gallery: This is a photo and video viewing app similar to Windows’ built-in Photos app. It includes stylus support for adding notes to photos.

An S Pen is included in many compatible Samsung devices, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360, but you can purchase a replacement pen if needed. Amazon offers a variety of S Pen replacements ranging in price from 20 to 40, and Samsung’s website has replacement S Pens for about 30.

Yes, but there may be limitations. Samsung says that the S Pen that comes packaged with your specific device is designed for that device. However, since the general technology is the same between many S Pens, the S Pens will work on many devices, allowing you to jot notes, access apps, navigate the web, and more. You may encounter limitations, however. For example, if your device supports gesture controls, an older S Pen may not work as well.

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (2021) review

If you’re looking for a powerful, premium convertible laptop that’s future-proofed, the Galaxy Pro 360 will take you far – and is a more affordable alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex 2.

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 2-in-1 arrived earlier this year at Samsung’s April event, alongside its clamshell sibling, the Galaxy Book Pro.

The 360 suffix brings with it features you won’t find on the standard Galaxy Book Pro – most notably the 360-degree hinge that converts the touchscreen notebook into a tablet with S-Pen support. And unlike the vanilla Galaxy Book Pro, the Pro 360 is available with 5G support too (though you’ll have to pay more for it).

The device has obvious overlaps with the Galaxy Flex 2 – the ultra-premium 13in 5G convertible which will set you back £1,649 – but is several hundred quid cheaper. Of course, £1,124 (to start) for the Pro 360 is still a pretty penny to part with. I spent some time with the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 to find out whether it’s worth it.

Design Build

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 is one stunning machine, and if we were to judge a (note)book by the cover, there’s nothing I’d hold against it.

The Pro 360 is ultra-thin at 11.9mm, and ultra-portable too, weighing just over a kilogram (1.39g). You can shave off the grams by opting for the smaller 13.3in variant. I looked at the 15.6in model in Mystic Navy with a Core i7 processor and 512GB storage.

galaxy, book

Minimal bezels accommodate a near edge-to-edge display that even on first glance looks large enough to suit a variety of purposes, whether work, web-browsing or video watching (we’ll dive into the display in more detail below).

It’s not just looks, however. Samsung touts MIL-STD-810 military-grade protection too, meaning the Galaxy Book Pro 360 should withstand exposure to harsh elements such as rain, low temperatures and shock. I didn’t test this of course, but it’s comforting to know this added security exists (especially if you anticipate jostles in your backpack, or panier bag if you’re cycling).

It’s worth noting Samsung offers a 12-month warranty as well on its Galaxy Books and a 24-month warranty on 5G variants for extra peace of mind.

Connectivity Audio

One way the Pro 360 manages to keep its form lithe is by minimizing the number of ports. Inputs are restricted to three USB-C ports only, one of which supports Thunderbolt 4. Conveniently, any of these can be used to charge the notebook. There’s also a MicroSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack.

galaxy, book

I used the Anker USB-C PowerExpand (£51.99) to connect a second monitor and plug in USB storage drives. See other excellent options in our Best USB-C Adaptors round-up.

As for wireless connectivity, the Pro 360 comes with Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6. You can also opt for 5G connectivity (13in model only) if you wanted to future proof your purchase – but it’s likely that 5G laptops will cost much less when 5G becomes standard, so this shouldn’t be the only reason to pick up the Galaxy Book Pro 360.

Equipped with AKG speakers, the Pro 360 offers refreshingly crisp and clear sound. Bass and mid tones sound especially rich and lush, though trebles begin to thin if you’re listening at high volumes. Overall, you can expect smooth and resonant sound if you want this machine to double up as your media streaming hub.

Keyboard Trackpad

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 offers a full-size backlit keyboard which includes a number pad – a lovely little bonus if, like me, you hate using the number keys along the top row of the keyboard. The number pad is a little cramped, but easy to get used to after a few days of use.

You’ll also find the incredibly reliable fingerprint reader at the top right corner of the keyboard, which doubles as the power button. It logged me in effortlessly and rarely did it require more than one attempt.

As for the keyboard itself, the keys are well-spaced and shallow, though not especially silent if you’re a heavy-handed typist. Audible keys have never really been an issue for me, though, as I enjoy haptic feedback of typing assertively.

galaxy, book

I found it much more comfortable to type with the device on my lap, primarily because the Pro 360’s weight is so darn forgettable. That same reason made desktop use slightly tricky, as I found the Pro 360 prone to sliding around on my desk while typing.

It’s worth noting the rubber feet at the bottom come with little plastic cover that can be peeled off. I’d recommend doing this to improve grip. All in all, it’s pretty clear Samsung has designed the Pro 360 for those on the move, whether on long flights, buses or trains.

You’ll find other helpful functions along the top of the keyboard too, including the backlight brightness control (something the Galaxy Flex 2 doesn’t offer) and performance settings that let you toggle between high performance, optimized performance (one that adapts to your usage), and limited performance (with options to turn off or silence the fan).

A spacious trackpad dominates over a third of the wrist area – while that is nice to have, it did force me to stretch to reach the keys further than what felt comfortable when working at a table. Smartwatch wearers might find this particularly uncomfortable. Again, it’s less of a problem if you’re using the Pro 360 on your lap.

Screen

Given its price, the Galaxy Book Pro 360’s display is somewhat underwhelming. While seeing Super AMOLED on paper may lead you to expect a display experience similar to one on Samsung’s flagship phones, it’s not quite the same. The Pro 360’s display’s resolution caps at 1920 x 1080 and it’s also relatively dim compared to other premium laptops on the market.

Let’s start with resolution. 1920 x 1080 (FHD) isn’t bad, but you can find richer displays on more affordable top-tier laptops. The £749 Huawei Matebook 14 (2020) – currently the best laptop in our books – crams in 2160 x 1440 into its IPS display (there’s no US availability, however). If you don’t mind jumping ship to Apple, the MacBook Air’s Retina Display packs a whopping 2560 x 1600 resolution from starting at £999/999.

galaxy, book

The Galaxy Book Pro 360’s display is dimmer compared to other Samsung Galaxy Laptops as well. Reaching a maximum of 284.4nits in our test, it falls behind other Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy Book (325nits) and the premium Galaxy Book Flex 2 (382nits). However, it can boost to around 350 nits when the lighting conditions are more tricky.

Even so, the Pro 360 falls short of competitors too. The Huawei Matebook 14 (2020) outdoes the Pro 360 with a maximum brightness of 382nits, while the HP Envy 13 (2020) (from £850/1,049.99) – second in our choice of best laptops on the market – reached 423nits.

But it’s not all doom and gloom (dim and grim?). If the Pro 360’s display gets one thing right, it’s vibrancy. Colours jump right off the screen and largely compensate for the lower resolution. In fact, videos in 1080p could pass for a higher resolution thanks solely to the richness in colours and contrast.

In our tests, the device reached 100% of the sRGB colour gamut, 97% of the Adobe RGB gamut and 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut, making it particularly well-suited to creative work that demands colour accuracy – whether that’s video or photo editing or design. Games should shine too.

S-Pen Support

While you’re not paying for a particularly bright display, what you are paying for on the Pro 360 is the stylus support. In fact, it’s what draws the Pro 360 closer to the Flex 2, but unlike Galaxy Book Flex 2, where the S-Pen stows away inside the device, the Pro 360 lets you attach the S-Pen magnetically to the back of the display.

The Flex 2’s approach may be more secure, but Samsung’s magnetic solution is a pretty clever way to balance a slim form factor with keeping the S-Pen instantly accessible. It’s also just cool.

galaxy, book

The S-Pen itself is a joy to use – particularly for creative work. Low latency and acute pressure sensitivity allow the stylus to act as a solid stand-in for drawing, sketching and paint media. It’s also adaptive to the angle, so turning the S-Pen to the side will produce a broader stroke like an actual pencil or piece of charcoal. This, paired with the display’s vibrancy cements the Pro 360 as a no-brainer for artists and creatives who can afford it.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the S-Pen won’t scratch the display, you may need to wipe off the smudges sketches and annotations leave behind, which become noticeable when the display is dark.

Specs Performance

The Pro 360 is powered by an Intel Evo Core i7 chip. For a laptop to meet the Evo standard, it must run on an 11th Gen Intel Core, offer over 9 hours battery on a Full HD display, wake in less than a second, and offer Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. The Pro 360 checks all of those requirements.

You can expect incredibly reliable performance from Galaxy Book 360. At times, the fan becomes audible if you’re using resource-draining software, but again Samsung offers the option to silence the fan through its performance settings (at the cost of limited performance and possible heating, of course). Unless you’re using multiple demanding software all the time, it’s unlikely the fan will be an issue.

In our benchmarks, the Galaxy Pro 360 offered impressive scores across the board, beaten narrowly only by the Huawei MateBook 14 (2020). The Pro 360 can take nearly everything you throw at it. I could have multiple programs and tabs open at the same time and the Galaxy Book Pro 360 handled it without any qualms. No complaints here.

The Galaxy book Pro 360 offered competitive gaming benchmark scores too, achieving 16,568 in our 3D Mark Night Raid test. It’s a strong score for a non-gaming laptop – the only other laptops to reach similar results were the Samsung Galaxy Book (16,832), Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (16,377) and the Asus ZenBook Duo (17,618).

Surprisingly, the Pro 360 doesn’t have a discrete graphics card. You get the integrated Iris Xe instead. Given the Pro 360’s price, Samsung really should be offering a discrete GPU, especially when laptops under £1,000, such as the Huawei Matebook 14, HP Envy 13 and Acer Swift 5 (2021), all come with an Nvidia MX350.

Without a discrete GPU, AAA games aren’t really an option, but you should be able to get away with casual games.

Battery Life

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 achieved 16 hours and 13 minutes in our battery test, where we loop a film with the display set to 120nits. The score outdid the best on the market, such as the Huawei MateBook 14 (2020) and HP Envy 13 (2020) and as you can see in our comparison chart above.

While the battery didn’t hit the near-20-hour mark as the Galaxy Book Flex 2, it’s worth noting the Flex 2 offers a larger battery anyway at 69.7Wh.

Our test conditions aren’t how you would typically use this (or any) laptop, of course. I primarily browsed the web, streamed on Spotify and watched YouTube video on the Pro 360 and was able to squeeze out a full day’s use. I simply plugged it in whenever I needed to top up.

I was able to recharge the Pro 360 by 25% within 30 minutes. As you can see from our chart, that’s not as impressive as competitors, but it will last you a couple of hours if you’re in a tight spot.

The charging cable isn’t very long, so if you do need to charge while you’re working, you’ll need to make sure you’re close to the power mains or have a power bank with Power Delivery at hand (see the Best Laptop PD Power Banks).

Price Availability

The Galaxy Pro 360 is available at different based on connectivity, processor, and display size. If you haven’t already gathered, it is an expensive piece of kit. You should only really consider buying this machine if don’t want to upgrade for some time.

The15.6in model I reviewed which offers a Core i7 chip, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD sits at the top end at £1,499/US1499.99. US customers get double the storage at that price, so there’s a bit more value there.

US options only include Core i7 variants, though. In the UK, customers can opt for a Pro 360 with Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM and 512GB storage for £1,124.10.

If you want 5G connectivity, availability’s restricted to the 13in display at time of writing (with Windows 11). In the UK, the 5G variant is available with a Core i5-1130G7 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for £1,349. We can’t see the 5G version available in the US just yet.

In the UK, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is available to buy directly from Samsung and other major retailers including Amazon, AO, Currys, John Lewis, Very. The 5G variant is available from O2 on contract too, with plans starting at £30 upfront and £40.50 per month.

In the US, you can buy the Galaxy Book Pro 360 from Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy which has a 150 discount (at time of writing).

If you’re not sure what laptop to buy check our best laptop chart with complete buying advice.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a formidable all-rounder when it comes to both productivity and entertainment. Not only is it fast and reliable, but it’s also beautifully designed and lightweight.

The display could be a tad brighter, but you won’t really notice given how wonderfully vibrant colours appear on this screen. Similarly, if you foresee the 1920 x 1080 resolution niggling at you over time – especially when you’re paying so much – you may want to look elsewhere.

The defining feature of the Pro 360, of course, is its 360-degree hinge which converts the laptop into a tablet – and for that Samsung demands at least an additional £135/200 compared to the standard Galaxy Pro.

Unless you’re a digital artist who wants to save on buying a graphic tablet separately, it’s hard to justify shelling out over a grand for S-Pen support. In the same vein, it’s difficult to justify buying the Pro 360 just for 5G connectivity, especially when the infrastructure isn’t yet pervasive.

That said, if you are someone who uses various creative software, are often on the move, and want a powerful and versatile device that can keep up with work and entertainment, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy Pro 360. You’ll just need to save up for it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (2021): Specs

  • 15.6in FHD AMOLED Display (1920 x 1080) with Touch Screen Panel
  • S-Pen Support
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics (integrated)
  • 16GB RAM/512GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home
  • AKG Stereo Speakers (1.5W x 2) with Dolby Atmos
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 3 USB-C ports (1 Thunderbolt 4, 2 USB Type-C)
  • MicroSD Card Reader
  • 1 Headphone out/Mic-in Combo
  • Keyboard with Numeric key (backlit keyboard)
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 68Wh battery
  • 65W USB-C Charger
  • 354.85 x 227.97 x 11.9 mm
  • 1.39kg

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro review: A business laptop that highlights Samsung’s PC ambitions

If you’re in Samsung’s ecosystem already, want to beautify yourself on a video conference and need a lightweight laptop, the Galaxy Book Pro warrants consideration if the price is right.

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of ZDNET. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNET.

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of ZDNET. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNET.

The best laptops

Our recommended models for every use case and platform.

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro is a solid work laptop that features some consumer perks, but the device says more about the consumer electronic giant’s multi-screen strategy as much as it does productivity.

In September, Samsung rolled out business versions of its Samsung Galaxy Book and Galaxy Book Pro. I used the Galaxy Book Pro 13.3-inch laptop for work for about three weeks. As configured, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro I was testing ran 1,099.99 on CDW.

  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i5
  • Installed RAM: 8.00 GB (7.68 GB usable)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Pen and touch: No

I was far more familiar with Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360 that came with an S Pen and a form factor that made it more friendly for jotting down notes. The Galaxy Book Pro is more lightweight laptop that’s nice and light for travel and trips to the office.

galaxy, book

Galaxy Book Pro

pros and cons

  • Fingerprint sensor is very phone-like
  • AMOLED screen has good color and contrast
  • Battery life as advertised
  • Fast charging
  • Frame feels too plastic
  • Trackpad is huge
  • Webcam is only 720p
  • Screen reflects a lot of light and attracts fingerprints

Ultimately, I was often wondering what made the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro a business device. For instance, the laptop includes Alexa and Cortana. I know Alexa has business use cases, but it often just serves as a distraction. And then there’s the camera on the laptop that features a bevy of beautification options similar to what you’d find on a phone.

In short, I could make my eyes bigger, nose smaller and chin thinner. I could also wear makeup. But since I’m not exactly the Snapchat, Instagram and selfie type my beautification efforts went horribly wrong. I looked bizarre.

galaxy, book

The camera settings took precedence over whatever I had going on with Zoom. A professional mode would have been nice before I showed up for a meeting. It was a good gag, but hard to revert to normal quickly. My camera fiasco does illustrate how consumer and business laptops are essentially converging.

Other Samsung apps, notably Flow, had good integration with Samsung devices and it was easy to sync notes, messages and files between the laptop and smartphone. Like Samsung devices, you have a few applications trying to keep you in sync. Microsoft applications were playing the same game on the Galaxy Book Pro.

galaxy, book

That integration with the Galaxy smartphone and tablet ecosystem is the big win for the Galaxy Book Pro. And ultimately, that ecosystem play is what Samsung is going for with the Galaxy Book Pro. If you’re an enterprise standardized on Android and Samsung, there may be a Samsung laptop play but otherwise it’s likely to remain Dell, HP and Lenovo in the enterprise.

Bottom line: Samsung’s laptops have improved dramatically led by the Galaxy Book Pro 360 and Galaxy Book Pro. The latter is a solid choice, but Samsung may need to deliver more aggressive pricing in the future with an AMD option should it want to gain share. My bet is that the Galaxy Book Pro will see discounts for holiday shopping and Black Friday as Samsung aims to grow its PC footprint.

What I liked

  • Fingerprint sensor was very phone-like.
  • AMOLED screen had good color and contrast.
  • Battery as advertised and you can get anywhere from 10 hours to 17 without a ton of streaming.
  • Fast charging.

What I didn’t like

  • Frame felt too plastic.
  • Trackpad was huge, but that can be a win for many people.
  • Webcam was 720p and should be better given Samsung’s core strengths.
  • Screen reflects a lot of light and attracts fingerprints.
  • 14 Samsung apps included some that are nice additions (Flow, Note) and others that aren’t (Gallery, Studio Plus, SmartThings).

Samsung Galaxy Book S – 13.3”, 8/256/LTE Windows on ARM looks good

galaxy, book

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a 13.3” laptop – built on Qualcomm’s SD8cx ARM chipset with an X24 LTE modem. It has all the advantage of ARM – great battery life, instant-on, LTE and the productivity of Windows on ARM.

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is Samsung’s second 2019 Windows on ARM (WoA) offering in an ultra-light clamshell design. The first was the Surface Pro like Galaxy Book 2 (review here), 4/128/LTE in a hybrid tablet design – with its 12” Super AMOLED screen and detachable keyboard that at 1699 is perfect for travellers.

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a little more traditional. Let’s find out why.

Samsung Galaxy Book S Model SM-W767NZNAXSA

First impression – Mercury Grey or Earthy Gold

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is thin, light and a clamshell. Don’t let my bias for a Surface-like 2-in-1 Hybrid fool you – this is one very attractive device that you cannot help but like.

And at 305.2 x 203.2 x 6.2-11.8mm (thinnest to thickest) x 961g its light as a feather.

galaxy, book

Please forgive us if any tests are incomplete – our test suite does not work correctly on Windows on ARM.

Reset your expectations, if not your price expectations as well.

If you feel that 1699 is a lot for what is essentially a ‘big always-connected phone’, then that will also buy some great Intel and AMD notebooks like the Surface Laptop 3 (13.5”, i5), or a MacBook Air that offer more power, bigger screens, shorter battery life and more weight.

Sure it is not perfect – and will be the same with any Windows on ARM device – there are some limitations on software and apps it can run. I don’t want to go into detail suffice to say it runs Office 365, any Windows 32-bit app, any browser-based app, and any Universal Windows Platform ‘UWP’ code. It is perfect for productivity and content consumption – what 99% use PCs for.

If you have 64-bit, CPU intensive tasks like CAD, Photoshop, or any graphics-intensive tasks go Intel/AMD. It also does not run VPNs (a TAPI issue that is yet to be solved), and the only antivirus is Windows Defender. Older USB devices are out, especially those that need legacy drivers or BT devices with a ‘pin’ to connect.

And you are going to need USB-C dongles to connect USB-A, HDMI, and more.

As WoA takes hold, these issues will reduce, but it is not yet an Intel/AMD x86 killer.

The screen

The screen is 1920 x 1080, 166 ppi, 16:9 TFT touch screen – it is quite bright, reflective (not so good outdoors) and not as saturated as the Super AMOLED on Samsung’s phones and tablets.

We can’t understand why Samsung would not use an AMOLED. Our test software reveals it is from BOE, a Chinese made TFT LCD. It was developed by BOE to deliver better brightness, colours, and viewing angles.

You can debate about 16:9 (as this is) or 16:10 or even the Galaxy Book2’s AMOLED 3:2 ratio, but we assure you it is one of the better 1080p screens we have seen.

Our best ‘guess’ screen stats are:

  • Nits: 300
  • Contrast: 1000:1
  • 100% sRGB and 72% DCI-P3
  • Gamma (Delta E) 3.55 with a slightly cool blue cast
  • HDR? No

The clamshell opens to about 135°, and that is good as it helps reduce glare. But it wobbles when open and you touch it.

galaxy, book

That ARM processor

It is a 7mn Qualcomm SD8cx eight-core, 2 x 2.84GHz 2 x 1.8GHz SoC that is the latest in its Mobile Compute Platform. It draws a measly 7W TPD.

Earlier efforts starting back at the SD83x, 84x and even 85x were OK – this is better. It has an X24 modem for up to 2Gbps/316Mbps 4G Cat 18 LTE (you get about 25% of that speed in Australia), an AI engine, Wi-Fi AC VHT80, BT 5.0 LE and GPS, Qualcomm Aqstic sound and aptX.

Before you let Qualcomm’s hype wash over you its not a powerhouse. In Geekbench 5 single/multi-core it scores approx. 700/2700. Interestingly it walks all over the MacBook Air with its Intel Core i5-8210Y CPU but let’s not compare Windows on ARM to macOS on Intel. Wait until Apple release a Mac on an ARM.

RAM is 8GB LPDDR4x-2133Mhz and storage is 256GB UFS3.0 (195GB free). It has a microSD slot (to 1TB).

CPU throttling is not an issue on mains power (USB-C), but it drops to 80% utilisation on battery power. We suspect that is a Windows default but have not been able to adjust that parameter easily. It is silent as it does not have fans.

The Microsoft Surface Pro X (WoA) uses a ramped-up version of this SoC called an SQ1 – it is slightly faster and has a 2.1TF GPU.

Gaming

It’s Adreno 680 GPU at 1.8 Teraflops is 60% faster than the SD85x predecessor. It has DirectX 12 but at best supports basic games.

Video codecs – watch out

It plays MP4, H.264/265 and YouTube vp9 But it will not play DRM protected content nor any of the ‘downloadable’ formats that Windows users are wont to use.

Battery

Samsung claims 25 hours of continuous video loop (forget that this is at low brightness and aeroplane mode) and our video loop tests confirm that.

When we connected via Wi-Fi to the Internet and streamed it reduced to 18-hours.

At 100% load – everything on it lasted just over 11 hours.

It has a 42Wh battery and a QC 3.0 compatible charger. It outputs 5V/3A and 9V/2.77A (15-25W) as well as from 3.3-5.9V/3A and 3-11V/2.25A. It is also USB-C PD 3.0 compatible.

Recharge times varied but averaged about 2.5 hours (switched off). You can hold the power key for a couple of seconds to switch off or use the Windows taskbar.

Depending on your use, you can enable various levels of battery saver. We tried the most aggressive settings, and it made little difference to office work, although the screen was a little dim for video content.

Ports

It has 2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps ports and a 3.5mm combo jack. Because its ARM-based you can’t get Thunderbolt 3 so, no big issue.

The UBS-C ports are on the left and the right, and both will accept power – great.

We tested ALT DP over USB-C to a single external screen up to 4K@30Hz. We achieved maximum USB-C data rates with a Samsung T2 external SSD.

Samsung recommends its dongle (not supplied), but we tried with dongles from many manufacturers, and all worked.

Sound

AKG Tuned, dual 2W down-firing speakers underneath. It decodes Dolby Atmos content to 2.0 and has a pre-set equaliser for Dynamic, Movie, Music, Game, Voice and Personalise Modes. These made almost no difference to the sound.

Maximum volume was 74dB (not overly loud), it had a very narrow sound stage and no bass. We will update the review with frequency response on further testing – we suspect the driver is not performing as it should.

BT 5.0 supports SBC, AAC and aptX. We were unable to test for other codecs.

Connection to our test Sony WH-1000xM3 was rock solid to 20 metres and sounded great.

Keyboard, trackpad (no Pen support)

It is a Chiclet style, four-level backlit keyboard with a 1mm throw and 40g actuation. It is OK for most uses, but it does slow down a touch typist.

galaxy, book

There is a fingerprint sensor on the power button (Windows Hello compatible but no facial login).

It has a 720p webcam suitable for Skype – and not much more. There is an indicator light when in use and two microphones provide good coverage.

The touchpad is accurate and almost allows for a full R/L top/bottom sweep.

LTE

It supports bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 20, 25, 26, 28, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 66 – almost global coverage.

Importantly it has Band 28 (Telstra 4GX) that is vital for in-building coverage and rural areas. But for the most part, we only got standard 4G coverage and even 3G inside buildings.

It uses a nanoSIM, and there is a separate microSD slot. It does not support VoLTE, so the SIM is for data only. You could make a Skype call (VoIP).

Speeds vary, but as a guide, you can expect on 4GX LTE Band 28 around 40ms ping, 50Mbps DL and 5Mbps upload.

We found the Always-on LTE fast to connect, but data use was not comparable to the task.

But LTE is both a blessing and a problem. We bought a 20/5GB/14-day Telstra SIM, and while we were careful to do all updates and file transfers over Wi-Fi, we exhausted the 5GB in a few days. I think it is for two reasons.

First, data session usage appears rounded up in MB increments. Second, because we tend to take internet connectivity for granted – we used it without thinking.

Telstra has a 300/180GB/365-day data-only plan that may be better for this device. There is a useful Data calculator here. Note that for most of the test we were on Telstra 4GX Band 28 – away from its voice bands. You will not have the same quality experience using a voice and data SIM from an MVNO.

One great feature is that the LTE module has GPS as well and it is the perfect large screen navigator using Here Maps.

Comms

It is Wi-Fi AC but more importantly supports VHT80. If your router supports that (and both our D-Link and NETGEAR test routers do), you can get 866Mbps at up to five metres from the router.

Samsung Ecosystem – Flow/Hotspot/SmartThings/DeX

If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can activate Samsung Flow to display notifications and share data with the device. It works via BT.

You can also use it as a hotspot and control SmartThings if they are on the same Wi-Fi network.

It is DeX compatible via a USB-C cable.

GadgetGuy’s take – Samsung Galaxy Book S is perfect if you know Windows on ARM limitations

It is light, always-on, terrific battery life, and a pleasure to use.

If you analyse your needs and can fit within Windows on ARM limitations, then it’s a perfect little laptop.

But if you are at all in doubt, some great Intel/AMD devices that may not be as light or always-on – will do the job.

Author

Goltilar

| Denial of responsibility | Contacts |RSS