Samsung updates Galaxy Book line with 2-in-1 Flex and lightweight Ion
Samsung is beefing up its Galaxy Book lineup with two new laptops, the Galaxy Book Flex and Ion. The Flex is designed for creative endeavors, with a reversible hinge that lets it flip into a tablet, complete with touchscreen and stylus. The Galaxy Book Ion, meanwhile, is a lightweight workhorse for more professional pursuits.
Both new models of the Galaxy Book have a few things in common. They’re kitted out with what Samsung calls the world’s first laptop QLED displays – although that’s more of a branding exercise than anything, since “QLED” is just a Samsung buzzword. Other companies have already produced laptops with quantum dot displays – which are what puts the Q in QLED.
The Galaxy Book Flex and Ion both come in two variations, with the choice of either a 13.3-in or 15.6-in screen. In both cases, the resolution is a passable 1920 x 1080, with a brightness of up to 600 nits in Outdoor Mode that apparently allows the display to be visible in sunlight.
Both models are powered by 10th-generation Intel Core processors (Ice Lake for the Galaxy Book Flex, or Comet Lake for the Ion), and up to 16 GB of RAM. For storage, the whole lineup packs solid-state drives up to 1 TB, while the 15.6-in Galaxy Book Ion has room to expand memory with an extra SSD and DDR4 RAM slots.
Graphical grunt isn’t a focus here – all four models are running either Intel UHD or Intel Iris Plus Graphics. These integrated chipsets will get the job done for basic stuff, but don’t expect to do much hardcore gaming or 3D modeling work. If you want to do some of that stuff, the 15.6-in models offer the option of GeForce MX250 GPUs, but these are still fairly entry-level chips.
Battery-wise, the new Galaxy Books have capacities of 69.7 Wh, which should keep them going for a decent amount of time. Samsung doesn’t put a number on battery life, but says they’re “long lasting” and “high efficiency.” They can generously share that power, too – Wireless Powershare means users can plonk their phones or wearables down on the touchpad to charge them up.
For video calls, the Galaxy Books all have 720p cameras and dual array microphones, and they can all be unlocked with fingerprint scans, thanks to the Windows Hello system. They’re all designed to be fairly slim, too – the two 13.3-in models are just 12.9 mm thick, while the 15.6-in ones only add 2 mm. All four models weigh in between 0.97 and 1.57 kg (2.14 and 3.46 lb).
The main point of difference between the the Galaxy Book Flex and the Galaxy Book Ion is that the Flex has a touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge. That lets it fold right over to become more of a tablet-like device. The included S Pen stylus can be used in writing and drawing applications, as well as for other quick movements such as switching slides in a PowerPoint presentation or rewinding video.
If you don’t need that functionality, the Galaxy Book Ion is a more straight-laced professional machine. It looks fairly elegant and the 15.6-in model has expandable storage.
And finally, the ports are slightly different between models. The Galaxy Book Flex models have two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB-C and a combination UFS/MicroSD slot. The Galaxy Book Ion, meanwhile, only has one Thunderbolt 3, but two USB 3 ports and HDMI, as well as the UFS/MicroSD.
The Galaxy Book Flex and Ion will be available in December, but there’s no word yet on pricing.