The Samsung Galaxy Book S opens a new chapter in ultraportable laptops
The latest model of the Samsung Galaxy Book S marks a new chapter in the story of ultraportable laptops – it's the first device to appear with Intel's new Lakefield processor, a hybrid chip designed to combine the best of both mobile and desktop architecture.
Manufacturers have already been experimenting with putting smartphone-style chips inside laptops, looking for the ultimate mix of connectivity and battery life. The first of the current generation Samsung Galaxy Book S models to go on sale featured the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor.
But while these chips can speed up boot up times, offer instant access to the web via 4G LTE, and keep your laptop running all day – just like your phone – they lack the grunt of the CPUs traditionally developed for laptops by Intel and AMD. Some more powerful applications and games will struggle to run at all.
That's the problem the new Intel Lakefield architecture is intending to solve, combining both the low power draw and instant loading times of a Snapdragon with the compatibility and power we're all used to from Intel's desktop processors.
To do this, Lakefield essentially combines larger desktop-style cores and smaller mobile-style cores on the same chip, delegating tasks to each group as required. It's marketed as hybrid technology, and the plan is that it successfully emulates the key benefits of a phone without sacrificing too much in terms of performance.
It's certainly the way the market is heading – Apple has already announced that its Macs are going to be making the switch to CPUs based on the ARM architecture, which like the Qualcomm platform is designed for mobile devices first and foremost. In other words, the gap between the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro is going to shrink further.
Besides the headline Intel Core i5-L16G7 CPU, the new Samsung Galaxy Book S comes with 8 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of SSD storage. It features a 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display, and has the latest Wi-Fi 6 connectivity on board – but no integrated 4G LTE in the US (this will be an option in some international markets). Graphics are powered by the Intel UHD platform and Samsung is promising an impressive 17 hours of battery life.
What impresses most about the Samsung Galaxy Book S is its thinness and lightness. It's just 6.2 mm or 0.24 inches at its thinness point, and tips the scales at a mere 950 grams (2.1 pounds). It's on sale now direct from Samsung for $949 ($50 less than the same model with the Snapdragon 8cx inside it), with Mercury Gray and Earthy Gold your color options.