Samsung Galaxy Guide Evaluation: Too Many Compromises

Samsung Galaxy Book for Business

RRP $ 900.00

"The Samsung Galaxy Book for Business has good productivity performance and battery life, but its display is below average and it lacks great features."

advantages

  • Thin and light

  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad

  • Solid productivity performance

  • Battery life for good productivity

disadvantage

  • Disappointing display quality

  • Lid and chassis yield too much

  • No useful business features

More than ever, Samsung is committed to creating a laptop that lives up to the Galaxy brand's pedigree.

However, the Galaxy Book Pro came close with its ultra-thin case and vibrant OLED screen. But can a cheaper, simpler version of this laptop have the same effect?

The Samsung Galaxy Book I tested was technically the "for business" model, although its hardware is almost identical to the consumer model. The laptop has an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, a 15-inch 1080p screen, and is priced at $ 900.

That's in the middle of the package when you factor in the price, features, and design. Unfortunately, the price isn't low enough to warrant so many compromises, especially with so many other great options

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Book is made of aluminum, which usually results in a solid build quality. However, Samsung must have used thin aluminum to save weight, because the lid bends more than I would like and there is a lot of keyboard flex. The Acer Aspire 5, a budget-conscious 15-inch device that you can buy in a similar configuration for less than $ 500, had slightly better keyboard deck and chassis rigidity, although the lid was also a bit pliable.

The HP Envy x360 15 is about the same price as the Galaxy Book and is much more solid. Of course, if you go up the price, you get much better build quality, but I think the Galaxy Book should feel more solid at its $ 900 retail price. An example of a much more expensive laptop that shares the same lack of rigidity as the Galaxy Book is the LG Gram 16, which is made of magnesium but also weighs just 2.62 pounds – in which case you're trading solidity for extremely light weight .

At 3.42 pounds, the Galaxy Book is also relatively light for a 15-inch device, while the Acer Aspire 5 comes close at 3.64 pounds. However, the Acer benefits from some plastic components. More rugged laptops like the Envy x360 15 and the Dell XPS 15 typically weigh four pounds or more. The Galaxy Book is 0.61 inches thick, slimmer than the Aspire 5 at 0.70 inches, the Envy x360 15 at 0.72 inches, and the XPS 15 at 0.71 inches.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

All in all, one of the Galaxy Book's greatest strengths is its thin and light nature, which makes bending and bending the laptop a little more forgiving. However, the Galaxy Book's bezels around the old-school 16: 9 display aren't that tiny, especially the top and bottom, and it's still a full-sized 15-inch laptop.

Aesthetically, the Galaxy Book is a rather mundane silver color that is reminiscent of so many other laptops. It has simple lines and angles and black keycaps with white lettering. There's nothing wrong with minimalist designs – HP has perfected it on devices like the Envy x360 15 – but the design philosophy can go too far. I find the Galaxy Book is on the wrong side of that thin line.

A note about the software. Samsung offers a ton of additional applications in addition to the usual support utilities. This includes Samsung Flow, a pen app that cannot be used on the Galaxy Book, Samsung Gallery, Samsung Studio Plue, Samsung TV Plus, etc. Some of these apps can be useful, but for those who don't want to install additional apps on their laptops, the Galaxy Book gets annoying.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The connectivity is fine. Two USB-C ports, a full-size HDMI port, and a USB-A port line the left side, while the right side has another USB-A port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm. is equipped with an audio jack. There's no Thunderbolt 4 support we've seen on laptops for the same price. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 take over wireless tasks.

power

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You can buy the Galaxy Book with either a Core i5-1135G7 or a Core i7-1165G7. My test device was equipped with the Core i5 and did well considering the CPU.

In all of our benchmarks, the Galaxy Book was at or near the top of a handful of other Core i5-1135G7-equipped laptops. Only the Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 could match or exceed its values. The Galaxy Book was particularly strong in our most CPU-intensive benchmark, including our Handbrake test, which encodes a 420 MB video as H.265. Its 175 second result was much faster than any other except the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2, and it can rival many Core i7 laptops in our database. The Samsung was also strong in Cinebench and narrowly lost to the ThinkBook.

In the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, the Galaxy Book again took the top spot with 4735. It also did well in the areas of essentials, productivity and content creation of the benchmark.

Overall, the Galaxy Book was a solid productivity performer that could keep up with heavy workflows. Its performance is another area in which the Galaxy Book earned its $ 900 price tag.

Geekbench (single / multiple) Handbrake
(Seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single / multiple) PCMark 10 3DMark time spy
Samsung Galaxy Book (Core i5-1135G7) 1401/5221 175 1361/5391 4735 1584
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14
(Core i5-1135G7)
1397/4301 213 1325/4411 4550 1026
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2
(Core i5-1135G7)
1406/5379 178 1357/5502 4668 1511
HP Envy 14 (Core i5-1135G7) 1549/5431 204 1399/4585 n / A 1380
Acer Aspire 5 2021 (Core i3-1115G4) 1215/2544 300 1274/3128 3752 652

In the 3DMark Time Spy test, the Galaxy Book does well with 1584 points and leads our comparison group. However, that's not a good score for a gaming laptop. We usually use Fortnite to test thin and light laptops with integrated graphics, in this case Intel's Iris Xe, but the game crashed with a video memory error every time I tried to run it. Either way, you can rely on this laptop for older games, esports titles or newer games with low resolutions and graphics settings.

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At $ 900, expect a decent display. Given that Samsung is known for making great displays, the Galaxy Book is twofold. Subjectively, I found the 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display bright enough for all the places I normally work, but I wasn't impressed by the apparent contrast or colors. In particular, I found black text on a white background a bit gray.

My colorimeter confirmed my suspicions. The Galaxy Book's brightness was okay at 326 nits, exceeding our 300 nit threshold. From then on, however, things went downhill. The display's colors were surprisingly narrow with only 48% AdobeRGB and 64% sRGB and not particularly accurate with a DeltaE of 2.41 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). That's a big disappointment, especially at the price.

Worse, the contrast was only 700: 1, well below our preferred 1,000: 1. It's not uncommon to see results like this on laptops that cost hundreds of dollars less, but I expect something better at this price point. The HP Envy x360 15, for example, was not as bright with 270 cd / m², but achieved 71% of AdobeRGB and 95% of sRGB with an accuracy of 1.06. The contrast was also significantly better at 900: 1.

This is a laptop designed for the casual business user and doesn't need the wide and accurate colors that developers demand. But they are expecting something closer to the industry average for the machine class, and this display just doesn't live up to that standard. I was surprised to see Samsung put such an inferior display in a laptop at this price point.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The keyboard has a standard layout with a lot of space and large keycaps with continuous 3-level background lighting. There isn't a lot of travel, but the switches were crisp and snappy with a comfortable floor movement. They were calm too which is a plus. I would rate this as a very good keyboard that is only one step behind the best, such as those found in HP's Specter range and Dell's XPS.

The touchpad is larger than average and has a comfortable surface with Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers. It handled Windows 10's entire suite of multitouch gestures with consistent reliability and had a solid but quiet click. This is a great touchpad that is only surpassed by the much larger version of the Dell XPS 15 in 15-inch laptops. The display is non-touchable, which is always disappointing.

Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader built into the power button. It was quick and accurate, and logged me in the instant I hit the laptop wake-up button.

Battery life

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Book offers 56 watt hours of battery life, which is not much for a 15-inch laptop. I did not go into my battery test with great expectations.

The Galaxy Book only lasted 8.25 hours in our web browser test, which ran through a number of popular websites. That is well below the 10 hours we'd like to see in this test. The HP Envy x360 15 managed 11.25 hours, the Dell XPS 15 with its power-hungry OLED display lasted almost an hour longer. The Galaxy Book ran for 11.25 hours on our video test repeating a local 1080p movie trailer, which is a stronger score but still below average. The Envy x360 15 reached 13.65 hours and the XPS 15 was just minutes away from the Galaxy Book.

I switched to the PCMark 10 application test, which is the best indicator of productivity performance, and the Galaxy Book got 11 hours. That too is a stronger score and closer to the average. The Envy x360 15 outperformed the Galaxy Book again with 12.5 hours, the XPS 15 fell behind with just eight hours.

The Galaxy Book will likely last a full working day as long as your workflow isn't too CPU intensive. These aren't the best results for a 15-inch laptop at the price, but they aren't terrible either.

Our opinion

As I said at the beginning, the Samsung Galaxy Book is a strange laptop. The model I tested is aimed at business users, but does not offer anything that many consumer laptops do not offer. Its greatest strength is solid productivity performance and a thin and light chassis, and while these are welcome for business users, they are not exactly business-specific features.

Most disappointing is the display, which should offer a better experience for the price of the Galaxy Book. The battery life was a mixed picture, with the laptop doing well in the PCMark 10 test but not as good in our other benchmarks. And in terms of look and feel, the notebook is a bit boring and lacks rigidity. There's just not much to recommend this machine over its broad competition.

Are there alternatives?

The HP Envy x360 15 is a strong alternative to the Galaxy Book. It's less expensive, but offers better performance and battery life, and a great display. It's also a convertible 2-in-1 that adds flexibility.

We haven't reviewed many 15-inch laptops in this price range lately, but if you're ready to drop on a 14-inch unit, there are several good options. The HP Envy 14 is a good example with the same performance, superior battery life, and a better display for a similar price.

How long it will take?

The Samsung Galaxy Book isn't the toughest notebook we've tested in this price range, but it's still solid enough to last for several years. The components are also up to date, so it should keep up with Windows 10 and 11. The one-year warranty can be extended to Samsung's Care + for Business warranty extension.

Should you buy it?

No. There are just too many other good 15-inch laptops out there for about the same price, and the Galaxy Book doesn't offer much to entice its intended business destination. If you really like the design and performance of the laptop, then consider the consumer version of the Galaxy Book.

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