Categories
Game

LG’s OLED Flex is a flat panel and a curved display in one

A few days ago, Corsair introduced a 45-inch display called Xeneon Flex with a panel made by LG that you can bend to switch between a flat and a curved screen. Turns out LG also developed a bendable monitor model of its own. The Korean company has just unveiled the LG OLED Flex or LX3, a 42-inch screen that you can manually adjust until it reaches a curvature of 900R. To note, Corsair’s has a max curvature of 800R, and a smaller number means the monitor’s curve is more pronounced. 

You can quickly adjust the Flex’s curvature by using a dedicated button on its remote control and choosing either of the two available presents. But you can also manually adjust its degree of curvature in five percent increments, giving you over 20 levels of curve to to choose from. Further, you can tilt the monitor towards or away from you and adjust the height of its stand by 140 millimeters. 

LX3 uses the company’s backlight-free and self-lit OLED technology and was designed to have a 0.1 millisecond response time and low input lag. It also gives you the power to adjust the size of the image onscreen so you can choose to use the whole monitor or just a part of it, if you want to see the whole picture at a glance — say for games that need you to be aware of your environment. 

LG also gave the monitor exclusive access to its new Game app, which has shortcuts to popular gaming-related apps like Twitch and YouTube and lists all your connected external input devices. Speaking of connected devices, the model’s Switching Hub function lets you easily switch device connection between your PC and the monitor. You can use the monitor’s built-in mic and anything connected to its USB ports, including headsets and keyboards, and then press a button to use the devices connected to the PC instead. Other features include two front-firing 40W speakers, support for Dolby Atmos and support for Dolby Vision gaming.

LG has yet to announce pricing or relate date for the model, but it will showcase the OLED Flex at IFA 2022 in Berlin. 

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Categories
Computing

Staples Is Practically Giving Away the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5

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Prime Day might be in the rear window, but there are still amazing deals happening on big-ticket tech items, like the ones you’ll find in these laptop deals. Right now, Staples is practically giving away this 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 with touch display, one of the most versatile laptops that money can buy. It’s down to $810, a massive drop from its regular price of $900. That’s $90 off, but only if you act fast.

The highlight of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is the versatility of its 14-inch touch display, which you can bend to adjust the functionality of your new laptop. You can set it up like a regular laptop, of course, but it also folds, so it can act like a tablet — wonderful for creative projects but also great for reading and streaming. It can also be folded back onto itself, creating a tent, which can be another great way to employ your laptop during travel or while collaborating with friends or coworkers. There’s also a Stand mode, which is also ideal for viewing content like your favorite TV shows as well as work presentations.

But the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 isn’t just handy because of its hinge and screen; it’s got great guts as well. It’s powered by a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 quad-core processor with up to 4.7GHz speed and is loaded with 12GB of RAM, which will ensure that the newest games, and the biggest programs — like design or video editing software — will run quickly and smoothly. Also, there’s a giant amount (512GB) of solid-state drive storage to keep all your files safe and give you the ability to access them quickly. There’s great sound, thanks to Dolby Audio-based audio, and a 720p webcam with privacy shutter for all your Zoom calls. Also, it comes with Windows 10 Home, so it’s ready to work right out of the box.

A final standout feature of this Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5: Its battery lasts up to 10 hours, which is really the most you can expect for a laptop that costs less than $1,000. That’s enough battery for all-day use between charges; you won’t ever worry about running out of battery when you leave your home for the day with this laptop in your bag.

Nothing is more practical than a laptop with versatility, and it’s hard to find a handier one than the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5. Right now, at Staples, it’s down to only $810. That’s $90 off its regular price of $900 — a 10% drop. Don’t let this laptop get away!

More deals on cheap laptops

If a bendy Lenovo doesn’t strike you the right way, there are plenty of other options in the laptop deals below.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Tech News

Samsung Internet adds Video Flex mode for foldables, Web monetization

Although Chrome also has the market share in mobile, the browser market on smartphones is arguably more varied than on desktops. Some smartphone makers even have their own web browser, sometimes based on Chromium as well. Samsung is one of those and its self-named Samsung Internet browser just hit version 14, bringing a new feature for foldable phones as well as a way to make or send money on the Web.

One of the side benefits of a foldable phone is the ability to use two halves of the screen for different tasks without a significant loss in space. In addition to running two different apps side-by-side, however, there’s also the concept of splitting one app into two views or panels. Samsung calls this “Flex Mode” and it’s just one of the new features that Samsung Internet version 14 just added.

Earning money over the Internet is no longer an alien concept these days but it’s still a Wild West out there when it comes to such platforms. Coil is one such platform that enables payment microtransactions to websites and creators. Although not built into Samsung Internet, Coil is now available as a free add-on, though the service does require a $5 monthly subscription.

Samsung Internet also joins the growing number of web browsers implementing anti-tracking features. Samsung has so far not made any mention about supporting or blocking Google’s FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) third-party tracking cookie replacement.

Version 14 adds the ability to pair two websites in Samsung’s App Pair edge panel feature exclusive to some Galaxy phones as well as the ability to handwrite a URL in the address bar, at least for phones with a stylus. Although it has Samsung in the name, Samsung Internet is actually compatible with many Android phones and has even been rated by some as one of the better web browsers on Android.

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Categories
Computing

Lenovo’s Ryzen-powered Flex 14 convertible laptop with an Active Pen is just $529 right now

Amazon’s one-day PC sale is over, but the great laptop deals aren’t. The Lenovo Flex 14 convertible laptop is currently $529, for example. It’s been at this price for a few days, but before that it was sitting much higher, at around $590. It’s not clear when the price might go back up again.

This is an AMD-based Lenovo Flex 2-in-1, featuring a 2.1GHz, quad-core Ryzen 5 3500U processor with Radeon Vega 8 graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. That’s not a lot of storage for a Windows machine, but an NVMe drive paired with that processor means the performance on this thing will be zippy.

The display is a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen, and an active pen is included for all the fancy inking capabilities found within OneNote and other parts of Windows 10. The Flex 14 also includes a few nice extras, like a physical shutter to block your webcam and a fingerprint reader for biometric security. This laptop is rocking one USB-C connection, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and an SD card reader.

If you’re looking for a solid, speedy, lightweight laptop that can double as a tablet with dedicated inking capabilities, don’t overlook this deal.

[Today’s deal: Lenovo Flex 14 convertible laptop for $529 on Amazon.]

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

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Tech News

Comcast Xfinity Flex gets support for Discovery+ streaming service

Xfinity Flex, Comcast’s 4K set-top box, now supports Discovery+, the standalone streaming service from Discovery Network. In addition, the company says that Comcast will soon roll out support for the streaming service on its X1 platform, making it directly accessible to Xfinity TV subscribers.

Discovery+ is a standalone streaming service that provides users with access to Discovery’s video archives, as well as current shows and some exclusive originals. Users are able to watch shows from across the Discovery channel lineup, including content from Travel Channel, TLC, ID, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Animal Planet, and more.

According to the company, the streaming platform has more than 55,000 episodes across its show lineup, including channels from older seasons of current shows and its classic series. At this point in time, Discovery has more than 50 original shows for its streaming service on top of exclusive content.

The Comcast support for Discovery+ will include the ability to access the service using the Xfinity Voice Remote. Of course, you’ll need to sign up for Discovery+ in order to access it on Xfinity X1 and Flex; the plan costs $4.99/month with an ad-free option that costs a bit more at $6.99/month.

As part of this new offering, Discovery says its MotorTrend and Food Network Kitchen apps are also now available on Comcast’s Flex streaming box and will soon be available on the Xfinity X1 platform.

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Categories
Computing

Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Book Flex, Galaxy Book Ion emphasize stunning displays, light weight

If you like big, beautiful screens, you may want to start saving up: Samsung’s new Galaxy Book Flex and Galaxy Book Ion will boast QLED screens and up to a whopping 600 nits of brightness for working outdoors.

Both the Galaxy Book Flex and the Galaxy Book Ion are part of Intel’s Project Athena, which has the chipmaker working closely with a PC maker’s engineering team to design “halo,” or flagship, devices. New features include the ability to charge a Galaxy phone via wireless charging embedded in the touchpad, as well as the bright new quantum-dot, or QLED, displays that feature 100 percent color accuracy.

samsung galaxy book ion with 10th gen intel core project athena verified onscreenb Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Ion

We’re interested to see what the battery life will be: Both the 13-inch and 15-inch Ion and Flex devices boast 69.7Wh batteries, which is higher capacity than normal, especially for a 13-inch device. Dial down the 1080p displays’ brightness when indoors, and you could have notebooks with exceptional battery life.

The Flex and Ion will join the Samsung Galaxy S, announced this summer as “Project Limitless,” which uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx for all-day battery life. However, Samsung invited Intel corporate vice president Gregory Bryant on stage to announce a second Samsung Galaxy S, which will use the Intel Lakefield processor. Samsung representatives clarified: “We have announced two versions of the Galaxy Book S,” one wrote in an email. Shipping dates will be revealed at a later time, Samsung said.

Both the Flex and the Ion use Intel’s 10th-gen chips: Comet Lake and Ice Lake, respectively. Both models will use Intel’s integrated GPUs in their 13-inch versions; and both notebooks will offer the option of an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU in their 15-inch versions.

samsung galaxy book flex with 10th gen intel core and intel iris plus graphics lifestyle Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex appears to be the more conventional of the two new notebooks, with a 360-degree hinge. It also integrates the S Pen, allowing drawing capabilities, access to the PENUP creative community, and, more importantly, allowing the S Pen to wirelessly control your PC with new gesture controls for PowerPoint and video playback. It’s all housed in a “Royal Blue” aluminum chassis, Samsung said.

The Galaxy Book Ion, for its part, is an aggressively designed ultralight that weighs just 2.53 pounds in its 13-inch form factor. Like the Flex it boasts a QLED display and the wireless charging, which looks like it will occupy your laptop’s touchpad when in use. 

One interesting aspect of the Galaxy Book Ion is that there’s a user-serviceable extra slot for both memory and storage, so if you want to add a bit more oomph in either respect, you can, without too much hassle. Full specs of the Galaxy Book Ion and Galaxy Book Flex are below. Both devices will ship in early 2020, Samsung says.

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Categories
AI

Flex Logix raises $55M to design AI chips for edge enterprise applications

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Flex Logix, a startup designing reconfigurable AI accelerator chips, today announced that it closed a $55 million funding round led by Mithril Capital Management. CEO Geoff Tate says the funding will enable the company to build out its software, engineering, and customer support teams to accelerate the availability of its hardware and software for edge enterprise applications.

AI accelerators are a type of specialized hardware designed to speed up AI applications, particularly neural networks, deep learning, and various form of machine learning. They focus on low-precision arithmetic or in-memory computing, which can boost the performance of large AI algorithms and lead to state-of-the-art results in natural language processing, computer vision, and other domains. That’s perhaps why they’re forecast to have a growing share of edge computing processing power, making up a projected 70% of it by 2025, according to a recent survey by Statista.

Mountain View, California-based Flex Logix, which was founded in 2014, claims its AI inference chip — InferX X1 — is among the fastest and most efficient. The InferX1 outperforms Nvidia’s Xavier NX on the popular computer vision benchmark YOLOv3 and “real customer models,” according to Flex Logix, and the company says it’s targeting a price-to-performance ratio 10 to 100 times better than existing edge inference solutions.

“Flex Logix set out to be for FPGA what Arm is for processors,” Tate told VentureBeat via email. “We believe this original eFPGA business can grow to be as big as Arm’s over time, while our second line of business is driving edge AI Inference capabilities into high volume applications, thus growing the market to the billions of dollars that market forecasters predict.”

The InferX X1 also features what Flex Logix calls a reconfigurable tensor processor, nnMax, containing 64 processors coupled with SRAM that can be reprogrammed in 4 millionths of a second. In machine learning, a tensor is a generalization of vectors and matrices — representations of the data inputs, outputs, and transformations within neural networks. Flex Logix asserts that the nnMax is 3 to 18 times more efficient in terms of throughput per millimeter squared than the average Nvidia GPU.

Flex Logix

“[The nnMax] reconfigures the 64 [processors] and RAM resources to efficiently implement a layer with a full bandwidth, dedicated data path, like an ASIC, then repeats this layer by layer,” Flex Logix explains on its website. “[We use] a new breakthrough interconnect architecture with less than half the silicon area of traditional mesh interconnect, fewer metal layers, higher utilization, and higher performance … We can easily scale up our architectures to deliver compute capacity of any size … using a patented tiling architecture with interconnects at the edge of the tiles that automatically form a larger array of any size.”

On the software side, Flex Logix’s compiler takes models from machine learning frameworks including Google’s TensorFlow and ONNX and optimizes them for its nnMax and InferX1 architectures. A performance modeler is available now and in use by “dozens” of customers, and Flex Logix eventually plans to make available software drivers for operating systems commonly used in server and real-time scenarios.

Flex Logix’s products have yet to come to market, but when they do, the company says they’ll be available in PCIe card and M.2 format for edge servers and gateways. A PCIe board containing the InferX1, X1P1, is expected to kick off production in Q2 2021 priced between $399 and $499, depending on the processor speed. A less powerful variant of the chip, InferX1 1KU, will cost between $99 and $199, with volume pricing reaching as low as $34 to $69.

Flex Logix

Flex Logix has competition in a market that’s anticipated to reach $91.18 billion by 2025. In March 2020, Hailo, a startup developing hardware designed to speed up AI inferencing at the edge, nabbed $60 million in venture capital. California-based Mythic has raised $85.2 million to develop custom in-memory compute architecture. Graphcore, a Bristol, U.K.-based startup creating chips and systems to accelerate AI workloads, has a war chest in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And Baidu’s growing AI chip unit was recently valued at $2 billion after funding.

But Flex Logix investor Ajay Royan points to Tate’s pedigree as one reason for his continued confidence. Tate previously managed AMD’s microprocessor and logic group, and he took his first startup, chip licensing firm Rambus, from four people and $2 million in equity to a Nasdaq IPO and multibillion-dollar market cap. Flex Logix says its revenue in 2020 was in the “double digits” millions and is expected to grow 50% to 100% this year.

“We are impressed with the … architecture that Flex Logix has developed based on unique intellectual property that gives it a sustainable competitive advantage in a very high growth market,” Royan said in a press release. “This technology advantage positions Flex Logix for rapid growth in edge enterprise inference in applications such as medical, retail, industrial, robotics and more. It is even more impressive that they have done this with so little capital and at the same time built a cash-flow positive … business with large growth potential as system-on-chip designers look to incorporate reconfigurability into their communications and data centers.”

Lux Capital, Eclipse Ventures, and the Tate Family Trust also participated in Flex Logix’s latest fundraising round, a series D. It brings the company’s total raised to date to $82 million.

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Categories
Computing

Lenovo’s Ryzen-powered Flex 14 convertible laptop plummets to $570

There’s a solid deal circulating the Internet on a convertible laptop packing a high-end Ryzen mobile CPU. Amazon is selling the Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 for $570. That’s the all-time low, and though the price has been dropping in recent weeks, it wasn’t that long ago this laptop was selling for over $650.

This particular Lenovo Flex 14 is packing the quad-core, eight thread Ryzen 7 3700U. The processor speeds along with a of 2.3GHz base clock and a 4GHz boost clock. It’s also packing integrated Radeon RX Vega 10 graphics.

Beyond the processor, the laptop packs a 14-inch IPS 1080p touchscreen display, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of blazing-fast NVMe SSD storage. For connectivity, it has one HDMI out, one USB-C, a multi-card reader, and two standard USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Lenovo says it supports up to 8 hours of battery power. This version of the Flex 14 supports active pens, but doesn’t come with one included.

Overall this would be a solid-performing, nice-sized daily driver for most people. The laptop couldn’t handle modern AAA games well, but the integrated Radeon graphics should let you get in some solid play sessions with esports and other less graphically intensive titles. The modest storage capacity could hurt if you use this as your full-time computer, but you can get past that if you don’t mind offloading data to an external drive or online storage, or even swapping in a bigger SSD.

If the laptop runs out at Amazon it’s also available at Newegg for the same price.

[Today’s deal: Lenovo Flex 14 (AMD) for $570 at Amazon.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

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Categories
Computing

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 6 14 (2019) review: A solid, bargain-priced 2-in-1 saddled with iffy battery life

One of the best things about Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake processors is that we’re seeing much cheaper prices for laptops powered by 8th-gen Intel CPUs, and here’s a case in point. The Lenovo IdeaPad 6 14 manages to pack in a quad-core Core i5 chip and a full-HD touchscreen into a 2-in-1 form factor, all for just $500. It’s a solid system by any standard, delivering impressive productivity performance for its price. Unsurprisingly, however, you’ll have to settle for some compromises, including a dim display (typical for a budget system) and mediocre battery life.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested. 

Price and configuration

We tested a $499 version of the IdeaPad Flex 6 14 (SKU number 81EM000KUS, available on Walmart.com) that, on paper, looks like a solid performer when it comes to everyday computing tasks and productivity, although it’s a little cramped in the storage department.

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1080 touchscreen
  • Storage: 128GB SSD

For a $500 convertible, these specs look pretty much on target. That 8th-gen, quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU usually does the trick when it comes to Office, web browsing, and other daily computing chores. The 8GB of RAM should help smooth any multitasking bumps. Lenovo doesn’t specify whether the touch-enabled 14-inch screen uses IPS display technology, but based on the solid viewing angles I saw during my testing, I’d say it’s a safe bet. The integrated graphics is standard issue for a productivity-minded laptop in this price range. You’ll be able to play chess and do a little light photo editing, but if you try to play Fortnite, you should expect chopping and jaggy visuals. Our biggest gripe would be with the skimpy 128GB solid-state drive, which only leaves about 92GB of free space once you account for Windows, Office, and other miscellaneous apps.

Design

Lenovo isn’t known for flashy design when it comes to its laptops, and our onyx-black IdeaPad Flex 6 14 review unit is no exception.

lenovo flex ideapad 6 14 81em000kus angle Ben Patterson/IDG

It’s a bit on the plain side, but the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 6 14 is also pleasingly thin.

Measuring 12.9 x 9 x 0.7 inches, the Flex 6 14 feels pleasingly thin, but it’s also a tad heavy at 3.4 pounds (or 3.9 pounds if you include the AC adapter). Its flat aluminum lid is featureless save for a small, understated Lenovo logo in the back-left corner. Being the 2-in-1 laptop that it is, the Flex 6 14 lets you rotate its display all the way around for tablet use, or you can also tent it on a desk or place it keyboard-down with its display angled up, kiosk style.

Speaking of the Flex 6 14’s touchscreen, it arrives with fairly thin bezels along the sides and top, but also a chunky 1.5-inch bottom bezel. Looking down at the keyboard, the brushed aluminum hand rest looks polished and refined, if a little plain.

Display

The IdeaPad Flex 6 14’s full-HD display is something of a mixed bag. Let’s start with the good points, including its sharp 1920×1080 resolution, as well as its solid viewing angles, with the screen’s brightness fading only slightly when viewed from a 45-degree angle or greater. As I mentioned earlier, Lenovo doesn’t specify whether this particular model of the Flex 6 14 uses an IPS (in-plane switching) panel, but it sure looks like it does.

lenovo flex ideapad 6 14 81em000kus tented Ben Patterson/IDG

You can tent the IdeaPad Flex 6 14 on a table thanks to its 2-in-1 design.

I was less impressed by the display’s overall brightness, though, with the screen coming in at a relatively dim 231.7 nits (or candelas). In general, we prefer laptop display brightness closer to the 250-nit range. While 230 nits is still adequate for indoor viewing, you’ll have a tougher time seeing the display if you take the Flex 6 14 outdoors.

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Categories
Computing

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex α: A slim QLED-packing 2-in-1 with a ‘palatable’ price tag

Samsung’s QLED-equipped Galaxy Book laptops are coming, and no, you won’t have to spend north of $1,000 for them. The upcoming Galaxy Book Flex α (or “alpha”) is slated to arrive in the first half of 2020 with a relatively tame sticker price.

Starting at $830, the 2-in-1 Galaxy Book Flex α is a variant of the pricier Galaxy Book Flex. Its differences include a slightly thicker and heavier shell, a smaller battery, and pared-back features. Then there’s its 13.3-inch QLED (or quantum-dot) display, complete with 1080p resolution, 100-percent color accuracy, and up to a whopping 600 nits of brightness.

Let’s pause for a moment to dig into the details:

  • CPU: Undisclosed Intel 10th-gen Core processor
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) QLED display, 600 nits
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
  • Memory: Up to 12GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 512GB SSD
  • Ports: USB-C, USB 3.0 x 2, HDMI, microSD, combo audio jack
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2)
  • Battery: 54Wh
  • Dimensions: 304.9 x 202 x 13.9mm
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds (1.19 kg)

A few things pop out when taking a glance at the Galaxy Book Flex α’s specs, starting with the fact that the alpha is a hair thicker than the comparable 13-inch version of the standard Flex and slightly heavier. That said, the teeny difference in girth and weight probably won’t be too noticeable in a backpack or briefcase.

Samsung didn’t give us much detail in the processor department, other than that it’s a 10th-gen Intel CPU. Given the integrated Intel UHD graphics core, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re in Comet Lake territory rather than the Ice Lake CPU in the Flex 13, but we’ll update this story once Samsung gives us some clarification.

Also a step down from the standard Galaxy Book Flex are the Flex α’s maximum memory and storage capacities, which are capped at 12GB and 512GB respectively, versus 16GB and 1TB for the pricier Flex.

Another key missing feature is Thunderbolt 3. The Flex α settles for plain USB-C, although at least the newer, cheaper Flex throws in a pair of legacy USB 3.0 Type-A ports. The standard Galaxy Book Flex serves up a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and USB-C, but no USB Type-A ports.

Then there’s the battery: The Flex α makes do with a 54 watt-hour battery, compared to the 69.7Wh battery in both the 13-inch and 15-inch Flex laptops. Samsung promises up to 17.5 hours of battery life from the Flex, but we’re curious to see if that estimate stands up to real-world conditions.

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