Samsung Galaxy Book S review: Incredible battery life, WWAN options sell this on-the-go PC

The Samsung Galaxy Book S is worth a look for several reasons: This ultralight, fanless 13.3-inch clamshell combines superb battery life with WWAN connectivity that compels you to work on the go.  Priced at $1,000 on, the Galaxy Book S is affordable, too.

The Galaxy Book S boasts Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8cx chip, an ARM processor that trades middling performance for a crazy 16 hours of battery life. Samsung’s learned what users like: The laptop adds a decent fingerprint reader, USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

It’s the best Qualcomm-powered PC we’ve seen in some time, including the Microsoft Surface Pro X, but the standard performance caveats of Snapdragon notebooks remain. Meanwhile, some X86-based machines have improved so much in battery life that they’ve stolen Qualcomm’s claim to fame. 

Samsung Galaxy Book S primary 1 Mark Hachman / IDG

Samsung Galaxy Book S basic features

Samsung’s own site offers the Samsung Galaxy Book S right now, though it’s scheduled to ship by April 1. You must select from one of two carriers, Sprint or Verizon. (There is no unlocked version.) Samsung asked us to add that while the Samsung Galaxy Book S is sold out right now through Sprint, however, it is still currently available for purchase through Best Buy and Microsoft, too. 

While Sprint is charging the full $1,000 price, Verizon’s currently taking $100 off if you pay for it as part of its 0% APR 24-month payment program via the Samsung link. Trade-in options are available for both carriers. We were unable to test the purchase via Verizon due to lack of an account; however, we successfully tried the same process using the Sprint link.

Regardless of how you purchase, the Galaxy Book S will have these specs:

  • Display: 13.3-inch (1920×1080) 10-point touch
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx octa-core processor (2.84GHz, 1.8GHz)
  • Graphics: Adreno 680
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Ports: 2 USB-C, microSD/nanoSIM tray
  • Camera: 720p HD (user-facing)
  • Battery: 39.8Wh (rated), 39.4Wh (as tested)
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac VHT80 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5; X24 modem for LTE WWAN
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Dimensions (inches): 12 x 8 x 0.24 inches (6.2mm)
  • Weight: 2.18 pounds, 2.49 pounds with charger
  • Colors: Mercury Gray (as tested), Earthy Gold
  • Price:  MSRP: $1,000 (Samsung); $1,000 (Sprint); $900 (Verizon)
  • Optional accessories: $80 Samsung Galaxy Books S Pouch

The Samsung Galaxy Book S ships with the standard Windows bloatware (Candy Crush Friends, etc.), and a surprisingly light helping of Samsung apps. Samsung Gallery connects to Samsung’s cloud storage for images; Samsung Flow lets you move files between Samsung devices; and Samsung DeX connects a Galaxy phone in a desktop-like environment on your PC. Windows provides comparable apps itself, but the Samsung apps are designed to be more seamless.

Super-thin, super-light

At just over two pounds, the Samsung Galaxy Book S lands in tablet territory (including a keyboard). Thanks to its anodized aluminum construction, you’d have to call it one of the most impressive ultralight PCs around. We received the Mercury Gray color from Samsung for review, though the pinkish “Earthy Gold” is also available. 

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