Samsung has never gone too hard into laptops, and while that’s not necessarily changing at Mobile World Congress this weekend, they do have a pretty cool 2-in-1 for artists to consider. While the Galaxy Book can’t compete with the Surface Pro on specs alone, some cool S Pen tricks make the latest tablet-style 2-in-1 device a promising digital canvas.
The Galaxy Book is a Windows 10 tablet with a thin, detachable keyboard. Like it is with the Surface and other similar 2-in-1s, the keyboard snaps onto the tablet using magnetic connectors that power the keyboard, meaning there’s no need to pair the keyboard or charge it separately. The keyboard has island-style keys with 1.5 mm of travel, which is pretty good for such a thin keyboard. Samsung has also preset three levels of brightness for the keyboard backlight, instead of the one option we usually see.
Just as important as the keyboard is the S Pen, which has been souped up just for the Galaxy Book. 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity is beyond what we’ve been seeing on bundled styluses, and the tip is precise to .7 mm, making it a good choice for perfecting finer details. More importantly, this S Pen can detect tilt, which is a big help with shading. This isn’t possible with the Surface Pro 4, although it is possible with the iPad Pro.
But, to take full advantage of that S Pen, the Galaxy Book will need to run some good art programs. That requires processing power, and while the Galaxy Book doesn’t deliver what you can get on the Surface or iPad Pro lines, it’s no slouch, either. Samsung has two models, a 10″ and a 12″. The Galaxy Book 10 is a little less powerful, with a 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor and 4 GB of RAM. It’ll have a 10.6″ 1920 x 1280 display set into an 8.9 mm thick frame, which will weigh 645 grams. It’ll only have a single forward-facing 5 MP camera. Powering everything will be a 30.4 Whr battery that will be charged using a USB Type-C 3.1 connector (with Fast Charging) — according to Samsung, it should last up to 10 hours on a single charge. The Galaxy Book 10 will be available with either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage, but there will be a microSD card slot supporting up to 256 GB cards either way.
The Galaxy Book 12 is the big prize. Samsung has stepped up to a 3.1 GHz dual-core 7th gen Intel Core i5 processor and a 12″ 2160 x 1440 AMOLED display, which will prove much more attractive for digital artists. This one will come with either 128 GB or 256 GB of storage (with the same microSD card slot), but there’s good reason to opt for the latter — that configuration sees a bump to 8 GB of RAM, which makes it a good enough machine to handle Photoshop well.
The 12″ model will also be a bit thinner at 7.4 mm, but it’ll be heavier at 754 grams. It’ll also have a bigger battery (39 Whr), which it will need to handle that higher resolution AMOLED display. Still, Samsung indicates that the Book 12 should see an even greater 10.5 hours of battery life. They’ve also added an extra USB Type-C 3.1 port, along with a 13 MP autofocus camera on the back.
Both models will have 802.11 ac MIMO Wi-Fi, so they can connect to either 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi networks (the latter are faster, but have shorter range). Along with Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi Direct is also being added, so it’ll be possible to cast videos from the tablet to a larger monitor or TV with Wi-Fi Direct. And, both models have optional LTE Cat 6 connectivity, which opens up max speeds of 300 Mbps (what you actually get will depend on your carrier).
The Galaxy Book is mostly a Windows 10 machine, but Samsung couldn’t resist adding a little something of their own. Samsung Flow can sync notifications with other Samsung devices, and can enable auto-tethering and sharing of files.
We’re not sure when the Galaxy Book will be available or how much it will cost, but we’ll update this post once we know. For what it’s worth, we do know that the tablet will come in the silver you see pictured.