When it comes to tech, convincing the global creative community that there’s life outside of the “A” word has proven an arduous task. In recent years, however, various industry giants have made plays at finding themselves a place in this market. Some have been successful, others not so. Coming toward the end of a decade full of innovation, we’re seeing the lines between tablet and computer blurring considerably. Quick to capitalise on this, Samsung has released an intuitive and powerful pro-tablet that’s almost perfect for the modern creative; the Samsung Galaxy Book 12″.
Pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home, it’s fast, sleek, and much lighter than most fully-fledged laptops you may be lugging around. Unlike others in its class, it also comes stock off the showroom floor with both an S-Pen and keyboard; letting you get to work immediately – whether you’re in the office or at your favourite WiFi-friendly café.
Being used to Macs, it’s in my nature to be a little skeptical when working on a foreign interface. The Samsung Galaxy Book, however, made me feel very comfortable, very quickly, and the following reasons are why.
For the visually inclined, the Super AMOLED display is immediately noticeable from the moment the Galaxy Book is powered on. The blacks are rich and the colours are as vibrant as they should be; Samsung even claims it covers 99% of the Adobe RGB colour gamut. Making photography and image based work a breeze, this is a major draw-card for any creative type when considering other similar devices struggle to reach the 80% mark. With true colour that’s barely affected no matter how dim or bright you’ve set the display, those late-night streaming sessions are all the more binge-worthy after a long day’s hustle, too.
Interacting with the touch screen felt intuitive and natural, and little to no (noticeable) lag made for a pleasant experience while navigating social feeds and working through Monday’s emails alike. The S-Pen moves smoothly across the surface and works well for basic tasks and applications. Unfortunately, this is a different ballgame once you’re inside industry standard software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; workflow can be clunky at times, and while pressure sensitivity works across both programs with the S-Pen, tilt sensitivity is unfortunately exclusive to Photoshop. Mind you, the Galaxy Book isn’t trying to emulate the likes of high-end drawing tablets, just as any true digital illustrator wouldn’t be opting for a pro-tablet as their tool of choice.
The Galaxy Book’s aesthetic is neat, and if looks are important in your next piece of tech, Samsung definitely have you covered with its smooth, rounded metal backing. The tablet itself feels solid and has a sense of quality like any device upward of the $1k-mark should. The keyboard, which also functions as both a cover and foldable stand, falls short in this department when using it on anything else but a hard, flat surface. Flimsy when put to use on your lap, and the folding stand can be unpredictable if you’re attempting to set up shop on the go, or on your duvet for that matter. This is a minor issue which won’t kill your daily productivity once perched at your desk, and at worst a little frustrating during your morning commute entertainment. On the upside, it means the keyboard/cover/stand is lightweight, which is a massive bonus for you digital nomads considering a Windows-powered alternative.
Chatting via Skype is made easy through the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and if you really deem it necessary to take a snap with your oversized tablet in public, the 13-megapixel camera on the rear has your Insta-needs covered.
The Galaxy Book has an Intel Core i5-7200 processor inside its endearing exterior. In layman’s terms, this means it’s damn fast for a tablet. The fact it’s capable of running Adobe Creative Suite should say enough, although if you’re the type who keeps last year’s browser tabs open while editing three or four RAW files on Photoshop simultaneously, it’s worth considering the top-tier Galaxy Book working off 8GB of ram, rather than 4GB. A rare occurrence even with the lower specced model, this will avoid any latency, freezing, or glitching – remember this is a tablet, after all.
Windows 10 Home feels just like its namesake for anyone who knows their way around the ever-faithful Microsoft interface; it’s strangely familiar for potential converts like me, too. Samsung have pulled out all the stops with a tailored operating system, too; if you’re previously invested in the Galaxy brand, you’ll find custom add-ons like Samsung Flow and Samsung Notes loaded in your software. This will have your smartphone synced up with your tablet; letting you text, access content, and even link the two as security authenticators if either of your Galaxy devices were to go astray. Neat.
All In All
For those considering making the switch to a pro-tablet as their go-to, the Samsung Galaxy Book is a definite front-runner for a few reasons. Firstly, it reigns supreme compared to other options on the market due to its processor alone. The memory sits at a relatively healthy 128GB, which is upgradable to 256GB if you’re one for saving those outrageously large image files direct to computer (external hard-drives are a good thing). The battery life is acceptable; Samsung claim up to a solid 11 hours operating time here, although if you’re doing anything other than staring at a blank word document with the display dimmed to the lowest setting, expect to make it from nine to five on a good day.
Workflow comes naturally; moving between the keyboard and touch display also assured a sense of confidence through most tasks arising in the daily grind. While you wouldn’t rely on this machine as fully functional drawing tablet, it is a comfortable tool from the outset for creatives who aren’t afraid of a little Microsoft, and look no further if you’re simply in need of an upgrade for emails and spreadsheets.
The Wrap-Up – Samsung Galaxy Book Review
Tablets are fast becoming the near-perfect companion for the professional who can’t sit still (or stay in the same city). They may not be replacing the office desktop just yet, but they’re coming pretty close. The Samsung Galaxy Book is well worth your time if you’re looking to streamline that contemporary work-lifestyle.