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Benchmarked: Galaxy Book S is thinner, lighter, faster than MacBook Air

The Samsung Galaxy Book S crushes the Apple MacBook Air which ever way you look at it. (Source: Notebookcheck)
The Samsung Galaxy Book S crushes the Apple MacBook Air which ever way you look at it. (Source: Notebookcheck)
One of the reasons Microsoft has been pursuing Windows on ARM is that these devices have shown the ability to deliver outstanding battery life. In fact, Samsung claims that its Galaxy Book S can deliver up to 25 hours of continuous video playback. The Galaxy Book S also happens to be the first Snapdragon 8cx-powered laptop on the market and its performance on Geekbench 5 shows that it also offers excellent performance.

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We’ve had the Samsung Galaxy Book S in our hands for a few days now and, as our initial hands-on article reveals, the wait since its initial August unveiling has been worth it. We’ve now had a chance to run Geekbench 5 on the device which has been coded to run natively on the ARM64 architecture. The test result shows the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx optimizations have paid off when compared to the performance of the Snapdragon 855 on which it is based, while also revealing that it smokes the eighth-gen Intel ‘Amber Lake’ Core i5 ‘Y’ series chipset found in Apple’s current MacBook Air in multi-core performance.

When it comes to laptops, especially, performance-per-watt is where it’s at. The Snapdragon 8cx is a champ in this regard and really highlights Intel’s recent woes when it comes to getting its process nodes down to 10nm and beyond. The 8cx powering the Galaxy Book S is 7nm chip with a TDP of 7 W. The Intel Core i5-8210Y powering the MacBook Air is a 14nm chip with a TDP also of 7 W. As the benchmark table below shows, Samsung was absolutely vindicated in pursuing the Snapdragon 8cx for the Galaxy Book S instead of opting for a comparable Intel component.

The Intel Core i5-8210Y delivers a multi-core score of 1544 which compares poorly with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx multi-core score of 2745. Yet, despite fitting the MacBook Air with a 49.9 Wh battery, Apple claims it will deliver just 13 hours of continuous video playback. However, because of the superior performance-per-watt of the Snapdragon 8cx when paired with the smaller 42 Wh battery in the Galaxy Book S, it delivers up to 25 hours (claimed) of continuous video playback. You can probably also argue that Microsoft has done an excellent job of optimizing Windows on ARM so that it works so harmoniously in this WinARM union.

The MacBook Air weighs 1.25 kg (2.75 pounds) and is 15.6 mm (0.61-inches) at its thickest point. This compares with the Galaxy Book S which weighs 0.96 kg (2.11 pounds) and measures 11.8 mm (0.46-inches). Given that buyers of the slightly more expensive MacBook Air (US$1,099) are also only going to be doing relatively light-weight tasks on it like internet browsing and running Microsoft’s Office suite on it, why would anyone choose the MacBook Air over the Galaxy Book S (US$999)? Like the MacBook Air, the Galaxy Book S runs its operating system, pre-installed apps and the Office suite natively while also giving users the option to use 32-bit x86 apps for those occasions where you might want to use other apps.

We know where our smart money is going.

The Snapdragon 8cx in the Galaxy Book S trounces the Intel Core i5-8210Y in the MacBook Air. (Source: Notebookcheck)
The Snapdragon 8cx in the Galaxy Book S trounces the Intel Core i5-8210Y in the MacBook Air. (Source: Notebookcheck)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 02 > Benchmarked: Galaxy Book S is thinner, lighter, faster than MacBook Air
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-02-11 (Update: 2020-02-11)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.