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Samsung Galaxy Book 12 Convertible Review (First Impressions)

J. Simon Leitner (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/28/2017

Office to go. Samsung promises the highest productivity for people on the go with the new Galaxy Book 12. The Windows based tablet is always shipped with Keyboard Cover and S Pen. We had the chance to have a closer look at the convertible at the MWC in Barcelona. Here are our first impressions and benchmarks.

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After the Galaxy Tab Pro S from 2016, there is now new hardware for ultra-mobile users from Samsung. The Galaxy Book will be available as 10 and 12-inch model and is supposed to a productive companion thanks to Windows 10. Samsung confirms this orientation as a productive device, because the Galaxy Book is always bundled with the Keyboard Cover and the new S Pen. There is no definitive information about the price or the launch date, but we heard a release date in the end of the second quarter 2017 (June, July) and a price range of ~1,500 Euros behind closed doors.

Samsung's Galaxy Book 12 is therefore competing with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which currently retails for around 1,250 Euros in the smallest spec with Intel Core i5 CPU (4 GB, 128 GB SSD) including input pen and keyboard cover. However, Microsoft's device is still equipped with Intel Skylake CPUs, while Samsung already uses the latest 7th Gen chips (Kaby Lake).

Following another concept, but similarly priced, you can also see convertibles like Dell's latest XPS 13 2-in-1 or the Lenovo Yoga 910 as potential rivals.

Samsung Galaxy Book 12 (Galaxy Book Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
Display
12 inch , 2160 x 1440 pixel 216 PPI, Super AMOLED, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Storage
,  GB 
, 128/256 GB SSD
Connections
2 USB 3.1 Gen2, Audio Connections: headphones, Card Reader: MicroSD, Sensors: Accelerometer, Hall, Light
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, LTE Cat.6 (300Mbps), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.4 x 291.3 x 199.8 ( = 0.29 x 11.47 x 7.87 in)
Battery
39.04 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix
Additional features
Keyboard: Chicklet, Keyboard Light: yes, S-Pen, Keyboard Cover, Samsung Notes, Air Command, Samsung Flow
Weight
754 g ( = 26.6 oz / 1.66 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
1500 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Galaxy Book 12 is basically a Windows tablet shipping with an attachable keyboard cover as well as an input pen, and the result is a very portable 2-in-1 device. The tablet is made of aluminum and does not reveal any weaknesses in terms of build quality or stability in the first hands-on. At just 7.4 millimeters, the tablet is conveniently slim. However, the usual scenario will most likely include the keyboard cover, so you can rarely enjoy the excellent haptics of the tablet.

The keyboard dock has a rubberized surface with a velvety feel, which also prevents accidental slipping of the device. The cover can be folded behind the display and fixed in two stand positions with different angles via magnet. Due to the system design, you should use it on a solid surface if possible.

The size of the chassis is almost identical to the Galaxy Tab Pro S from 2016, but the new Galaxy Book is about one millimeter thicker. This is a result of the upgraded CPU since the new Samsung Galaxy Book is equipped with an Intel Core i5 CPU and active cooling solution, while the Tab Pro S used a passively cooled Core-M CPU.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 does not really differ in terms of size, either, but the passively cooled Huawei MateBook is more compact. Notebooks with 360-degree hinges like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 or the Lenovo Yoga 910 on the other hand are noticeably larger and thicker.

Size Comparison

Input Devices & Display

Samsung uses a 12-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels and HDR support. We noticed the AMOLED typical rich colors right away, just like the wide viewing angles.

The keyboard was inconspicuous in our first test, and it should even be suited for longer typing sessions. We were eager to try the new S Pen in combination with the Galaxy Book 12. The passive stylus feels good in the hand and enables satisfying handwritten inputs thank to the support for 1024 pressure levels. Notes and sketches worked well based on our initial experiences, but the precision might not be quite sufficient for professional graphics scenarios. Samsung also offers an optional stylus with the classic Staedtler design.

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Performance

Samsung will only offer the Galaxy Book 12 with the Intel Core i5-7200U based on the information we have so far. This means you can only influence the amount of memory (4 or 8 GB) as well as the storage capacity (128 or 256 GB). The pre-production unit on display was therefore the top-tier spec.

Processor

The Samsung Galaxy Book 12 manages a score of 326 points in the first Cinebench R15 Multi run. The system is therefore on par with similarly equipped notebooks and convertibles. We also ran a loop of the test and noticed a performance decrease of roughly 10 % after three runs. It seems that Samsung cannot utilize the full potential of the Core i5 processor over longer periods, at least in the case of the pre-production sample.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

The pre-production unit with the i5-7200U is roughly on par with i7-6500U equipped rivals in the comparison of Cinebench scores (one run). The previous Galaxy Tab Pro S with the Core M3 is easily beaten and we can see impressive advantages between 40-60%.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB-80VF004CGE
Intel Core i7-7500U
147 Points ∼67% +20%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Intel Core i7-6650U
132 Points ∼61% +8%
Dell XPS 13-9365 2-in-1
Intel Core i7-7Y75
130 Points ∼60% +7%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
Intel Core i7-6500U
128 Points ∼59% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12
Intel Core i5-7200U
122 Points ∼56%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel Core i7-6500U
117 Points ∼54% -4%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
107 Points ∼49% -12%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
91 Points ∼42% -25%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
90 Points ∼41% -26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
86 Points ∼39% -30%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB-80VF004CGE
Intel Core i7-7500U
354 Points ∼8% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Intel Core i7-6650U
342 Points ∼8% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12
Intel Core i5-7200U
326 Points ∼7%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
Intel Core i7-6500U
320 Points ∼7% -2%
Dell XPS 13-9365 2-in-1
Intel Core i7-7Y75
258 Points ∼6% -21%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
232 Points ∼5% -29%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel Core i7-6500U
221 Points ∼5% -32%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
218 Points ∼5% -33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
204 Points ∼5% -37%
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
46.05 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.7 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
326 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
122 Points
Help

Storage Devices

The storage solution (Samsung MZNTY256HDHP) of our pre-production sample has a capacity of 256 GB and manages good results in CrystalDiskMark, but cannot compete with PCIe-NVMe based solutions on the XPS 13 or the Lenovo Yoga 910, for instance.

Samsung Galaxy Book 12
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Lite-On CV1-8B128
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Dell XPS 13-9365 2-in-1
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB-80VF004CGE
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV512
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-35%
16%
54%
86%
Write 4k QD32
244.8
135
-45%
292.3
19%
250.2
2%
488.7
100%
Read 4k QD32
258.1
236.2
-8%
393.1
52%
411
59%
570.3
121%
Write 4k
94.65
48.44
-49%
106.3
12%
121.2
28%
159.7
69%
Read 4k
35.04
27.49
-22%
40.75
16%
32.93
-6%
43.5
24%
Write 512
296.8
160.9
-46%
304.3
3%
410.7
38%
579.6
95%
Read 512
411.4
298.7
-27%
396.7
-4%
966.3
135%
701.1
70%
Write Seq
494.6
162.9
-67%
304
-39%
629.4
27%
578.4
17%
Read Seq
488.3
419.8
-14%
833.7
71%
1206
147%
1412
189%

GPU Performance

The graphics performance of the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 takes a big leap over the predecessor. Compared to the Tab Pro S from 2016, we can see an advantage of 60% in 3DMark 11. This is still not sufficient for demanding games, and we also have to check the performance under sustained workloads, but casual games are still possible.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Intel Iris Graphics 540, Intel Core i7-6650U
2450 Points ∼5% +57%
Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB-80VF004CGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1623 Points ∼3% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1565 Points ∼3%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1481 Points ∼3% -5%
Dell XPS 13-9365 2-in-1
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core i7-7Y75
1370 Points ∼3% -12%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1271 Points ∼2% -19%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
1186 Points ∼2% -24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
980 Points ∼2% -37%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
781 Points ∼2% -50%
3DMark 11 Performance
1710 points
Help

System Noise

The system fan stayed in the background, even when we really stressed the system. It was basically not audible while idling.

Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Book 12
Samsung Galaxy Book 12

We like the fact that Samsung will only sell a bundle of the Galaxy Book 12 with the Keyboard Case and the S Pen stylus. You can only use all the advantages of the system with these accessories. The display leaves a good initial impression, just like inputs via keyboard and the S Pen. We will have to see how Samsung will optimize the performance of the final product in relation to the emissions. The battery runtime will be another important factor for potential buyers. The overall package needs to be very convincing at a rumored retail price of around 1,500 Euros.

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Book 12 Convertible Review (First Impressions)
J. Simon Leitner, 2017-02-28 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.