Samsung Galaxy Book 12 Review: OLED Display Meets S Pen And Portability
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 Review Summary
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 Performance
Samsung's Galaxy Book 12 might be a 12-inch detachable tablet 2-in-1 device, but it performs more like a full-fledged ultrabook. With its 15 Watt 7th gen Intel Kaby Lake Core series processor, 8GB of RAM, and reasonably nimble Samsung m.2 SATA SSD, this 1.5 pound ultralight hung with significantly larger and heavier devices in our benchmarks. For standard office productivity tasks, as well as heavier-duty workloads like photo processing and video conferencing in our PCMark 8 tests, the Galaxy Book 12 powered through reasonably well and even offered a bit of casual gaming capability as well.
Where you might feel this extra muscle in a less than optimal way, is with respect to battery life. Combined with its FHD+ Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy Book 12's underlying processing platform puts a lot of strain on its 5070 mAh battery, if you push it. Light duty use cases are met with acceptable battery life but heavy-duty processes like video transcoding or 3D rendering/gaming will chew through its power source quickly, when not tethered to its 39 Watt power adapter. The good news is, the Galaxy Book 12's adapter is Fast Charge capable, so recharges and top-offs happen relatively quickly.
Samsung's Galaxy Book 12 is, in short, a device that is indeed equal to the sum of its parts. When you pair a top-notch OLED panel with a capable Intel mobile processor, a healthy allotment of system memory and a capacious SSD, good things are bound to happen. In addition, Samsung's S Pen and its associated software tools are an excellent representation of what modern tablet-pen input can do. Couple that with full access to virtually all software currently developed for the Windows platform and you're looking at what is essentially in iPad Pro killer.
The main caveats here with this new Galaxy are its premium pricing and a less-than premium feeling detachable keyboard. Its not easy to design a light-weight, quality detachable keyboard, but perhaps different material selection may have lent to a more premium feel. Samsung does bundle the keyboard in, however, and its trackpad functionality is accurate and satisfying to use. In the end, with a bit of learning curve, the entire ensemble handles and performs well. Regardless, for $1329 as tested (starting at $1129 for 4GB RAM/128GB SSD) the Galaxy Book 12 is one of the more expensive 2-in-1s on the market currently, so you'll have to justify its price tag, especially when you consider Microsoft just announced a new Surface Pro that starts at $799 (likely Core m). Maybe we'll see Samsung limbo a bit more here. Time will tell, but you can't even pre-order the MSFT device at this point, so there's that to consider as well.
Either way you look at it, the new Samsung Galaxy Book 12 is a gorgeous 2-in-1 device offering the kind of performance you'll find in a premium ultrabook, but with 1.5 pound portability and a stunning OLED display. It's a solid option in convertible devices, if you're willing to make the leap price-wise. When you consider, for a tablet 2-in-1 hybrid, that the display is such a critical aspect of the total package, the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 is a standout device worthy of consideration.