Give Samsung credit: the Galaxy Book 2 boldly breaks from the first-generation Galaxy Book on both the inside and outside. The company’s new 2-in-1 not only ditches its flimsy folding keyboard in favor of a more traditional tablet kickstand, but also joins the small ranks of PCs that have adopted a battery-sipping Qualcomm Snapdragon microprocessor. Performance suffers drastically, however, even as battery life soars to an unprecedented 18 hours.
The Galaxy Book 2 boasts Samsung’s terrific AMOLED displays and rich sound, with LTE capability, a pen and a keyboard, all sold for a reasonable $999. In addition to the CPU switch, though, the second generation makes some compromises. The built-in 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage is a bit skimpy, for instance, and the OS—Windows 10 Home in S Mode—might turn some off. For basic work on the road, the Galaxy Book 2 offers some compelling arguments. But the experience is still too bumpy to recommend to everyone.
Physically, the Galaxy Book demonstrates that changing horses midstream sometimes necessitates a new harness and tack. The Galaxy Book 2 is a tad shorter, a bit wider, slightly thicker, and 0.08 pounds lighter than its predecessor. More importantly, it’s now built like a traditional tablet, with a kickstand that nearly fully reclines, like a Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Adios, folding keyboard.
The first-generation Book sported a chunky bezel surrounding the screen, and I was hoping for something a bit leaner this time around. No luck. Fortunately, if you’ve seen a Samsung display before, you know what you get: deep, dark blacks and rich colors—though maybe not as rich or color-accurate as the displays on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6. The AMOLED touchscreen display pumps out a comfortable 329 nits of luminance, which will work well indoors and out. While the tablet isn’t totally sealed—a couple of vents on either side seem like some sort of new, strange expansion port—it is fanless.