Samsung can do more than just smartphones – the company impressively demonstrates this with the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex. The ultrabook with convertible function turns out to be the perfect laptop for on the go – at least almost. A few criticisms were noticed in the test.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: conclusion
At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex looks like the MacBook among convertible laptops: Little performance for a lot of money. But that is not the case. Although the premium notebook is not suitable for cutting videos or for other intensive computing tasks, it can convince completely in everyday tests. The economical i5 processor, in combination with the 8 GB RAM and 256 GB PCIe SSD, offers more than enough performance. Starting up the laptop takes place within a few seconds, the same applies to starting the browser and other programs.
However, the real highlight of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex is the screen. The 13.3-inch QLED display is easy to read, even in direct sunlight, despite the reflective coating. The reason for this is the high maximum screen brightness of the panel, which is also characterized by particularly strong contrasts and bright colors.
Thanks to its light weight and excellent recording of touch inputs, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex can also be used as a Windows tablet. Reading online articles in portrait mode was a real pleasure during the test. The included S Pen is fantastic for making small sketches or notes in tablet mode, but in the end it is more of a nice gimmick than a real necessity.
Another positive aspect is the high recognition speed and the reliability of the fingerprint sensor. Everything worked perfectly here. The same applies to the keyboard and touchpad. Both components made a very good impression both visually and during the practical test. There was almost never a typo due to the keyboard layout or incorrect recognition of gestures on the touchpad.
With a purchase price of around 1,500 euros, the appearance of the device also plays a role. Here, too, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex does not make any mistakes. The housing made of aluminum in the color Royal Blue caused envious looks from the majority of the colleagues. The clean build quality does the rest. At no point does anything crack or crease – even the 360-degree hinge never caused problems. The only drawback: The surfaces of the convertible are a real magnet for fingerprints.
All in all, Samsung offers the Galaxy Book Flex, a fantastic ultrabook that has a solid battery life, a gorgeous screen and a clean convertible function. Only the sales price causes worry lines after a look at the technical data sheet – especially since only the built-in SSD in the device can be replaced / upgraded. For all those who own the necessary change – and don’t mind the criticisms just mentioned – the convertible offers a brilliant all-round package that leaves little to be desired.
- High quality workmanship
- Nice design
- Light weight
- Compact design
- Bright and colorful touch display
- Flawless fingerprint sensor
- S pen included
- High price
- Tablet mode not fully developed in some situations
- gets warm quickly under load
- Hardly any upgrade options
- Shiny materials and displays magically attract fingerprints
Test rating for the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex
- Workmanship, feel and design: 10/10
- Display: 10/10
- Performance: 8/10
- Video and audio: 8/10
- Connectivity and storage: 8/10
- Battery and everyday life: 9/10
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: dream start for the laptop
Samsung is actually more known in the tech industry for its smartphones, televisions and monitors – but the electronics giant from South Korea has also been trying to get its foot in the door for some time now.
This could actually happen with the Galaxy Book Flex, because the laptop with convertible function is a real jack of all trades, but is aimed more at premium customers. One becomes aware of this shortly after unpacking. In the royal blue color, the Galaxy Book Flex makes an almost majestic impression thanks to the aluminum housing. This remains even after the laptop is opened. A flat keyboard with fingerprint sensor and a wide touchpad are hidden under the lid.
The real highlight of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex, however, only becomes apparent after pressing the power button: the bright and high-contrast QLED display. Thanks to the technology, the screen can always be read easily even in the sunlight – especially if you also activate the outdoor mode. This increases the maximum brightness by a good bit, but distorts the color rendering.
The 13.3-inch screen “only” has full HD in comparison to other ultrabooks from the premium segment, but the pixel density is still sufficient to be able to recognize no individual pixels at a normal distance.
Even if you flip the screen and use the convertible as a tablet, there is no reason to complain. The glossy display attracts fingerprints just as magically as the rest of the laptop, but thanks to the high brightness they hardly catch the eye.
Only the large bottom edge of the screen has a negative impact. If Samsung had not placed the company logo here, the additional space could be used to install a larger display with an aspect ratio of 16:10.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: performance full despite middle-class hardware
Although only an i5-1035G4 and 8 GB RAM are used in the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex, working with the laptop never feels slow or cumbersome. Programs and the pre-installed Windows 10 start very quickly thanks to the built-in 256 GB PCIe SSD. The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex only stops for a moment when you open several browser tabs at the same time. You can tell that Samsung has explored the needs of potential customers very well and selected the hardware accordingly. However, the hardware is not really suitable for gaming. The i5-1035G4 uses an integrated iris graphics unit, but it doesn’t offer a lot of GPU power. The performance is just enough to play titles like Rocket League, CS: GO, Valorant or League of Legends, but the laptop quickly runs out of steam when it comes to performance-hungry games.
By the way, if 8 GB of RAM is not enough, you are currently looking into the tube. The cover on the underside of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex can be removed and reveals the hardware, but since the RAM has been soldered and there is no second slot, there is no way to upgrade the RAM. However, this restriction does not apply to the SSD. The fast data storage can be exchanged for another model with higher capacity at any time. However, an expansion of the memory falls flat due to the lack of a second M.2 slot. However, the storage space is completely sufficient to install various programs and apps – only photographers or video producers could be bothered by the small storage space if they do not save their library in the form of an external data storage device anyway.
What could also upset amateur photographers is the fact that Samsung has installed a microSD card slot in the Samsung Galaxy Flex, but this can only be accessed via a slot that has to be removed from the housing with a SIM card tool. Annoying, especially since on the left side there would have been enough space for a full-fledged SD card slot.
Speaking of the connections: In addition to the microSD card slot, there is a classic 3.5 mm jack connection on the left side as well as a USB-C port, which also serves as a connection for the power supply, which is the Notebook with up to 65 watts charges. On the opposite side, in addition to the power button and the storage station for the S Pen, there are two further USB ports with support for Thunderbolt. There is no classic USB-A port, but Samsung includes a suitable “USB-C to USB-A” adapter for the laptop. However, if you want to operate several USB-A devices on the device at the same time or want to connect a monitor via HDMI, you have to use a corresponding dongle.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: With one battery charge through the day
Samsung has not let the battery pack down either. Although the Galaxy Book Flex is extremely light, a battery with a capacity of a whopping 70 Wh is installed. If you adjust the screen brightness a little and activate the power saving mode, you can easily get through the day with a single battery charge. Depending on the application, the runtime is around 7-8 hours. However, if the laptop is used at maximum brightness and under load, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex will go out after only three hours.
Not only does its battery life make the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex the perfect everyday companion – the low weight also plays a literally important role here. The compact convertible weighs just 1.16 kilograms, and the power adapter only weighs around 200 grams. If the laptop is stowed in a backpack or bag, you hardly notice the difference when carrying it.
If your smartphone doesn’t last as long and your notebook has more than 30 percent battery, you can use the touchpad as a wireless charging station. The trackpad cannot be used while charging. In the end a nice idea, but without much added value.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: practical tablet function with minor problems
If someone had told me how often I would use the tablet function in everyday life before testing the Galaxy Book Flex, I would not have believed him. But in fact I folded the notebook incredibly often in order to make optimal use of the touch function. The tablet function is particularly suitable for reading news and other online articles if you turn the device an additional 90 degrees. In this way, you have a particularly high display available, on which there is a surprising amount of text.
But tablet mode is still causing problems, especially in the browser. Some text fields are not recognized as such, so the keyboard overlay does not open. Switching automatically between laptop and tablet modes also often takes a few seconds. This is not a big problem at the end of the day, but it is a minor annoyance that should not occur with a device that costs just under 1,500 euros.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: keyboard, webcam and speakers
Finally, a few words about the periphery. The keyboard and touchpad of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex work flawlessly. Although the individual buttons do not have a long actuation path, they still offer very good haptic feedback, from which you can see exactly when you really pressed a button. The same applies to the touchpad. The wide area offers enough space to easily navigate from left to right across the screen, only a little more height would not have hurt here. The surface of the trackpad lets the finger slide over it easily and mouse clicks are rewarded with a rich click sound and a noticeable click. There is really nothing to complain about here. If you also work often in the dark, you will be pleased that the keyboard also has a backlight that subtly illuminates the keys.
The conclusion about the speakers is a little less good. The tone of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex has no character, it simply lacks warmth and presence. Low frequencies in particular are not well represented by the drivers. In addition, the speakers are not particularly loud even at the highest level. When the window is open, even a passing bus can easily drown out the laptop sound.
The situation is similar on the webcam. With a resolution of 0.9 MP, even pictures with good illumination appear noisy – but the quality is still sufficient for a simple video call. The microphone of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex, on the other hand, sounds relatively good. This clearly puts the speaker in the spotlight, while background noise, on the other hand, is hardly recorded if it is properly aligned.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex in the test: technical data at a glance
|Display||13.3 inch full HD screen with QLED panel @ 60 Hz, glossy|
|processor||Intel Core i5-1035G4 (4 cores, 8 threads, maximum boost clock 3.7 GHz)|
|graphic card||integrated graphics unit Intel Iris Plus|
|Storage||256 GB PCIe SSD|
|random access memory||8 GB LPDDR4x RAM (soldered, not expandable)|
|battery pack||70 Wh|
|operating system||Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit|