Artificial Intelligence driven Marketing Communications
Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge
Samsung has a pair of new laptops — the Galaxy Book Flex and Galaxy Book Ion — that will replace the company’s old Samsung Notebook 9 Pen and Notebook 9 models, respectively. Samsung is making some big changes on these laptops, both inside and out. There are the expected boosts in specs, of course, as well as very welcome redesigns that bring the two models more in line with the modern design language that Samsung introduced earlier this year with the Notebook 9 Pro.
The new Galaxy Books are Samsung’s first laptops to use QLED displays, which is the same display tech that the company uses on its line of high-end flat-screen TVs. Samsung says they should be brighter (with a maximum of 600 nitts using a special “Outdoor Mode” and up to 400 nitts regularly) and more color accurate than before.
Both laptops also feature Intel’s latest 10th Gen chips: the convertible Galaxy Book Flex has 10nm Ice Lake processors, while the Galaxy Book Ion will have the 14nm Comet Lake chipsets based on the older architecture. Both laptops (in their 13- and 15-inch sizes) are certified as part of Intel’s Project Athena program, meaning you should get up to nine hours of real-world battery life.
The third big change is the inclusion of a new Wireless PowerShare touchpad that doubles as a full-fledged Qi wireless charger for any of your wirelessly charging gadgets. It’s an admittedly odd feature: you have to first enable the wireless charging mode with a keyboard combination, so it’s not as simple as just dropping your phone on top of the pad. And when you’re charging a device, you can’t use the touchpad at all, which limits the functionality of your laptop (unless you have an external mouse handy). Given that the rest of the laptops are made out of metal, the glass trackpad was the only place to put it. Plus, if you do desperately need to charge your Galaxy Watch Active 2 or AirPods, you’ll have the option.
Lastly, there are some changes to the S Pen that is included with the Galaxy Book Flex. It now has similar Air Action gestures to the Galaxy Note 10, allowing you to control your laptop with motion gestures using the stylus.
As for the actual designs, they’re big improvements on the old models. Like the Notebook 9 Pro, they’re all-metal designs, but Samsung’s ancient design style has finally been given the axe. Compare the new Galaxy Book Flex against the Notebook 9 Pen from last year, and it’s no contest. The bubbly-looking curved and corners are replaced with the sharper edges that it introduced earlier this year. There’s also far smaller screen bezels, which helps reduce the overall size of the laptop.
Better yet, Samsung has actually improved on its first attempt with these models. Where the Notebook 9 Pro looked like a MacBook Pro rip-off, the new Galaxy Book Flex, with its striking blue hues, finally looks like its own unique product.
Similarly, the non-touchscreen Galaxy Book Ion looks to stand out with a cleverly raised design that sees the back of the display prop up the keyboard slightly when opened. There’s also a nice blue accent strip on the back that helps it stand out from the crowd.
As for the rest of the specs: both laptops will come in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB NVMe SSDs. (Although, as noted before, the folding Flex laptops will have Intel’s newer 10nm processors.) The 15-inch models will also have optional Nvidia MX250 external GPUs, although Samsung has yet to announce exact configurations for any of the laptops just yet.
There’s no word on pricing, although Samsung says that prices should be within the same ballpark as the Notebook 9 Pen and Notebook 9 clamshell laptops that the new models will replace.
More curious is the release date, or lack thereof: Samsung only gave an “early 2020” window, which is puzzlingly far away from today’s announcement. Samsung also missed another Galaxy Book release date recently: the company’s ARM-powered Galaxy Book S was originally supposed to ship in September, and we still have no release date almost two months later.