Samsung Galaxy Book Review: Windows 10 Hybrid Hubris

We take a closer look at the 10.6in Samsung Galaxy Book. Can it usurp the Microsoft Surface as the king of Windows 10 hybrids?

The appeal of Microsoft’s Surface Pro laptop-meets-tablet hybrid may not have yet won mass appeal but it has set the bar for what a Windows 10 2-in-1 should be. 

An pseudo evolution from Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Pro S, the South Korean tech giant’s Galaxy Book has its sights firmly aimed at knocking the Surface Pro off the top of the Windows 10 hybrid pile

But that is a lofty goal, so a closer look is needed to see if the Galaxy Book can steal thunder from Redmond’s camp. 

Design by numbers 

Galaxy Book 10.6The Galaxy Book tablet looks much like many an Android and Windows 10 tablet available in the market, and offers a choice of two display sizes; 10.6in and 12in fitted into an unassuming plastic and glass chassis. 

Rounded edges that make the tablet comfortable to hold in landscape mode, but a grove at the bottom edge of the device designed for attaching the keyboard doc is not so nice presenting an uncomfortable edge to hold onto when using the tablet in portrait. 

Galaxy Book sideRather thick bezels surround the display, which gives plenty of space to hold onto when using the Galaxy Book as a tablet but detracts slightly away from the screen, particularly with the smaller 10.6in version I had in to review.

Despite making use of plastic the tablet felt solid but also surprisingly weighty, ranging between 635g to  771g; you can still hold the tablet in one hand but it’s not likely to be comfortable to do so for too long.

The 12in Galaxy Book sports a brace of USB-C ports, a microSD card reader and 3.5mm headphone jack, with a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front facing camera.

Galaxy Book portThe 10.6in version has one less USB-C port and lacks the rear camera; the former is a bit disappointing as it limits the number of accessories that can be used with the smaller Galaxy Book, however the lack of a rear camera is hardly a loss, as photography on tablets is a clumsy and comical affair at the best of times. A simple power button and volume rocker completes the tablet’s design.

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Overall, I feel that the Galaxy Book’s design is very much tablet lead, rather than having the more ‘hybrid’ feel and look of the Surface Pro.

For a device looking at being the best of both worlds, I’m not sure the Galaxy Book’s design is quite up to scratch when compared to the magnesium alloy and eye-catching chassis of Microsoft’s hybrid.

Strong screen

Galaxy Book displayIf the Galaxy Book’s design is disappointing, its display goes some way to alleviate such a feelings. 

The 10.6in model sports a Full HD TFT display, while the larger model has a 2160×1440 super AMOLED display. Having seen both in action, there is no doubt that the larger higher resolution display is the winner, offering vibrant colours and deep contrast that’s expected from such display technology. 

However, even with inferior panel technology,y the 10.6in model puts in a a solid performance with accurate colours and good levels of brightness and contrast. It can match the vibrancy of its larger sibling but it’s by no means a bad display. 

Viewing text on the smaller screen at 1080p resolution is crisp if not as sharp as say the Surface Pro’s PixelSense display. But scrolling through web pages and watching YouTube videos is a pleasant experience. 

Galaxy Book tabletMy only major problem is the large size of the bezels makes the 10.6in display appear cramped and smaller than it is. Compared to the slimmer design of tablets with the same size display, such as the iPad Pro, this isn’t particularly pleasing.

There’s also no high dynamic range (HDR) or high refresh tech on offer with the 10.6in tablet, though given it undercuts the entry level Surface Pro by around £100, that’s to be expected. 

Given the choice, I would prefer the larger higher resolution display of the 12in Galaxy Book, but if budgets are tight the smaller model’s display is still worthy.  

Keyboard and Stylus breakdown on Page 2…