The Samsung Galaxy Book S is a 13.3 inch laptop that weighs 2.1 pounds, measures less than half an inch thick. It has a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint sensor, and built-in support for 4G LTE and GPS.

It’s also the first notebook to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor, a 7 watt processor that’s the chip maker’s highest-performance processor for laptops to date.

We probably won’t know for sure how competitive that chip is with the latest Intel and AMD offerings until we start to see third-party reviews. But the wait is almost over — the Samsung Galaxy Book S goes up for pre-order today for $999 and up, and it should be available starting February 13th.

The laptop was originally supposed to hit the streets in September, but Samsung delayed the release by a few months.

Now the company says folks who pre-order from Samsung.com by February 12th can get a $100 credit to spend on other Samsung products.

The notebook features 8GB of LPDDR4X memory, at least 256GB of storage, and a microSD card reader. While the 42 Wh battery may seem small by modern laptop standards, the Galaxy Book S basically has a souped up smartphone processor, which means that it should get reasonably long battery life during normal use, and really, really long battery life during standby or some other simple tasks (Samsung promises up to 25 hours of local video playback time).

Long battery life is just one of the key selling points. Others include the thin, light, and fanless design and support for always-available internet thanks to 802.11ac WiFi and 4G LTE. The laptop also supports Bluetooth 5.0.

What remains to be seen is whether this will finally be the Windows-on-ARM device that can offer the kind of general purpose computing performance users expect from a $1000-ish device.

So far most Windows systems with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips have been expensive and slow… particularly when running apps that haven’t been ported to ARM architecture, since it takes extra processing power to emulate x86 architecture.

Qualcomm is taking two approaches to this problem — the first is to offer higher-performance chips like the Snapdragon 8cx (and the related Microsoft SQ1 processor, which is used in the Surface Pro X tablet). The other is to offer less powerful processors… at a lower price point.

The new Snapdracon 7c and 8c chips are starting to show up in Windows-on-ARM devices priced as low as $299. At that price, it’s a lot easier to forgive lackluster performance — rather than competing with Intel Core i5 Comet Lake and Ice Lake processors, the Snapdragon chips in budget laptops are competing with similarly-priced notebooks featuring Intel Celeron N4000 Gemini Lake low-cost, low-power chips.

Still not sold on Windows on ARM? Samsung is also working on an Intel-powered version of the Galaxy Book S. It should be available later this year and it will feature an Intel Lakefield processor.

 

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  1. $299 price is NOT competing with N4000. Walmart had $299 Ryzen 5 2500U *two years ago*, now comes Ryzen 4000s and beyond. Sure Samsung is brand name, but this association is soo dated. You just posted $79 tab w/ keyboard with N4000 and 1 year MS365.

  2. To be honest 7W TDP is well within x86 territory, so that battery life you’d get here would be possible on an ULV intel CPU too (as well as passive cooling and overall thinness). The only benefit this brings seems to be instant-on feature (you can shave off ~10 seconds of your boot time) but you’ll have to give up running x86 software on any meaningful speed, so no games for you, not even old ones! IMHO this sounds like a terrible trade-off, at least for my use-case. For someone who scrapes by with a chromebook, this might be okay, but then again for a chromebook user this doesn’t bring anything new either.

    How I think it would make some sense is having a 2-3W ARM cpu running the OS (this is close to the Atom/low-end Celeron TDP) and a powerful x86 CPU to let you run “real” apps. The easiest way to cobble it together is to have the ARM-OS run a VM that patches through to the x86 CPU, so the OS actually never runs on it. This would be similar to the 80486 add-in cards of the ’90-ies, and is not a witchcraft to Microsoft, they are actually a player in the virtualisation business and their mini-OS model would be useful to launch x86 apps with a minimal kernel, each within it’s own container and still getting full compatibility and performance, and having small impact on RAM footprint. As for RAM addressing that would have to go through the ARM OS, so some latency would be picked up there, but some specific instructions could be introduced to reduce that.

    1. 7W including a 4G modem. Any Intel kit will need to add a separate modem and consumption will go up. If you just plug a Modem Key in there, your battery life will almost half, plus the plain of dealing with drivers, connecting, etc.
      Windows on SD is a very different product.

  3. I wanted to get one of these but it has been so long, I am not so sure any more. The MS Surface X can take 16GB and there is an AI coprocessor, I just don’t like the Surface design.
    I might wait for a 5G version of the Samsung instead.

  4. Brad, you previously stated that you personally prefer 16:9 screens over 16:10 ones. Meaning, the bezels on the bottom are needed for the Samsung logo? There is virtually no other reason this expensive piece of novel technology (and most other mainstream laptops for that matter, but most other mainstream laptops are more like budget category, so they are different kinds of animals) needs to be 16:9 instead of 16:10.

    As the example of the new, back to 16:10 Dell XPS shows it’s not 16:9 screens that give you more screen real estate on a typical laptop as 16:9 laptops all have huge bezels at the bottom; for more screen real estate in the same for factor you ought to go with the 16:10 form factor.