Two new Samsung Galaxy Books slated for release in the US early next year could help the Korean tech giant get a new lease on the competitive ultraportable-laptop category. The new Galaxy Book Ion and Galaxy Book Flex bring familiar features from Samsung’s TV and phone lineups to the laptop for the first time, including quantum dot LED (QLED) screens and wireless charging.
The innovative new PCs, announced on Tuesday at the company’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif., will be available in a traditional clamshell laptop design (the Galaxy Book Ion, pictured above), as well as a 2-in-1 convertible chassis (the Galaxy Book Flex). They’ll replace Samsung’s current flagship laptop, the Notebook 9. Available in several screen sizes and configurations, the Notebook 9 is a solid premium offering, but some models suffer from disappointing build quality and lack features that are now expected in laptops that cost more than $1,000, including the option for 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) displays.
The new Galaxy Book devices still don’t have 4K screen options, but they bring plenty of other innovations, including Samsung’s QLED display technology. It’s the first time this tech, which has long powered the company’s TVs, is available on a laptop. The new laptops also feature wireless charging built into their touchpads, a feature Samsung calls “PowerShare.” This wireless power delivery works with any Qi-compatible device.
The Galaxy Book Ion and Galaxy Book Flex are also the first Samsung laptops to be certified under Intel’s Project Athena, a set of design and technology standards that the chip maker hopes laptop manufacturers will adopt. Project Athena includes features like next-generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support, all-day battery life, and Thunderbolt 3 ports. The two new Galaxy Books bring the total number of Athena-certified devices to 17, according to Intel.
Samsung also unveiled an Intel-powered version of its under-development Galaxy Book S. Unlike the Galaxy Book Flex and Galaxy Book Ion, which are based on Intel’s 10th Generation CPUs, the Galaxy Book S will use Intel’s next-generation “Lakefield” processors, and include LTE connectivity. Intel expects that the Galaxy Book S will be the first Lakefield device to go on sale, though neither company offered availability details.
Samsung previously said that a Galaxy Book S model packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chip would arrive this fall, but the company offered no updates on that model.
Exact availability dates and pricing for the Ion and Flex are yet to come. Samsung did say to expect them in the US early next year, at prices akin to those of the current Notebook 9 lineup. PCMag got a chance to check out the new Galaxy Book devices; read on for our first impressions.