It is no easy task picking the right laptop from a plethora of options that consumers and enterprises have today. But if you are looking for a mid-tier, nice-looking, and cost-effective option for everyday productivity tasks, be it a consumer, enterprise, or student, the Samsung Galaxy Book is a great choice. It has a solid build, robust performance, and attractive price point, as well as quality, reliability, and style that only the world’s leading brand for consumer electronics products can offer. But, if you are a superuser, you have to look elsewhere. That is based on my experience of using it as a daily driver for the last eight weeks.
Samsung sent me a 15.6-inch Galaxy Book with an 11th generation Intel Core i5- 1135G7. My review is for that specific model. Also, I have been using Arm/Snapdragon-powered ACPCs from Microsoft, Samsung, and Lenovo, for the last two years. So, my views might be biased from that perspective.
Housed in a silver-colored full metal casing, Galaxy Book feels solid. Its thin (0.61 in. thickness) and light body (3.51 lb. weight) give it a sleek, premium look. The texture of the body provides a firm and satisfying grip when holding. Even being a 15.6-inch laptop, it is highly portable, easy, and comfortable to carry around, much better than the other similar-sized laptops I have used.
Inside, the long hinge makes the swivel very stable. It is not a 2-in1, so it can only bend up to 170 degrees. The wide keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad is pretty nice. The keystrokes are crisp and give firm feedback. The large touchpad is very responsive as well. Multiple login options using face detection and fingerprint scanners are convenient and work flawlessly. The fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button definitely needs getting used to. It looks and feels like a standard key with similar feedback intensity. I accidently turned off the computer a few times when trying to scan my finger.
On the outside, it has plenty of ports— two USB-C, two USB 3.2, HDMI, lock, and MicroSD slot (1 TB capacity). I use a 32in an external monitor, wireless keyboard mouse, and printers in my home office. With all these ports, I could get my home set up working without any dock, which kept my desk clean and neat.
The fan is not super quiet but not loud enough to bother me, even though I am accustomed to fanless ACPCs.
Galaxy Book has a Full HD display with 300nits brightness. The display is not reflective, which makes it highly functional outdoors. I could comfortably use it outdoors in places like cafes, hotel courtyards, my back yard, and other places with bright sunlight. The spec sheet shows that this specific model has a touch screen. However, Samsung told me they sent me an enterprise version that doesn’t have a touch screen. So, I couldn’t test that feature.
Camera and audio features have become vital in laptops, with the pandemic making working and schooling from home a basic necessity. Gone are the days when OEMs could get away with the low-cost, low-performance camera and audio components. Galaxy Book has a high-quality, great-performing 720p camera that takes clear and crisp photos and video. I was pleasantly surprised with its low-light performance. Being on the speaker circuit, I am often invited to speak and moderate panels at virtual events, webinars, etc. Many of these are in early hours to accommodate European and other international audiences. I had always needed external lighting for those early morning sessions with my earlier laptops. But not with Galaxy Book. My images were pretty bright and clear, even in dawn low light conditions.
I was thoroughly impressed with the superfast Wi-Fi 6 connectivity on this laptop. I hit the max speeds of my home 300/300 Mbps internet connection when in the same room as the access point. And over 200/200 Mbps in rooms two walls away. The speeds on Galaxy Books were far superior to my Galaxy S21 smartphone at most places in my home.
The onboard microphone is basic, without advanced features such as noise cancellation, etc., and okay for regular use, such as conference calls, Zoom or Team sessions, etc. But I had to use an external microphone for the speakership and other important occasions where many people were listening to my speech. Considering that this is a mid-tier laptop, that is expected. However, the built-in speaker performance is average, and its volume is pretty low. Even with volume revved to the max, it is sometimes hard to hear, especially on Zoom/Teams calls if the other party has a bad connection or low sound.
The included Intel Core i5- 1135G7 processor with a 2.4GHz average speed and boosts up to 4.2 GHz is adequate for everyday productivity tasks such as browsing, running office applications, enterprise tools, etc. I could comfortably open more than ten Microsoft Edge browser tabs, up to 5 Chrome browser tabs, a few Word documents, Excel, and PowerPoint, simultaneously.
I am not a big gamer, but I tried some popular low-intensity games and was pleased with the performance, considering that this is not a gaming laptop by any stretch. For example, Minecraft 1.18.1 ran reasonably smooth, and the frame rate never dropped below 40 fps. Minecraft 1.7.10 & 1.8.9 ran at solid 60fps. Valorant ran at full 60fps at medium settings but struggled at high settings. Civilization VI played really well and smooth. The more intensive ones like Halo Infinite couldn’t even launch because of high graphics processing needs. This makes Galaxy Book a great option for dorm-bound students looking for a solid laptop for their schoolwork and light gaming.
However, if you are a productivity power user like me, you might find this model a bit lacking. I often have more than 25 tabs open, using them as my to-do list, with readings I must do, tech, business, and financial news sites, publications, and such. At the same time will have four to five Word documents open, which are usually the articles, and large reports that I am writing and publishing. Additionally, open three to four PowerPoint files to refer to for the writing and so on, along with one or two Excel files with tables, forecasts, etc. Galaxy Book could barely keep up with all these when opened simultaneously. Further, if I also fire up my audio editor to edit my podcast at the same time, it would almost be unusable. I get it that not everybody is the multitasking freak that I am. But if you are, you would instead upgrade to a higher model or look elsewhere.
Windows 11 was extremely stable on Galaxy Book. It didn’t even hang or crash once in the more than eight weeks that I used it. The integration with the Microsoft Phone app, connecting to the Galaxy S21 smartphone, is perfect. The Phone app on my earlier laptop had lots of issues. It would always lose connection and needed a constant restart of the app. But not with Galaxy Book. Since I often live-tweet from keynotes at events, the Phone app comes in handy to take the pictures using my phone, instantly grab them, and post them on Twitter with my commentary using the Galaxy Book.
With a 54Wh battery, the laptop can run for a day without recharging for moderate work. That means there is no need to chug along with the charger if you are on a day trip or a short customer visit. If you are looking for an intensive day of work, better to bring the small and light travel charger that comes with the laptop. There are no wattage markings on the charger. I didn’t test the charging performance, but it charged reasonably quickly.
The Galaxy Book is currently priced at MSRP, starting from $749. The pricing might be a bit high for the level of performance but reasonable for a premium build, look, and Samsung brand.
The Galaxy Book with Intel Core i5-1135G7 is a robust everyday laptop for consumers, enterprises, and students. It has a solid build, lightweight, thin and sleek premium look, great display, high-quality camera, and fast Wi-Fi connectivity. The battery life and processor are well suited for regular users, but power users have to upgrade or look elsewhere. To read more reviews like this as well as to get an up-to-date analysis of the latest mobile and tech industry news, sign-up for our monthly newsletter at TantraAnalyst.com/Newsletter, or listen to our Tantra’s Mantra podcast.