If you don’t like living in the multi-device ecosystem of Apple and Google, try the hybrid approach with Samsung’s “galaxy.” The electronics maker unveiled two new additions to its Galaxy Book lineup late Wednesday night. The Galaxy Book Go and Galaxy Book Go 5G are long-lasting, highly portable Arm-based Windows laptops intended to seamlessly work alongside Samsung's Galaxy tablets, earbuds, and, of course, phones.
But first, the specs. The Galaxy Book Go comes with a 14-inch 1080p display and Qualcomm’s recently unveiled ARM-based Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 Compute Platform. This revised version of the Snapdragon 7c includes a Kryo 468 CPU with a 2.55GHz clock speed. Meanwhile, a 5G version of the Galaxy Book Go will use the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform that was announced in September.
Samsung says Galaxy Book Go pricing will start at $349 for a laptop with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. The basic Wi-Fi model will start rolling out on Thursday, June 10 in the U.S., with the 5G model to follow sometime in the second half of 2021. There will also be models with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The laptops have two USB-C ports. One is USB 2.0, and the other is USB 3.2 Gen 1. There's also a standard USB 2.0 port, and the 5G version will (of course) have a slot for a nano SIM. Samsung says you can expect to have about 18 hours of battery life, and if the included storage isn't enough there’s also a microSD slot.
As for wireless connectivity, the Wi-Fi models won’t support Wi-Fi 6, sticking with 802.11ac instead, as well as Bluetooth 5.1. The 5G models will support Wi-Fi 6.
The Galaxy Book Go doesn’t have an HDMI port, but the Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 port supports DisplayPort.
These are nice looking laptops that are meant to function as portable devices when you need something for travel, or for those who don’t need much storage or a beefy desktop computer. With specs like these, the Galaxy Book Go would probably be better for people who mainly use web apps, but who want some onboard storage and access to Windows 10 software for local work—though in our testing Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon chips still have compatibility issues with some programs that favor the tradition x86-based CPU architecture used by Intel and AMD.
Embracing Samsung's galaxy of devices
Samsung is also leaning hard into the Galaxy Book Go being just one part of a connected device ecosystem where all devices work together. The company’s been pushing for that vision for a while, but it’s received some recent boosts.
Microsoft and Samsung upped the capabilities of the Your Phone app, for example, making it possible to run Android apps from supported Microsoft and Samsung phones. The electronics maker also hopes you’ll pick-up a Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus to extend your Galaxy Book Go to a second screen. It’s also making it easier to pair Galaxy-branded earbuds, as well as access your various SmartThings devices. Not to mention you can also get Samsung TV Plus access right from your uber-portable laptop.
If you’re already a Samsung fan then the Galaxy Book Go may be the perfect addition to your personal device lineup. Otherwise, it’s just another nice, portable, long-lasting laptop hinting at deeper integration if you ever go full Samsung.