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Samsung Galaxy Book2 review: A Windows 2-in-1 that lets you work anywhere, anytime

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The Good The Samsung Galaxy Book2 successfully borrows the Microsoft Surface Pro design formula, while adding long battery life and Gigabit LTE wireless. Its $1,000 price includes its backlit keyboard cover and S Pen.

The Bad The Galaxy Book2's processing performance, while improved from earlier Qualcomm Windows PCs, is still behind Intel Core i-series PCs.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Galaxy Book2 is a clear-cut example of the always-on, always connected future of PCs. If you want to work anywhere at anytime and don't mind adding a device to your data plan, it's worth consideration.

8.1 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Battery 8

How to describe my experience with Samsung's Galaxy Book2 in one word? Seamless. 

Between the Windows tablet's long battery life and Gigabit LTE wireless, you can work on it all day anywhere you want and then close it up, run to catch your train and open it up again to keep working on your commute home. Or you could watch some Netflix, catch up on email, read a graphic novel or sketch out one of your own with the included S Pen. 

The Galaxy Book2 behaves more like your phone than a typical laptop, switching from Wi-Fi to LTE and back again so you always have a connection. And when you open up its keyboard cover (also included) it just turns on and is ready to go -- again, just like waking your phone. 

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Though priced at $1,000, Samsung includes the keyboard cover and S Pen. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

At least part of this is owed to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 mobile platform designed specifically for Windows 10 ($100 at Amazon) PCs. The chipset, which was announced at Computex 2018 in June, gives you better performance than first-gen models we tested running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 platform along with up to 20 hours of battery life and an always-on web connection.  

There are a lot of options at or below the Book2's $1,000 price (roughly £765 or AU$1,400), and many with faster performance, more storage or other things that might be important to you. But if it's crucial for you to have battery life that takes you well beyond your work day, a wireless connection that's always available and a versatile ultraportable design, it's well worth the investment. 

Samsung Galaxy Book2 specs

Samsung Galaxy Book2
Price as reviewed $1,000
Display size/resolution 12-inch 2,160 x 1,440 Super AMOLED touch display
CPU 2.95GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Processor
Memory 4GB
Graphics Adreno 630
Storage 128GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

The same, but different

The Samsung Galaxy Book2 is a detachable two-in-one PC not too unlike Microsoft's Surface Pro, right down to its fold-out kickstand on the back. It's built around a nice-looking 12-inch super AMOLED touch display that's bright, but should be brighter to help fight reflections under office lights and out in daylight. 

Compared with last year's model, the frame around the display is slimmer and the body's rounded corners are now squared off. The aforementioned kickstand is new, too, which allows you to not only position the display at the perfect angle for how you're working, it makes it possible to comfortably use it on your lap. 

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The kickstand gives this model better screen positioning than its predecessor. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Paired with the display are speakers tuned by premium audio brand AKG, a Samsung subsidiary managed by Harman. They sound good for tablet speakers, and even better when you kick on the Dolby Atmos processing. You'll probably still want to use headphones when you can; there's a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right side as well as two USB Type-C ports. There's a microSD card tray in with the SIM card on the left side. 

Good performance, better battery life

The nicest part of using the Galaxy Book2 is that there's really nothing separating you from your work. No booting up or waking from sleep mode. No starting up a mobile hotspot or tethering to a phone. The tablet comes to life instantly and its built-in fingerprint reader on back signs you in fast.

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