After launching in the US late last year, Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex is now available to buy in the UK and single-handedly proves that Windows 10-powered laptops aren’t dull anymore. From its striking Royal Blue design to the origami-style QLED screen that flips over for a tablet experience, there’s plenty to love about the Flex. Express.co.uk has been putting this laptop to the test for the past few weeks and there’s no doubt that it has oodles of appeal.
Firstly, it looks really, really good with the Royal Blue (don’t worry it’s also available in silver if you’re looking for something a little more subdued for work) making it stand out from a Windows 10 crowd that’s flooded with (mostly grey and black) laptops. It’s a smart move from Samsung as it means the Galaxy Book Flex will certainly catch your eye as you browse the endless machines lined up in electrical stores.
The solid aluminium build means it feels as good as any MacBook and it certainly gives you confidence that the Galaxy Book Flex won’t unnecessarily, ahem, flex as you throw it into your bag ready for life on the road.
Along with the design, another standout feature of the Flex is that 13.3-inch screen. This display includes Samsung’s renowned QLED technology and your eyes are going to love every minute of using it.
That QLED panel means you get a pin-sharp appearance that’s bursting with colour – it’s also very bright. In fact, with 600-nits of brightness, you can easily sit outside in the midday sun and still, just about, see what is on the display.
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Another bonus of the touchscreen is that it flips over transforming the Flex into a fully functioning tablet. That’s a really nice feature as it means you can finish your day’s work of spreadsheets, then switch over for a quick binge on Netflix.
With a solid hinge, you can move the screen to almost any position you like and it can even stand up on its own when using it in tablet mode.
It’s clear why Samsung called this the Flex as it really does offer a supremely flexible user experience. Another nice bonus of this laptop is actually hidden inside the case and is inspired by Samsung’s fan-favourite smartphone series.
That’s because Samsung has included the S Pen stylus in this laptop which allows you to draw, write and scribble on the screen without using your fingers.
How much you’ll use this stylus will depend on what you need this laptop for but we’d rather have it than not as it’s a great way to take notes or control presentations without needing to physically touch the laptop.
Once you’re done with the S Pen you simply slot it back inside so there’s little chance of losing it. Of course, this is primarily a laptop and that means you’ll no doubt be spending hours bashing about on the keyboard as you send endless emails and write your next essay or business report.
The Flex’s keyboard is pretty good, but it has got quite a shallow feel with not a huge amount of travel in the keys. It’s no deal-breaker but there are definitely better keyboards on the market and it might be worth checking that it suits you before you commit to buying one.
The trackpad is also decent enough but it’s not in the same league as Apple’s Force Touch offering. Why everyone else finds it so hard to match Apple is baffling and it’s about time a Windows 10-powered PC offered users the same brilliant experience found on all the latest MacBooks.
Although we’re slightly critical of that trackpad, it does have one trick up its sleeve that Apple can’t match. Place your compatible phone on the top of it and you’ll the battery gets an instant boost via Samsung’s Wireless Powershare. It’s a really clever extra that could definitely come in handy if your smartphone starts running low on juice.
Other features worth noting are the fast Intel Core i5 processor which offers more than enough power for your daily digital tasks and there’s 512GB of internal storage plus a decent 10-hour battery life.
So there’s plenty of positives for the Galaxy Book Flex but, like most laptops launched this year, we do have some niggles. Firstly, the fingerprint scanner is in the most ridiculous position ever and why Samsung thought it was a good idea to plonk it so far down the keyboard only they can answer.
It’s not just the position that’s bad. It also means Samsung has had to reduce the size of the shift key to make the scanner fit beside it and that means you often find yourself missing this important button.
The terrible placement is made even more obvious due to the fact that the in-built web camera is not compatible with Windows Hello so you can’t unlock this laptop with your face which is a real shame.
The AKG speakers are OK but could be way better and it only features USB-C ports. That’s not a huge deal as most laptops only include this new way of connecting peripherals but Huawei’s latest MateBook X Pro ships with a full adapter in the box to help users plug-in all their non-USB-C accessories and it’s something Samsung should consider in the future.
Finally, that blue case might look magnificent but it’s a magnet for mucky fingerprints and you’ll find yourself endless cleaning it in a bid to keep it looking box fresh.
Galaxy Book Flex review: Final Verdict
FOR – Striking and flexible design • Pin sharp QLED screen • Good battery life • S Pen is a nice addition
AGAINST – Annoying fingerprint scanner • Keyboard could be better • Expensive
If you want to stand out from the Windows 10 crowd, the Galaxy Book Flex is one of the most stylish laptops money can buy. It looks fabulous and is also packed with extras that make it worth a place in your bag.
It’s powerful, has a gorgeous QLED screen, good battery life and some neat hidden tricks such as the S Pen and trackpad that can charge your phone.
The fact it flips into a tablet also makes it really versatile and also makes it great for both work and play.
Sadly there are a few niggles, which prevent it getting top marks, including that very odd fingerprint scanner, shallow keyboard, and high price. That said, this is a great laptop that has plenty going for it and certainly proves that Windows 10 machines don’t have to be dull to accomplish serious work.
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