The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 (priced at $1,399) is a blue-hued, 2-in-1 laptop that will rock your world with a built-in, show-stealing S Pen that attracts all the attention. Samsung takes notes of the successful Galaxy Note smartphone series and packs a stylus fun for artistic creatives, scribbling students, and note professionals. But the pen is just the “icing on the cake” of this spectacular convertible – there’s so much more that this badass is ultraportable. This is our Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review.
Put your shades on! The Galaxy Book Flex 15 (along with the Galaxy Book Ion) is the world’s first laptop with a QLED display. This energy-saving technology helps you achieve super-high brightness scores without overloading the battery. But this attractive convertible laptop is not without its flaws, as evidenced by a shortened Shift key and a strangely placed fingerprint scanner. Another setback is the quiet speakers. Still, the Galaxy Book Flex 15 is a worthy competitor in the first-class 2-in-1 space that rivals need to keep an eye on. It is one of the laptops with the best battery life.
|Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Specs|
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU|
|Display:||15.6-inch, 1080p, QLED|
|GPU:||NVIDIA GeForce MX250|
|Battery life:||15 hours and 35 minutes|
|Size:||14 x 9 x 0.6 inches|
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Design
The Galaxy Book Flex 15 – an aluminum, royal blue beauty – is the sophisticated, hip, and an enigmatic guy you’d meet at a business mixer. The sleek, rectangular chassis says: “I love the Benjamins and the business world,” but the rich-blue hue exudes an aura of mysterious pleasure. When closed, this 2-in-1 bomb flaunts reflective silver edges. The well-known Samsung logo, placed on the center-left of the lid, catches the eye with shiny, glossy letters.
Lift the lid, and you’ll find a smart-ass paradise. The upper ring manages to squeeze in a small 720p webcam, while the lower ring has a barely visible Samsung logo. The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 has more of that royal blue stuff on its keyboard. A large dark blue trackpad, which takes up almost half the space on the deck, sits comfortably under the space bar. A 360-degree hinge allows you to turn the clamshell laptop into a beautiful, large screen tablet that’s great for watching videos, writing notes, digital drawing, and more.
You can also put the 2-in-1 in tent mode to enjoy a movie or show a presentation to a colleague. Measuring 14 x 9 x 0.6 inches and weighing 3.5 pounds, the Galaxy Book Flex 15 is lighter and thinner than its competitors: the 15-inch Lenovo Yoga C940 (4-pounds, 14 x 9 x 0.7-inches), the 15-inch HP Spectre x360 (4.5-pounds, 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8-inches) and the Dell XPS 15 (4.5-pounds, 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.5 ~ 0.7-inches).
But there are some drawbacks to the design of the Galaxy Book Flex 15; the chassis is sensitive to fingerprints, and the hinge can be more rigid – the display can become a little wobbly when the S-pin is used in laptop mode. This 2-in-1 stunner has a modern stock of ports. On the left, you’ll find a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a standard USB Type-C port.
To the right, you’ll find a stylus dock and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning users can experience the pleasures of running video to 4K monitors, fast transfer speeds, and upgrading their favorite devices with power – including another laptop.
Keyboard and TouchPad
The Galaxy Book Flex 15 is proof that Samsung is willing to take risks, but not all gambles in innovation lead to success – and this 2-in-1’s keyboard is the perfect example. For this convertible, Samsung has decided to cut the right Shift key in half and add an adjacent fingerprint scanner. On the one hand, my innovation-loving heart wants to pat Samsung on the back to try something different. As someone who is used to a standard Shift key, typing on this laptop was not fluent for me. I would sometimes grab the Shift key during a full-speed typing session, but eventually, I ended up on the fingerprint scanner.
As for the keys, they are a bit superficial. But on the positive side, they’re very clicky and pop back quickly, providing that resilient tactile feedback we all crave. The large Windows Precision touchpad (4.7 x 3.1 inches) worked like a charm and responded well to Windows 10 gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling. A notable feature of the touchpad is its Wireless PowerShare capability, which means you can use it to charge one of your Qi-compatible smartphones, Galaxy Buds Plus (or third-party earphones) or wearables.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Display
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15’s 15.6-inch screen and eye-catching colors ensure pleasant images. It turns out that this beautiful touch screen is the world’s first laptop to feature QLED technology, which means it’s equipped with a chic quantum-point filter to improve color, light management, and energy efficiency. I looked at the Torpedo U-235 trailer on the 2-in-1’s large and beautiful 1080p display and easily made deep wrinkles on older actors and the vibrant, earthy colors that came out of the trailer.
But don’t expect to be able to see finer details like little sweat beads and other muted facial features – this is something you’ll find on higher definition displays. When tested on our colorimeter, the screen on the snazzy 2-in-1 covers 158% of the sRGB color gamut, which knocked out both the Lenovo Yoga C940 (105%) and the HP Spectre x360 (157%), making the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 the champion in color coverage. The royal blue convertible also beat the category average (125%).
The Galaxy Book Flex 15 glows like a star in the night sky with a staggering 565-nit brightness average when the outdoor mode is switched on. When the outdoor mode is off, the 2-in-1’s screen emits a brilliant 381-nits that can’t beat the HP Spectre x360 (247 nits) but can beat the Lenovo Yoga C940 brightness score of 432 nits. The Galaxy Book Flex 15 crushed the 365-nits brightness score of the average premium laptop.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Stylus
The built-in S Pen is the star of the spectacular show of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15. To remove the S Pen from the dock, simply press the rectangular head to unfold it. The S Pen is your magic wand with the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15. As soon as you take it out of the garage, a menu appears on the far right with options to take notes, draw, get started with Live Message – a fun app that turns your flashy stylus into GIF’s scribbling – and much more.
You can also access more stylus-friendly features by tapping the pen icon on the taskbar. Two options then appear Microsoft Whiteboard – a freeform digital canvas – and Full-screen Snip, which lets you highlight and underline notes on screenshots. In tablet mode, drawing with this stylus was smooth and enchanting, with a quick response speed and no noticeable delay. Palm rejection deserves two thumbs up – I comfortably rested my palms on the solid screen without entering any strange characters.
I especially loved sketching on the Samsung Notes app with the pencil tool, which simulates the appearance of a graphite drawing. The S Pen also features improved gesture control that you can use when you’re a short distance away from the laptop. For example, you can quickly switch slides for PowerPoint presentations and rewind videos that you show to your viewers.
The S Pen is not the most comfortable, ergonomic pen. Still, Samsung has done an excellent job of creating a pen that can be easily stowed away to minimize misplaced stylus placement. After drawing and noting, you can put the pen back in the garage with a satisfying click.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Audio
The Samsung Galaxy Book 15’s long speaker grill strip is located on the back of the laptop between the 360-degree hinges. While listening to Doja Cat’s “Say So” on Spotify, I set the speakers to maximum volume, but I was disappointed; the sound was not as loud as I would have liked. It could not fill the room. But the sound quality is excellent with perfectly balanced audio – the finely tuned mix of Doja Cat’s vocals, bass, and disco beats are well integrated for music that sounded like sweet honey to my ears.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Graphics
Yes, the Flex 15 has a discrete graphics card, an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU with 2GB VRAM, to be precise. That doesn’t mean a laptop is a slot machine, far from it. The GPU can run some games, but the real purpose of the chip is to help with light photo or video editing or maybe a spreadsheet or two. During the Dirt 3 benchmark, the laptop reached 52 frames per second, which is above our 30-fps playability threshold, but below the 61-fps premium laptop average. The Yoga and GeForce GTX 1650 GPU was the undisputed winner at 167 fps. The Spectre (GeForce MX150) achieved 118 fps, while the XPS 15 (GeForce 1650) achieved 80 fps.
Hardware and Performance
It may be light, but the Flex 15 is not to be underestimated. Powered by a 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD, the laptop held up against the competition in most cases. There were a few places where the Ice Lake processor fell on the track.
When we ran Geekbench 4.3, a general performance test, the CPU of the Flex 15 recorded 19,137. It was enough to postpone the average of 17,078 premium laptops and the Spectre’s (Core i7-8565U) 17,115, but just not. The Lenovo Yoga C940 (Core i7-9750H) and Dell XPS 15 (Core i9-9980HK) sailed by with scores of 21,783 and 28,165, respectively.
The hits continued to come during the Handbrake benchmark, where the Flex 15 took 22 minutes and 18 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. That’s much slower than the average of 18:58, and the times clocked by the HP Spectre (21:13), Lenovo Yoga C940 (11:11), and Dell XPS 15 (8:00).
But the notebook got its revenge during the file transfer test. The Flex duplicated 4.97 GB of mixed-media files at a transfer rate of 1,379.2 megabytes per second, shattering the average of 645.6 MBps. The Dell XPS 15 and its 1TB PCIe SSD was a distant second at 508 MBps. The Lenovo Yoga (512GB SSD) and the HP Spectre (1TB SSD) had a speed of 463MBps and 424MBps.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Battery Life
In addition to its breathtaking appearance, the Flex 15 is sure to draw attention to battery life. The Flex 15 lasted 15 hours and 44 minutes on our Battery Test, which consists of continuous surfing the web over Wi-Fi with 150 nits of brightness. It’s much longer than the average 9:04 premium laptop, as is the Dell XPS 15 (8:48), Lenovo Yoga (8:46), and HP Spectre (7:46). The Flex 15 still had a long lifespan when we switched to Outdoor mode and dialed out after 13:14.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Heat
The Galaxy Book Flex 15 has a lot of power in its chassis, so I wasn’t surprised when we tested the thermals in our lab. After streaming a 15 minute HD video, the bottom of the laptop reached 96 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly above our comfort threshold of 95 degrees. Meanwhile, the center of the keyboard and touchpad remained cool and didn’t exceed 87 and 83 degrees, respectively. The underside of the convertible reached – with the power switch – maximum temperature of 103 degrees. Figuratively and literally, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is hot AF.
Price and Configuration Options
The only Galaxy Book Flex 15 configuration available today costs $1,399 and comes with a 15.6-inch, 1080p QLED display, an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 12GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU.
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 Review: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is my favorite 2-in-1 laptop so far. The S pen is the Swiss army knife of stylists – you can sketch, color, mark, underline, swipe screens, control videos, and much more with this versatile tool. The colorful, super-bright QLED display is another attractive feature of the Galaxy Book Flex 15 that can be enjoyed in tablet or laptop mode. The dark blue hue of this beautiful $1,399 convertible will turn heads while maintaining a stylish, sophisticated aesthetic. And that almost 16 hours of battery life and a lightning-fast SSD are nothing to sneeze at either.
However, Samsung’s decision to implement a half-large Shift key to squeeze an adjacent fingerprint scanner is a piece of cake. Why not just place the fingerprint scanner on the lower right quadrant of the keyboard deck? Looking for a 2-in-1 with a more traditional keyboard? Choose the $1,799 15-inch HP Spectre x360 – the Shift key and fingerprint scanner are in all the right places. Need more power? Give the Dell XPS 15 a chance. But at $2,599, you’re going to pay a hefty price.
However, if a shortened Shift key doesn’t ruffle your feathers, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is an excellent ultra-portable workstation that provides a beautiful blend of entertainment and power to fulfill your tasks as an on-the-go professional while giving you a splash of pleasure along the way.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is a blue bomb with a bright QLED display but suffers from a strangely placed fingerprint scanner and a half-size Shift key.
- Built-in S pen
- Super-bright screen
- QLED display
- Epic battery life
- Wireless PowerShare touchpad
- Samsung DeX for easy file transfer
- Quiet speakers
- Oddly placed fingerprint scanner
- Shortened Shift key