Nearly a year ago, Samsung rolled out its latest Galaxy Book S laptop with much fanfare, due to its decision to build the ultraportable around an Arm system-on-a-chip. The Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform is Qualcomm's most notable attempt (at least until Apple starts using Arm processors in its Macs) to move up from cell phones and tablets to powering full-fledged PCs, seen most recently in Lenovo's Flex 5G laptop. But with this year's new Galaxy Book S entry, Samsung has abandoned Qualcomm and chosen a different innovative processor option in the form of Intel's new Lakefield hybrid processor.
Although the Snapdragon-powered Galaxy Book S remains on sale as the LTE version, the new Wi-Fi edition features a Core i5-L16G7 processor, a five-core chip based on a 10nm manufacturing process that retains greater compatibility with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows applications than the Snapdragon product provides. (According to The Verge, the Intel version will support LTE in select regions outside the United States.) The i5-L16G7 is referred to as a "hybrid" processor as it combines a quarter of low-power cores (code-named Tremont) with a more powerful Sunny Cove fifth core with the ability to enter turbo mode depending on the system needs.
The result is a Galaxy Book S that might be a little better on the productivity end while retaining plenty of battery life (Samsung claims up to 17 hours) and portability (2.1 pounds and 0.46 inches thick). Though both versions include 8GB of RAM, 256GB solid-state drive, 13.3-inch full HD displays, and integrated fingerprint readers, the Snapdragon model boasts superior battery life (up to 25 hours) while the Intel system gets a gold color choice in addition to a gray chassis. In the U.S., the Intel Galaxy Book S comes with the latest Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) connectivity that can provide a 30-percent performance boost in Internet speeds.
One other (slight) advantage the new Intel-based Galaxy Book S offers over the Snapdragon version if you don't need LTE connectivity is price: At $949.99, the Galaxy Book S Wi-Fi is $50 cheaper than its sibling. It's also available now, ahead of the Samsung Unpacked event at the beginning of August that is expected to focus on the company's new phone launches.