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You can finally buy Samsung’s ultra-slim, Intel-powered Galaxy Book S

Starting today, you can grab the Intel version of Samsung’s Galaxy Book S for as low as $949. With the launch of the Galaxy Book S, Samsung is forcing the ultimate showdown between Intel’s Lakefield hybrid chip and Qualcomm’s emerging ARM-based Snapdragon processor for Windows PCs. In addition to the “Intel Inside” version of the Galaxy S, Samsung also has the same laptop design available in a configuration that features a Snapdragon 8cx processor.

There are some differences between the two versions. The biggest benefit with going with the Intel Core i5-powered Galaxy Book S is compatibility with apps. Even though the Snapdragon version can emulate apps, a common complaint in the past with the Snapdragon 8cx platform is that emulated apps can take longer to launch and often times run slower than on a comparable x86 system with Intel or AMD processors.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Other big differences between the two version include battery life, connectivity options, and weight. Whereas the Snapdragon version offers ubiquitous mobile broadband connectivity with a compatible Sprint or Verizon 4G LTE data plan, the Intel version that’s available today comes with support for faster Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ speeds on a compatible home or office network. Both versions support Bluetooth 5.0, two USB-C ports, and a microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Another big difference is Samsung’s stated battery life for the devices. The Intel version gets up to 17 hours of battery life, while the previously available Qualcomm variant is listed with “up to 25 hours [of] video playback,” so your mileage may vary depending on how you use your laptop. With 17 hours as a baseline, you will be able to get through at least a full working day or two without having to bring a charger with you.

And because the Snapdragon version comes with a mobile broadband modem and built-in antennas, it does weigh slightly more than the Intel version, coming in at 2.12 pounds instead of 2.09 pounds. Both versions sport the same 12.02 x 8 x 0.46-inch dimensions, making them equally compact for travel. Road warriors will appreciate the integrated fingerprint reader for security, a 720p HD webcam for Zoom calls while working remotely, and a 13.3-inch FHD LED display to get things done.

The specifications on the Intel version places the Galaxy Book S squarely within the guidelines of Intel’s Project Athena initiative, though neither company has commented on this notebook’s certification. The only two Samsung notebooks that have been officially announced for Project Athena are the Galaxy Book Flex and Ion. And even as Intel may be the safer bet for more app compatibility at this time, the industry is starting to leverage ARM’s processing power on PCs. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X utilizes an ARM processor, and Apple recently announced that its Macs will start a transition to its ARM-based custom silicon.

You can pick up either version from Samsung today. The Galaxy Book S Wi-Fi with Intel processor starts at $949, while the Qualcomm version with LTE connectivity starts at $999.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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