Galaxy Book Flex initial impressions 15.6" 16 GB RAM (Korean version)

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by njweb, May 18, 2020.

  1. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    I recent bought the Galaxy Book Flex 15.6" edition which I found with 16GB for the same price as the 12GB BB version since the Ion only came with 8 GB in the US (before someone posted today that the Ion can be upgraded to 16GB).

    Flex Likes:
    1. Small for a 15.6 laptop - Much smaller than my HP Elitebook 1050 G1.
    2. Lighter than most competitors; notable exceptions are the LG Gram and Samsung's own Galaxy Book Ion which weigh even less.
    3. Great QLED screen
    4. Great battery life for browsing
    5. Intel Iris and nVidia graphics! (keep in mind I have the Korean version; US 12GB version does not have the nVidia graphics).
    6. Clean / sleek / modern design and looks; love the Royal blue color too!
    7. Decent build quality
    8. Unit can be opened easily if SSD dies, battery needs replacement or fan goes bad etc. (unlike Surface Book 2 15" e.g.).

    Flex dislikes
    1. Sound output level (i.e. dB output) is not loud enough at max volume (the Elitebook's B&O speaker gets MUCH louder). Sound quality is good though.
    2. Keyboard a bit too shallow; that being said, I can actually type about as fast as the HP Elitebook 1050 G1 which has a really nice keyboard feel. So it may just be a matter of getting used to it.
    3. When I tested my Flex with Google Meet and online game (e.g. online poker), battery life dropped really significantly. I expected a decline, but this was way beyond expectations. May run some battery tests when I get time of the 1050 G1 and Flex with same intensive apps running.
    4. Bluetooth connection issues with Logitech MX Anywhere 2S mouse after resuming from sleep in Windows 10.
    5. Massive fingerprint magnet; they show up more due to the royal blue case color - After just one day, the thing looked like it has been used for a month. Wiping it down with a microfiber cloth was easy enough though.
    Pros and Cons above may be missing a few things, but I will update the above when I have more time.

    Think I am already getting used to the Korean characters next to the US letters / characters on the keys.
    Also ordered a smaller power adapter / charger from Amazon (other dedicated thread on that).

    Overall, as much as I like the Elitebook's sheer performance and upgrade-ability and great keyboard, after having also tried numerous laptops before it including Notebook 9 Pen, Lenovo X1 Extreme, MS Surface Book 2), I still wanted something smaller and sleeker than the Elitebook with better battery life (HP is not bad but...), I think the Flex may work out well for me.
    I love how portable it is in comparison.

    However, still wondering whether to try the Ion, now that I know the RAM can be upgraded to 16 GB (thanks to the post by Dangreen).
    As I had posted previously, when they were announced, I initially wanted the Ion due to the slightly better keyboard travel (per Engadget comparison video), but when the Ion came to the US as 8 GB and I found a Korean 16GB version of the Flex for sale, I decided to give it a shot.

    I also need to figure out warranty registration for my Korean Flex since the Korean Samsung site says I need a Korean nationality account when I try to register it and the US Samsung site does not seem to recognize the serial number, probably since I suspect it is validating against the US database only...
    Anyone done this?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  2. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    Edited my post above to reflect a con I had forgotten about - Audio output volume in the Flex is too low... I used an enhancement to boost it a bit, but still far softer than my Elitebook 1050 G1.
    The Elitebook admittedly gets really loud and other notebooks I tried can't compete, but the Flex is much quieter at max volume and I expected more from the AKG system they tout.
    The Flex's sound quality itself is good, just not the maximum output level (dB).
     
  3. Worzyl

    Worzyl Notebook Consultant

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    Really appreciate the update.

    One thing that I was impressed with my current NP770Z5E is that the audio is pretty impressive. I'm flying back to the UK in a month from Korea so I need to still made up my mind between the Flex and the Ion. Although my job involves a lot of art/3D animation - my equipment does involve a lot of USB slots which the Ion possesses. The flex is all about the thunderbolt port and is even missing HDMI output which I use a lot at home. However, I can purchase these adapters separately and it will make me "get with the times" which I have a bad habit of being stubborn about sometimes, which is not good for my line of work:D

    I'm also disappointed that neither of these laptops have an ethernet port.

    If your attracted to the ion because of "slightly" better keyboard travel, but are already coping well - you may want to find an outlet where you are in the US and give it a try first. I have tapped on both keyboards in the samsung stores, but I couldn't tell you which is better, though they did feel more shallow than my current NP770Z5E. Another thing, the ION really does feel a lot lighter and actually looks really nice and sleak, despite the slightly weaker CPU(though it's not that much slower) which may or may not effect you.
     
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  4. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for sharing your feedback, including regarding the 2 keyboards! So you did not notice much difference between the Ion and Flex keyboard, interesting. Yes, I am coping with the Flex keyboard for now. Right now, I prefer not to go to the store to check them out (assuming they are in display) given the current COVID-19 situation in the area and due to another related reason.

    The one consistent issue with the Flex is that the Bluetooth radio needs to be restarted after the computer resumes from Sleep. Hopefully this issue is software related (can be fixed via future driver update e.g.) and not hardware related.

    Overall I am enjoying the Flex! :)
    Once I decide if I am keeping Flex or getting an Ion, thinking of potentially getting a Celicious screen protector, either the one for impact protection or for glare protection (mutually exclusive).
     
  5. Worzyl

    Worzyl Notebook Consultant

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    Yes - I understand your reasons for not checking them out due to covid 19.

    With the battery life problem that you had when playing online poker - were you using the nvidia graphics card or the Intel Iris GPU? Using the Iris may help with the battery drain, though I'm not sure how you would switch between the two.

    Also - I'm looking to get one of these to help with the loss of ports:
    https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-usb-c-mobile-adapter-da300/apd/470-acwn/pc-accessories
     
  6. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    Good question about the graphics card.
    I did actually notice this past weekend (when I first tried the Flex) that when I manually disabled the nVidia adapter battery life got worse; so I re-enabled it so that both graphics adapters were in place.
    Even then, battery life was shorter than expected taking into account the fact that the poker app always uses up battery life even on the Elitebook, not sure why other than it may be CPU intensive.
     
  7. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    EDIT - Tried an updated Intel driver for the Bluetooth issue with the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S mouse when resuming from sleep; initially I thought the driver I downloaded might have fixed it, but it did not help after all - the issue persists. :(

    I removed the 'frozen taskbar' issue from Cons, since that stopped occurring.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  8. Worzyl

    Worzyl Notebook Consultant

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    How are you getting on with the Flex? I have also now seen that they have released a silver version of the flex here in Korea:
    http://global.gmarket.co.kr/item?goodsCode=1789409569

    I think it will just look like the silver chronos series.

    Have you tried using the graphics card?
     
  9. njweb

    njweb Notebook Enthusiast

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    i am really enjoying the Flex, aside from the keyboard which I am still not completely used to the keyboard... '
    Also the persistent (despite driver update this weekend) 'Bluetooth connection issue after resuming from sleep' is annoying (affects Logitech MX Anywhere 2S mouse in my case).
    The nVidia graphics card kicks in automatically depending on the app being run. I have not 'tested' it.

    As much as I love the below pros of the Flex over the Ion, I am potentially considering, again..., whether I should at least try the 15.6" Ion due to its slightly deeper keyboard and lower weight, plus I can add 16GB more RAM [24 GB total vs. 16 GB in my Korean 15.6" Flex] and a second SSD if desired - also good if the primary SSD gets corrupter / crashes.

    Best Buy has 47 user reviews for the 15.6" Flex and only 1 user review for the 15.6" Ion (as of 5/30/2020), so we know which one they prefer. That being said, one potential factor for people in the US choosing the US Flex over the US Ion is the the US version of the 15.6" Flex has 12GB of RAM and the US 15.6" Ion has 8 GB, so the extra 4 GB may be a big factor for some owners choosing the Flex since it is only $100 more at BB.

    My personal likes of the Flex over the Ion: '
    Build quality (albeit at the expense of higher weight), including solid brushed aluminum side bezels.
    USB-C PD feature of the Flex (I am using a really small USB-C PD power adapter to power my Flex)
    Intel Iris Plus graphics and nVidia graphics in mine (nVidia is in the Korean version only)
    2 TB ports plus 1 USB-C (PD-capable) port (Ion has only 1 TB port ; other 2 are USB-A ports)

    The Flex and Ion each really have some very different pros and cons which makes the decision trickier. :)
    That being said, I am getting used to the Flex's shallow keys again as I am getting further along in typing / editing this post (after being on my other home setup for work all day yesterday which includes a Ducky Cherry Cherry MX Silent Red mechanical keyboard).

    I spent too much time last weekend researching the Ion again only to ultimately let my Ion order expire when I decided Monday to happily keep my Korean Flex, but this morning I started again wondering, a bit, about the Ion. :)
    Update - As of this evening, I am getting more used to the keyboard.

    Edited - 5/31/2020: As of yesterday evening, I found an available update for the Bluetooth driver which seems to have fixed the issue with Bluetooth not working properly after resuming from sleep (which required turning BT off and back on again).
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
  10. Worzyl

    Worzyl Notebook Consultant

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    I totally understand the toing and froing. The amount of energy and time you have to spend reearching a laptop in order to see what you can compromise on, without being able to test it in your own hands (in your case, the ION), has you scouring for hours on any information you can find on the net or otherwise.

    I was even looking at the HP ZBook x2 G4 as I like the bluetooth keyboard, but the screen is too small for 3D work and I'm unsure if I could get use to it.
     
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