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Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 review

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 has a mega-bright QLED display and a show-stopping stylus

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is a blue bombshell with a bright QLED display, but suffers from an oddly placed fingerprint scanner and half-sized Shift key.

For

  • Built-in S pen
  • Super-bright screen
  • QLED display
  • Epic battery life
  • Wireless PowerShare touchpad
  • Samsung DeX for easy file transfer

Against

  • Quiet speakers
  • Oddly placed fingerprint scanner
  • Shortened Shift key
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 specs

Price:  $1,399
CPU:  Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU
GPU:  NVIDIA GeForce MX250
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 512GB
Display: 15.6inch, 1080p, QLED
Battery: 15:44
Size:  14 x 9 x 0.6 inches
Weight:  3.5 pounds

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 (reviewed at $1,399) is a blue-hued, 2-in-1 head-turning laptop that will rock your world with a built-in, show-stealing S Pen that attracts all the attention. 

Taking notes (pun unintended) from its successful Galaxy Note smartphone series, Samsung packed a pizazz-filled, entertaining layer of stylus fun for artistic creatives, scribble-happy students and note-taking professionals. But the pen is just the “cherry on top” of this spectacular convertible — there’s so much more that this badass ultraportable offers.

Put your shades on! The Samsung Galaxy Book 15 (along with the Galaxy Book Ion) is the first laptop in the world to feature a QLED display, an energy-saving technology that helps to output super-high brightness scores without depleting too much battery power.

But this attractive convertible laptop doesn’t come without flaws as evidenced by a shortened Shift key and an oddly-placed fingerprint scanner. Another setback is its quiet speakers. Still, the Samsung Galaxy Book 15 is a worthy competitor in the premium 2-in-1 space that rivals should keep their eyes on. It's one of the laptops with best battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 price and configuration 

The only Samsung 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 of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 design 

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 — an aluminum, royal-blue beauty —  is the refined, hip and enigmatic fellow you’d meet at a business mixer. Its clean-cut, rectangular chassis says, “I’m all about the Benjamins and business,” but its rich-blue hue emanates an aura of mysterious fun. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

When closed, this 2-in-1 bombshell flaunts reflective, silver edges. The familiar Samsung logo, placed on the center-left of the lid, catches your eye with lustrous, shiny letters.

Lift the lid and you’ll find a slim-bezel paradise. The top bezel manages to squeeze in a small 720p webcam while the bottom bezel sports a barely-there Samsung logo.

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 sports more of that royal-blue goodness on its keyboard. A large dark-blue trackpad, taking almost half the deck space, sits comfortably beneath the space bar.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

A 360-degree hinge allows the clamshell laptop to transform into a gorgeous, big-screen tablet that’s great for watching videos, scribbling notes, digital drawing and more. You can also flip the 2-in-1 into tent mode to enjoy a movie or to show off a presentation to a colleague.

Sporting a dimension of 14 x 9 x 0.6 inches and weight of 3.5 pounds, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is lighter and thinner than its competitors: the 15-inch Lenovo Yoga C940 (4.4 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 downsides to the Galaxy Book Flex 15’s design; its chassis is susceptible to fingerprints and the hinge could be sturdier — the display can get a little bit wobbly while using the S pen in laptop mode.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 ports 

This 2-in-1 stunner has a modern stock of ports.

On the left side, you’ll find a headphone jack, a microSD card slot and a standard USB Type-C port

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

On the right side, you’ll discover a stylus dock and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which means users can experience the joys of outputting video to 4K monitors, high-speed transfer rates and juicing up one’s favorite devices with power — including another laptop.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

If you feel this laptop is lacking in legacy ports, you should check out our best USB Type-C hubs page. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 display 

The Galaxy Book Flex 15's 15.6-inch screen and eye-catching colors provided pleasurable visuals. As it turns out, this gorgeous touch display is the first laptop in the world to be outfitted with QLED technology, which means it’s jazzed up with a fancy quantum-dot filter to improve color, light management and energy efficiency.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

I watched the Torpedo U-235 trailer on the 2-in-1’s big-and-beautiful 1080p display and easily made out deep wrinkles on older actors as well the rich, earthy colors that emanated from the trailer. But don’t expect to have the ability to spot finer details such as tiny beads of sweat and other muted facial features — this is something you’ll find on displays with higher definition.

Testing the screen on our colorimeter, the display on the snazzy 2-in-1 covers 158% of the sRGB color gamut, which knocked both the Lenovo Yoga C940 (105%) and the HP Spectre x360 (157%) out the ring, making the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 the color-coverage champion. The royal-blue convertible also beat the category average (125%).

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 glows like a star in the night sky with a whopping 565-nit brightness average when outdoor mode is enabled. When outdoor mode is off, the 2-in-1’s screen radiates a brilliant 381 nits, which beats the HP Spectre x360 (247 nits) by a long shot, but couldn’t defeat the Lenovo Yoga C940 brightness score of 432 nits. The Galaxy Book Flex 15 crushed the 365-nit brightness score of the average premium laptop.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 keyboard and touchpad 

The Galaxy Book Flex 15 is a testament that Samsung’s 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 decided to slice the right Shift key in half and add an adjacent fingerprint scanner.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

On one hand, my innovation-loving heart wants to pat Samsung on the back for trying something different. On the other hand, though, my mind wants to scream, “Why, Samsung? Why?” As someone who is accustomed to a standard-sized Shift key, typing on this laptop wasn’t fluid for me. I’d sometimes reach for the Shift key during a full-speed typing session, but end up landing on the fingerprint scanner instead.

As for the keys, they are a little shallow. But on the plus side, they’re very clicky and pop back speedily, which provides that springy tactile feedback we all crave.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

My typical average is 87 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com writing test, but on the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15’s keyboard, my wpm average plummeted to 74. If I spent more time with the laptop, I’m sure my wpm would return to its normal mid-80s range.

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 striking feature about the touchpad is its Wireless PowerShare capability, which means you can use it to charge any of your Qi-compatible smartphones, Galaxy Buds Plus (or third-party earbuds) or wearables. Sweet!

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 stylus

The built-in S Pen is the star of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15’s spectacular show. To retrieve the S Pen from its dock, you can simply push its rectangular head to pop it out of place.

The S Pen is your magic wand with the Galaxy Book Flex 15. As soon as you pull it out from its garage, a far-right menu pops up with options to jot down notes, draw, engage with Live Message — a fun app that converts your flashy stylus scribbling into GIFs — and so much more.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

You can also access more stylus-friendly features by tapping on the pen icon located on the taskbar. This will pop up two options: Microsoft Whiteboard — a freeform digital canvas —  and Full-screen Snip, which allows you to highlight and underline notes on screenshots.

While in tablet mode, drawing with this stylus was smooth and enchanting with a speedy reaction rate and no observable lag. Palm rejection deserves two thumbs up — I comfortably rested my palms on the massive screen without inputting any extraneous marks. I particularly loved sketching on the Samsung Notes app with the pencil tool, which simulates the look of a graphite drawing.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

The S Pen also boasts enhanced gesture controls that you can use if you’re a short distance away from the laptop. For example, you can quickly switch slides for PowerPoint presentations and rewind videos you’re showing to your viewers.

The S Pen isn’t the most comfortable, ergonomic pen, but Samsung did an excellent job at creating a pen that can be conveniently stowed away to minimize stylus misplacement. After drawing and note-taking, you can stick the pen back into its garage with a satisfying click.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 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 cranked the speakers up to max volume, but I was disappointed; the audio wasn’t as loud as I would have liked it to be. It could not fill the room. But the sound quality is superb with perfectly balanced audio — the finely tuned mishmash of Doja Cat’s vocals, bass and disco beats integrated well together for music that sounded like sweet honey to my ears.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 performance

It might be lightweight, 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 a 512GB SSD, the laptop held its own against the competition in most cases. There were a few places where the Ice Lake processor fell down on the job. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

When we ran Geekbench 4.3, an overall performance test, the Flex 15's CPU notched 19,137. It was enough to stave off the 17,078 premium laptops average and the Spectre's (Core i7-8565U) 17,115, but just barely. The Yoga C940 (Core i7-9750H) and XPS 15 (Core i9-9980HK) sailed past with scores of 21,783 and 28,165, respectively.

The hits kept coming during the Handbreak benchmark, where the Flex took 22 minutes and 18 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. That's far slower than the 18:58 average and the times clocked by the Spectre (21:13), Yoga C940 (11:11) and XPS 15 (8:00).

But the notebook got its revenge during the file transfer test. The Flex duplicated 4.97GB of mixed-media files at a transfer rate of 1,379.2 megabytes per second, shattering the 645.6MBps average. The XPS 15 and its 1TB PCIe SSD was a distant second at 508MBps. The Yoga (512GB SSD) and the Spectre (1TB SSD) had rates of 463MBps and 424MBps. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 graphics

Yes, the Flex 15 has a discrete graphics card, an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU with 2GB of VRAM, to be exact. That doesn't mean the laptop is a gaming machine. Far from it. While the GPU can run some games, the chip's true purpose is to assist with light photo or video editing or maybe a spreadsheet or two. 

Samsung galaxy book flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

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 its GeForce GTX 1650 GPU was the undisputed winner at 167 fps. The Spectre (GeForce MX150) managed 118 fps while the XPS 15 (GeForce 1650) reached 80 fps. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 battery life

Aside from its breathtaking looks, another place the Flex 15 is bound to draw attention is its battery life. The laptop lasted 15 hours and 44 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. It's much longer than the 9:04 premium laptop average as well as the XPS 15 (8:48), Yoga (8:46) and Spectre (7:46). The Flex 15 still had longevity when we switched over to Outdoor mode, tapping out after 13:14.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 webcam

The top bezel of the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 features a tiny 720p webcam. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

Color is this camera’s strong suit — it picked up on my lilac walls and brown complexion quite well. However, image crispness, detail and definition is where the camera falls short. There is some visual noise, too, but it isn’t too distracting. 

Still, I would recommend an external webcam if you’re planning on doing any video conferencing with this laptop. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 heat

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 packs a lot of power in its chassis, so I wasn’t surprised about its toastiness when we tested its thermals in our lab. 

After we streamed a 15-minute HD video, the underside of the laptop reached 96 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly above our 95-degree comfort threshold. Meanwhile, the center of the keyboard and touchpad stayed cool and didn’t surpass 87 and 83 degrees, respectively. The underside of the convertible — by the power switch — reached a max temperature of 103 degrees. Figuratively and literally, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is hot AF.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 software and warranty 

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 operates on Windows 10 Pro and has some useful pre-installed software such as including the Voice Note with Pen app, which allows you to pause your recorded audio and jot down important notes. This is a great tool for students who record lectures or worker bees who enjoy recording office meetings. There’s also Studio Plus for simple video editing and several drawing apps, including Sketchbook and Little Artist.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 also includes an app called Samsung DeX that prompts users to connect their compatible Samsung device to the computer via USB for easy file transfers.

However, there is a fair amount of bloatware, including a Booking.com Samsung Edition partner app, Solitaire, Netflix, Spotify and more.

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Samsung fared on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands special reports 

Bottom line

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is my favorite 2-in-1 laptop so far. The Samsung S pen is the Swiss Army knife of styluses  — you can sketch, color, highlight, underline, swipe screens, operate videos and so much more with this versatile tool.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15

(Image credit: Future)

The color-rich, super-bright, QLED display is another appealing feature of the Galaxy Book Flex 15 that one can enjoy in tablet or laptop mode. The dark blue hue of this stunning $1,399 convertible will turn heads while maintaining a classy, refined aesthetic. And that nearly 16 hours of battery life and lightning-fast SSD are nothing to sneeze at either. 

However, Samsung’s decision to implement a half-sized Shift key to squeeze in an adjacent fingerprint scanner is befuddling. Why not just place the fingerprint scanner on the lower-right quadrant of the keyboard deck? Perhaps there’s a method to Samsung’s madness, but for now, I remain baffled. 

Seeking a 2-in-1 with a more traditional keyboard? Opt for 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 gander. But at $2,599 you're going to pay a pretty penny. However, if a shortened Shift key doesn’t ruffle your feathers, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 is an excellent ultraportable workstation that delivers a beautiful melange of entertainment and power to satisfy your tasks as an on-the-go professional while giving you a splash of fun along the way.