Can Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2-in-1 spell the end of the traditional laptop?

BROWSING the internet, writing and watching streaming services are the only things I use my computer for, so why am I stuck believing a traditional laptop is best for me?

This is the question I had to ask myself when contemplating if I would get better value from making the switch to a 2-in-1 — a device combining the computing power, storage and software compatibility of a laptop with the flexibility and freedom of a tablet.

With Samsung’s Windows 10 Galaxy Book joining the growing list of impressive 2-in-1 products on the market, I decided to see if I was ready to say goodbye to my laptop for good.

DESIGN

The detachable 2-in-1 device has a gorgeous 12-inch Super AMOLED display that has an impressive 2,160 by 1,440 resolution.

When removed from the keyboard, the display’s curved edges, top-oriented power button and volume rocker offer an authentic tablet experience.

The plastic shell of the display gives the illusion of an aluminium finish, which gives the device the sleek and sexy appearance of other Samsung devices.

There are two speakers on the left and right edges of the device, with both offering decent sound, while the right side also houses a 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB-C connections — USB 2.0 and HDMI inputs can be connected with an adaptor.

The Galaxy Book also offers a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing webcam.

The Samsung Galaxy Book can double as a 12-inch tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy Book can double as a 12-inch tablet.Source:Supplied

The full-size detachable keyboard cover is the same layout and size as most Windows 10 laptops meaning there is no adjustment period or learning curve, and the backlit keys make the device easier to use the device the dark.

While Samsung could have followed the Surface Pro’s design of a rear kickstand and a detachable keyboard, the Galaxy Book includes a keyboard cover with various magnetised orientations for holding up the display.

Even though this helps avoid adding too much bulk to the device, it means the Galaxy Book tends to be flimsy when being used on anything other than a flat surface.

I did find this to be frustrating at first, but when lounging around I simply removed the display and used the on-screen keyboard built into the tablet.

After a while I actually found using the large tablet more comfortable than it would have been to use a keyboard or traditional laptop in the same position, yet it would still be nice to have the option of a reliable kickstand.

So the keyboard cover isn’t the most sturdy kickstand.

So the keyboard cover isn’t the most sturdy kickstand.Source:Supplied

In addition to the detachable keyboard, the Galaxy Book also comes standard with an S-Pen stylus that can be used for physically scribbling down notes or as a replacement for the mouse.

Both are a welcome inclusion as the Surface Pro requires users purchase the detachable keyboard and stylus separately.

The stylus is very responsive and fantastic to use, although it could be easy to lose given there is nowhere to physically store it on the device.

On the plus side, if you do happen to misplace the S-Pen you could always purchase the Staedtler Noris digital — an adaptation of a traditional pencil with the cutting-edge technology of an S Pen.

Impressively, the tablet creates an electromagnetic field that interacts with the tip of the S-Pen to ensure you always knows the exact location of the point of the pencil.

Another positive is both the keyboard and stylus don’t need to be charged for use.

The Staedtler Noris digital looks and feels exactly like your pencils from school.

The Staedtler Noris digital looks and feels exactly like your pencils from school.Source:Supplied

PERFORMANCE

The Galaxy Book comes standard with Windows 10 to help it feel like an authentic replacement for your PC, while also including a few Samsung exclusive apps to take advantage of the S-Pen.

Powering the device is a dual-core, seventh-generation Core i5 processor running at 3.1 GHz, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive also included — more than enough to meet my aforementioned computer needs.

Samsung says the Galaxy Book offers 11 hours of battery life from a single charge, although I found it delivered closer to five to six hours life during heavy use — still more than enough for your morning commute.

The Galaxy Book has also been fitted with “fast-charging” abilities, however this doesn’t work as quickly as you would hope when using the device while plugged in.

To take advantage of the 12-inch Super AMOLED display, Samsung has made the device compatible with HDR video content — a technique allowing preservation of details otherwise lost due to limiting contrast ratios.

This alone makes the device a great choice for those wanting to watch video content on the fly.

The Galaxy Book is Samsung's latest 2-in-1.

The Galaxy Book is Samsung’s latest 2-in-1.Source:Supplied

CONCLUSION

I came into this review looking to see if Samsung’s 2-in-1 Galaxy Book could be a solid replacement for my traditional laptop and I truly believe this could be the case.

There is no denying the keyboard kickstand poses some pretty big issues with the device, but the inclusion of the stylus and ability to use as a tablet certainly offers benefits not seen with the laptop. The appeal of 2-in-1 will really just depend on what you use the device for.

I enjoyed using the Galaxy Book as a tablet when watching TV on the couch and drawing using the stylus has also been a fun, new experience.

Having to use the detachable keyboard kickstand on a flat surface does add some frustrations, although I generally found myself sitting at a desk when writing on my laptop anyway.

As someone who enjoys binge-watching when on trains and planes, the Super AMOLED display is a huge winner in my eyes.

I would put some serious thought into the uses of your device and if a 2-in-1 can better fit your needs, why not make the switch?

Or if you wanted to own both a laptop and tablet, but don’t have the money for both, this could also be a valid solution.

Five of the best new computers reviewed, from laptops with pens to desktops that move

COMPUTERS are no longer just beige boxes plonked on a desk.

They can arrive without keyboards, with digital pens, in slender bodies or hefty forms.

We’ve rounded up five of the best — and arguably most diverse — new portable computers to help you choose your next workhorse.

Microsoft Surface Laptop

4 out of 5 stars / $1499-$3299 / microsoft.com/en-au

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is lightweight and well built.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is lightweight and well built.Source:Supplied

Microsoft’s most accessible computer is beautifully crafted.

The Surface Laptop features a slim profile, metal top, and unusual spill-resistant fabric covering around its keys. It also offers a 13.5-inch touchscreen that is easy on the eyes, at 201 pixels per inch, though it doesn’t flip over or detach like some of its other products.

This laptop also uses Windows 10 S, which is designed for use with Microsoft apps, though you can upgrade it to Windows 10 Pro for free this year and install whatever program you please. This straightforward laptop should appeal to anyone in need of a basic computing experience, and travellers in particular due its pleasingly light weight.

It does have just one USB port, however, so you might need to pack a couple of adaptors.

Samsung Galaxy Book 12-inch

3.5 out of 5 stars / $1599-$2299 / samsung.com/au

The Samsung Galaxy Book features a 12-inch touchscreen, and comes with a keyboard cover and stylus.

The Samsung Galaxy Book features a 12-inch touchscreen, and comes with a keyboard cover and stylus.Source:Supplied

Why would you buy Samsung’s Windows 10 tablet over its Microsoft Surface equivalent?

The new Galaxy Book boasts a 12-inch Super AMOLED screen that is crisp, bright, and capable of screening HDR content, it comes with a battery-free stylus capable of greater pressure sensitivity than its peers, and there’s a keyboard cover thrown into the package.

Additionally, if you buy the top package, you can get up to 256GB storage, 8GB RAM, and a built-in 4G connection to stay connected wherever you roam.

And why would you stick with Surface instead?

This 2-in-one tablet convertible peaks at a dual-core Intel Core i5 chip, is a bit smaller but a bit heavier than an iPad Pro, and the packaged keyboard is troubled, offering limited angles, connection delays, and little use on a lap.

HP Spectre X2

4 out of 5 stars / $2199 / hp.com.au

The HP Spectre X2 is a convertible tablet computer with a sophisticated design.

The HP Spectre X2 is a convertible tablet computer with a sophisticated design.Source:Supplied

This convertible tablet makes Microsoft Windows look young again.

The Spectre X2, from HP’s premium range, shows off the software on a 12-inch touchscreen surrounded by a copper-coloured kickstand and a slender keyboard with a matt black exterior. It’s not all about looks with this machine, of course.

As its price suggests, it can act as a fully functional laptop too, with Windows 10 Home, 8GB RAM, Intel Core i5 chip, and a 256GB hard drive.

It also has enough connections to appease most users, with two USB-C ports and a memory card slot. The new X2 comes with a stylus too, though it doesn’t match the Surface Pen, and a keyboard that offers surprising comfort but an occasionally finicky trackpad.

Its battery life is also not as good as that of the Surface Pro, but it should make the shortlist.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

3.5 out of 5 stars / $949-$1099 / samsung.com/au

The Samsung Tab S3 is a high-end Google Android tablet with a crisp 9.7-inch touchscreen and a packaged stylus.

The Samsung Tab S3 is a high-end Google Android tablet with a crisp 9.7-inch touchscreen and a packaged stylus.Source:Supplied

If you want a tablet free of a fruity logo, there aren’t many high-end options for you to choose. Samsung addresses this void with the Galaxy Tab S3 that is the most advanced Google Android tablet on the market and a slick device.

Its 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display is crisp and easy on the eye, it features an attractive glass back, meagre 434g weight, comes with a battery-free but efficient stylus, and decent sound thanks to four speakers and Samsung’s AKG Harman purchase.

Both its wi-fi and 4G variants come with just 32GB storage, though users can boost that by adding a memory card. On the downside, it can be sluggish to operate, its optional keyboard is poorly designed, and its screen is smaller and more reflective than the competing iPad Pro 10.5 that costs just $30 more.

HP ZBook 17 G4

No stars / $3893 / hp.com.au

HP's ZBook 17 G4 is a mobile workstation.

HP’s ZBook 17 G4 is a mobile workstation.Source:Supplied

HP calls this a “mobile workstation” rather than a laptop because it’s far too big to sit on a lap. This 3.12kg computing beast arrives in a magnesium-reinforced chassis, features a 17.3-inch touchscreen, a full-sized keyboard with number pad, several connections including four USB ports and space for an Ethernet cable, and it can be customised to your liking.

You could, for example, add up to four terabytes of storage, and the rear panel of the machine can be removed to replace the battery.

Extremely rare ‘Schoolsky’ Apple-I computer could fetch $881,000 at auction

Image result for Extremely rare ‘Schoolsky’ Apple-I computer could fetch $881,000 at auction

IF YOU thought $1800 for Apple’s new iPhone X was a little steep, you might not want to look at how much you could be paying for one of the company’s computers.

It might have been four decades since it was considered a cutting-edge gadget, but an Apple-I computer is currently for sale in an auction has already attracted bids of $A258,000.

Even more wild is the value estimated for the “extremely rare ‘Schoolsky’ Apple-I computer” is $A881,000, according to the auction house with the listing.

“Bid to win one of the first models of the Apple-I computer, originally owned by friend and associate of Steve Wozniak, Adam Schoolsky,” the listing reads.

“The Apple-I Computer is considered the origin of the personal computer revolution and was built in Steve Jobs’ parents’ home on Crist Drive in Los Altos, CA.

“200 were hand-built by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs’ sister, and their team, but it is believed that less than 60 are still in existence.”

Built using an Apple-I “NTI” board acquired from internal stock when Adam Schoolsky was an employee of the company, the device has since been authenticated by a historian.

There is also a documentation package with this computer, which the historian scored as a nine out of 10 in terms of condition.

So if you have a spare $A259,000 or more, why not make the bid — but be quick as there is only 17 hours remaining at the time of writing this article.

“Schoolsky” Apple-I Items Included in Set:

• Apple-I original Operation Manual

• Apple original Basic Users Manual

• Apple-I original Cassette Interface Manual

• Apple-I original cassette (dis-assembler)

• Apple-I original advertisement

• Apple-I original box

• Apple original price list, 1977

• Miscellaneous correspondence between LCF Group and Adam Schoolsky

• Three original issues of Silicon Gulch Gazette (1976 — 1978) addressed to Adam Schoolsky

• Original copy, in mint condition, of the 40-page First West Coast Computer Faire Conference Program dated April 15-17, 1977

• Early copy of the Zaltair brochure, created by Steve Wozniak and Adam Schoolsky as a spoof document to be distributed at the First West Coast Computer Faire Conference

• Apple ][+ Keyboard with Apple-I adaptor

• Stancor power supply transformers

Bill Gates reveals one big decision he would rethink if he could turn back time

BILL Gates has revealed the one decision he wishes he could change if time travel were possible — and it might surprise you.

The Microsoft founder said he wouldn’t change too much in case he altered the course of history, reports The Sun.

But he did say there was one small tweak he would make that may have changed your life for the better.

Gates said during a talk at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum that he wouldn’t have created the CTRL-ALT-DEL keyboard shortcut

The shortcut allows you interrupt your computer’s operations when it goes haywire, allowing you to restart if necessary but it is notoriously tricky to manoeuvre.

When quizzed on the keyboard function during his appearance at the Plaza Hotel in New York, Gates said: “I am not sure you can go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk.”

Asked whether he regretted his decision, he said: “Sure, if I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation.”

It certainly hasn’t cost him dearly, as Gates is apparently on track to become the world’s first trillionaire.

Forbes, which publishes a yearly rich-list, estimates Gates’ fortune in 2017 to be around $A108 billion. But he is accumulating wealth by simply breathing.

An Oxfam report stated if billionaires like Gates continue to secure these returns, “we could see the world’s first trillionaire in 25 years”.

Windows 10: Microsoft promises to fix an ongoing game-stuttering problem

rocket league

If your PC games have been plagued by starts and stops and other “stuttering” issues, you’re not alone. Microsoft has identified “several different problem sources” that can cause stutter within the current Windows 10 Creators Update, the company said.

As reported by Neowin, Windows 10 users have reported incidents of “stutter” on games like Overwatch, Rocket League, Mass Effect, and others. The stutter, or unexpected choppiness in frame rates, appear to be affecting games and in some cases general PC use as well. Gamers are complaining about this issue both on sites like Nvidia’s forums but also on the Feedback Hub application within Windows 10.

So far, neither Microsoft nor anyone else appears to have nailed down the problem. In a statement that’s been reproduced across the Feedback Hub in several threads, however, Microsoft says it has identified several “problem sources” that may be contributing to the issue. For now, the best bet seems to be joining the Windows 10 Insider program.

“Thank you everyone for providing feedback and submitting traces,” according to a statement provided by “Peter K.,” a Microsoft engineer. “We have been analyzing the traces from your feedback and have identified several different problem sources surfacing as stutter in games. We have a fix for one of them in the Windows Insider build that flighted to the “Fast” ring (build 16273 and above). You can find instructions on joining the Windows 10 Insider Program here. We are actively investigating the remaining stutter causes and appreciate your patience on this issue.”

Build 16273 of the Insiders Program, released August 23, contained a few feature updates including a new font and mixed-reality controls. However, Microsoft has moved into the “bug-fixing” portion of its development process, in preparation for the Fall Creators Update to be deployed on Oct. 17.

What this means for you: On one hand, it’s nice to know that Microsoft has at least confirmed the issue, identified some of the causes, and has begun working on a solution. Still, those stuttering issues have apparently been present since March, when the Creators Update launched to the installed base of Windows 10 at large. Most gamers would probably hope for a more prompt response in the future.

Google Chrome will start blocking noisy autoplay videos in January

pcw chrome primary

Google is taking aim at one of the biggest scourges of the modern web. Starting in January 2018, the Chrome browser will automatically block noisy autoplay video on webpages.

“One of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing,” Google wrote in a blog post. “To address this, Chrome will be making autoplay more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio.”

[ Further reading: Best web browsers of 2017: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera go head-to-head ]

In Chrome 64, autoplaying videos will be blocked by default unless they’re muted, or if “the user has indicated an interest in the media.” That means autoplay will be allowed for a site if you’ve frequently played a video on it or added the site to your mobile homepage. You won’t need to manually play every YouTube video or Twitch stream you select, in other words. Autoplay will also be enabled if you “clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session” for some reason.

If you want to start blocking unwanted audio from autoplay videos today, try Avram Piltch’s Silent Site Sound Blocker extension for Chrome. Apple’s Safari 11 browser will also allow you to easily stop autoplay videos when it launches with macOS High Sierra on September 25.

Mute websites in Chrome

Google’s paving the path for the wonderful-sounding feature by adding the ability to completely mute all audio for a given website in Chrome 63, which is currently in the testing phase. The disabling will continue between browsing sessions.

To activate page-muting when Chrome 63 goes live, load the website you want to disable audio for, click on the “Page Info bubble” to the left of the URL, and look for the Sound option. Here’s a picture of it:

chrome 63 sound settings

Francois Beaufort/Google

The story behind the story: Noisy autoplay videos aren’t the only online bane in Google’s sights. Native ad-blocking capabilities are coming to Chrome soon. “We plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018,” Google’s Sridhar Ramaswamy announced earlier this year. Chrome’s ad-blocker won’t eliminate all ads—only the most distracting and burdensome ones.

Dell is selling our favorite budget gaming laptop for $800 right now

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

Bargains are in a bit of a lull before the holidays arrive, but there are still a few decent deals out there. Right now, Dell is offering a 15-inch gaming laptop with a Core i5 Kaby Lake processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card for $800, and IPS screen.

That last detail—the IPS screen—makes this price particularly appealing, given our experience with the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming earlier this year. Back at launch, we loved its performance but were disappointed with its washed-out TN display. Dell eventually ended up offering a $50 upgrade to an IPS display during the ordering process, but now it’s a standard feature.

Even despite the TN display, this laptop had so much value for its price that it’s held the spot of “Best budget gaming laptop” in our list of best laptopssince its launch. This particular configuration is one step up from the base model, with a solid-state drive and a GTX 1050 Ti (instead of GTX 1050) for graphics. Compared to the standard 1050, the Ti version doubles the amount of graphics RAM to 4GB and bumps up the CUDA cores from 640 to 768.

For performance, you can expect to hit between 40 to 50 frames per second in most modern games set at max graphical settings—or about 60 fps if you’re willing to drop down to High. We also got surprisingly long battery life during regular tasks, like video playback. (Though to be fair, that was on the TN panel, so it’s possible the IPS screen could suck more energy.) Not shabby at all for $800.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000

CCleaner hacked with malware: What you need to know

malware cybersecurity skull crossbone

It seems that CCleaner, one of PCWorld’s recommendations for the best free software for new PCs, might not have been keeping your PC so clean after all. In an in-depth probe of the popular optimization and scrubbing software, Cisco Talos has discovered a malicious bit of code injected by hackers that could have affected more than 2 million users who downloaded the most recent update.

On Sept. 13, Cisco Talos found that the official download of the free versions of CCleaner 5.33 and CCleaner Cloud 1.07.3191 also contained “a malicious payload that featured a Domain Generation Algorithm as well as hardcoded Command and Control functionality.” What that means is that a hacker infiltrated Avast Piriform’s official build somewhere in the development process build to plant malware designed to steal users’ data.

Cisco Talon suspects that the attacker “compromised a portion of (CCleaner’s) development or build environment and leveraged that access to insert malware into the CCleaner build that was released and hosted by the organization.” As such, customers’ personal information was not at risk.

According to Avast, the malware doesn’t seem to have affected any machines in the wild. In a blog post by vice president of products Paul Yung, he states that the company identified the attack on Sept. 12 and had taken the appropriate action even before Cisco Talos notified them of their discovery. Yung says the attack was limited to CCleaner and CCleaner Cloud on 32-bit Windows systems—fortunately, most modern PCs will likely be running the 64-bit version.

Yung assures customers that the threat has been resolved and the “rogue server” has been taken down. He also says Piriform has shut down the hackers’ access to other servers. Additionally, the company is moving all users to the latest version of the software, which is already available on the company’s website (though the release notes only mention “minor big fixes.”)

Most reassuringly, Yung states that Avast was seemingly able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm. The intent of the attack is unclear at this time, though Avast says the code was able to collect information about the local system.

Users can download CCleaner 5.34 from Avast’s website if they haven’t already done so. Previous releases are also still available on the company’s website, but the infected version has been removed from the company’s servers. You’ll also want to perform an antivirus scan on your computer. If you’re affected, Cisco Talos recommends using a backup to restore your PC to a state prior to August 15, 2017, which is when the hacked version was released.

The impact on you at home: While users within the target area shouldn’t see any impact from this attempted attack, it’s still a scary notion. While Avast got in front of the issue and resolved it without incident, smaller companies might not be able to react so quickly. For example, earlier this year, it was found that a breach at Ukranian software company MeDoc was responsible for the NotPetya ransomware. Ransomware is becoming a troubling trend, and if hackers are able to infect infect update servers they can spread malware to as many machines as possible.

Microsoft confirms Outlook issues

Microsoft graphic

Microsoft has confirmed that some users of its email service Outlook are unable to send email or access their accounts.

Hundreds from around Europe have commented on the website Downdetectorthat they have been affected by the problem – many since Monday morning.

One common issue seems to be that sent emails remain in the drafts folder and are not being delivered to recipients.

On its website, Microsoft says the service dropped “unexpectedly” and it is working on a fix.

Not all account holders are affected.

“Intermittent connectivity is affecting customers in some European countries, which we are working to resolve as soon as possible,” said a Microsoft representative.

Outlook incorporates Hotmail and Windows Live Hotmail accounts.

On its service status page, Microsoft is currently saying that an “alternate infrastructure” is being used while the service is restored.

“We’ve identified that a subset of infrastructure was unable to process requests as expected, which caused general service availability to drop unexpectedly,” it says.

“We’ve redirected requests to alternate infrastructure to restore service, and we’re monitoring the environment while connectivity recovers.

“Additionally, we’re investigating an issue in which users are unable to send email messages.”

Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death

New Doctor Who in Paint

Microsoft has confirmed that it will continue to offer its graphics program Paint.

In a recent update, it had listed Paint as a feature that would be either removed or no longer developed.

Paint, renowned for its simplicity, has been part of the Windows operating system since its launch in 1985.

Microsoft suggested it would not remain on Windows 10 by default but did say it would be available for free on the Windows Store.

Its successor, Paint 3D, will be part of the Windows 10 package.

Mountain scene done in Paint by ValprineImage copyright@VALPRINE
Image captionThis mountain scene was shared by user Valprine on Twitter.

There had been an outpouring of support for the program on social media, following the publication of the list on 24 July.

“If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans,” Microsoft wrote in a blog.

“It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app.”

  • The artist who only uses Microsoft Paint

There does not appear to have been a similar reprieve for other features on the list of casualties.

These included the Outlook Express email client, now replaced by Mail.

Paddington Bear in Paint