Review Samsung Book (11th generation Core i5): decent for everyday [análise/vídeo]

Intermediate notebooks are less limited than entry-level models and, at the same time, don’t cost as much as high-end laptops. That’s why most manufacturers launch numerous options within this category. It is the case of the line Samsung Book, which now features 11th generation Intel Core chips.

This is the Samsung Book review NP550XDA-KF2BR, a notebook that comes with Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and 15.6 inch LCD screen with full HD resolution.

Is this screen any good? Does the Core i5 chip that equips the model perform well? How does the battery behave? Does the equipment have any interesting additional features? Find the answers in the next lines.

Samsung Book Review on Video

ethics notice

O Techblog is an independent news vehicle that has been helping people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our reviews are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each product. No company has paid for, reviewed or had advance access to this content.

The Samsung Book NP550XDA-KF2BR was provided by Samsung on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.

Design and Connectivity

The Samsung Book line has a feature that I really appreciate: sober design. Here, Samsung prioritizes straight lines and a compact structure that, despite not making this an ultra-thin laptop, allows the model not to take up much space in a backpack, for example — closed, the equipment is 1.8 cm thick.

Notebook Samsung Book (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

It’s true that this heap of gray plastic that looks like metal feels fragile to the touch, at least on initial contact — only the lid behind the display is actually metallic. On the other hand, the plastic finish contributes to the Samsung Book not being too heavy: it is 1.8 kg.

It would be a waste for a large notebook like this to not have a decent range of connections. Fortunately, he does. On the right side, we find a conventional USB port (type A), plus a microSD reader and Kensington slot for security lock.

Right side of the notebook (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Right side of the notebook (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

The left side houses an Ethernet connection, an HDMI port, a conventional USB 3.1 port, a USB-C port and the connection for headphones / microphone.

Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.1 complement the connectivity aspect. Note that, in this regard, the Samsung Book has a sufficient variety of ports to suit most users.

Perhaps you missed a ventilation outlet. There are two: one at the bottom of the device, one at the display hinge area. For the record, the notebook doesn’t get too hot, even when running heavy software, and it’s silent.

The Samsung Book has a good set of ports (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

The Samsung Book has a good set of ports (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Screen, audio and webcam

The Brazilian market is full of notebooks with TN LCD screens. Yes, it is the case here. Panels of this type are cheaper, on the other hand, they are not good with varied viewing angles.

If you’re watching a movie full screen, for example, you’ll probably have to adjust the component’s aperture to avoid a color-distorting position. At least it’s possible to alleviate this problem a little bit by activating the HDR+ option in the Samsung Settings app.

Samsung Book Screen (Image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Samsung Book Screen (Image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Despite these limitations, the screen has some good points. It starts with the resolution, which is full HD (1920×1080 pixels), a relief if we take into account that this notebook has a 15.6-inch display — in Brazil, many models in this category have only HD panel.

I also like the fact that the screen has decent color saturation and a brightness level that comes close to that of many IPS panels out there.

Overall, this is a good screen. Good, not great. On the other hand, the speakers are not impressive at all. There are two, both placed on the bottom of the notebook. The maximum volume is not the loudest and often the audio sounds muffled. Use headphones to be happy here.

One of the laptop's audio outputs (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

One of the laptop’s audio outputs (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Another basic item is the webcam. The component has VGA resolution and can only break a branch in meetings via Zoom, for example. Don’t expect images rich in detail from broadcasts.

keyboard and touchpad

Large notebooks have an advantage: they have enough space to include number keys next to the conventional keyboard. The Samsung Book’s numeric keypad is a little expressed on the right there and has smaller buttons, even so, it can be of great help for those who work a lot with Excel, for example.

Samsung Book Numeric Keypad (Image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Samsung Book Numeric Keypad (Image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Except for the arrow keys, the conventional keyboard is wide, a detail that should provide comfort for those with big hands. On the other hand, the clicking of the keys felt a little soft. It’s nothing to get in the way of typing, but for those who are used to firmer keyboards, the awkwardness is immediate.

What really bothers me, at least in my case, is the lack of LED backlighting on the keyboard. As this isn’t a cheap laptop, Samsung wouldn’t be doing you any favors by including this feature here.

Samsung Book keyboard is large, but has no backlight (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Samsung Book keyboard is large, but has no backlight (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Glad the touchpad doesn’t disappoint. The component is large, has a firm click but doesn’t sink too far, and responds very well to commands, even for use with Windows gestures.

At least the touchpad doesn't disappoint (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

At least the touchpad doesn’t disappoint (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Performance, battery and software

The Samsung Book line has versions with chips ranging from Celeron to Core i7. As you already know, the unit tested by Techblog it features the Core i5-1135G7, an 11th generation Intel processor.

I wouldn’t say these chips are much faster than the previous generation, but it’s noticeable that the Core i5 placed here is a competent processor.

It ran all tested apps with aplomb, including Chrome with about 10 tabs open, Photoshop, Google Earth and Netflix in full screen. In Geekbench 5.4, the notebook scored 5,715 points, not a bad number.

The Iris Xe that complements the processor isn’t a gaming GPU, obviously, but it ran Asphalt 9: Legends in a satisfactory way, for example. With the graphic settings set to a high level, the game had some inconsistencies, but at the medium level, I hardly noticed any drop in frame rate.

Cover for storage expansion (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Cover for storage expansion (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

The Samsung Book shown here comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, but these features can be expanded relatively easily: the laptop has two lids on the bottom that give access to the RAM slots and compartment for adding one. SSD or SATA HD.

It is difficult to remove the caps with just your fingers. You will probably have to use a tool for this. Still, these upgrade accesses are a plus for this notebook.

How is the drums in this whole story? The component has 43 Wh and can handle up to 10 hours of video playback, according to Samsung. But it’s worth evaluating the component with more activities, right?

Well, I did the autonomy test running a 2h15min video on Netflix with maximum screen brightness, browsing in Chrome for an hour, Spotify via speakers and screen on for half an hour and text editing in Word also for 30 minutes.

This test was done without any configuration that reduces performance. The tasks caused the battery charge to drop from 100% to 16%. The battery life can be estimated at between five and six hours with moderate use, an estimate that is not bad for a laptop in this category.

The recharge time from 15% to 100% with the notebook turned off was 2h15min.

Samsung Settings (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Samsung Settings (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

It is worth mentioning that the equipment comes with Windows 10 Home and a handful of software from Samsung itself, such as Note, Gallery, PC Cleaner and Recorder Plus (for recording classes and online meetings). The Samsung DeX is also present to allow you to connect a Galaxy phone to the laptop.

The most important software is Samsung Settings. With it, you can quickly configure screen, audio and other component parameters.

Oh yes: there is an antivirus trial here. You will take a moment to remove this.

Samsung Book with Core i5: is it worth it?

With the new Samsung Book line, the manufacturer tries to face the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 and Acer Aspire notebooks, for example, which are very popular in Brazil. It can be said that, at least the model tested here, can fulfill this function.

The device brings a varied set of ports, has a full HD screen — although the LCD panel is not the best — comes with a large touchpad, has a decent battery life and the hardware offers very convincing performance, not to mention that it is possible to expand RAM and storage with little effort.

Notebook Samsung Book (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Notebook Samsung Book (image: Emerson Alecrim/Tecnoblog)

Okay, we didn’t find any advanced or complementary features here. LED backlighting on the keyboard, fingerprint reader and fast battery recharging, for example, remain features of more expensive Samsung models.

We have to take into account, on the other hand, that the Samsung Book line is aimed at those looking for an intermediate option for work or study and, therefore, does not require sophistication.

If this is your case, the version analyzed by Techblog (recalling, NP550XDA-KF2BR) may be worth it, yes. On the Samsung website, it has an official price of R$ 5,099, but it could be purchased for R$ 4,139 on the date of publication of this review.

I know, it’s still a high value for this setting. But everything that is a new notebook is at an exorbitant price in Brazil, therefore, in Brazilian territory, there is not much to do about it, except to look for some promotion or discount.

Samsung Book (11th generation Core i5)

pros

  • Good variety of connections
  • Easy RAM and Storage Expansion
  • Wide and very responsive touchpad
  • Consistent overall performance

cons

  • Where is the LED backlight?
  • TN screen yet?
  • Weak webcam
  • Audio too basic

Technical specifications

  • Screen: TN LCD, 15.6 inches, full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels)
  • Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 with Intel Iris Xe GPU
  • RAM: 8GB of DDR4 (expandable to 32GB)
  • Storage: 256 GB NVMe SSD (with SSD or SATA HD slot)
  • Drums: 43 Wh
  • Connectivity: USB-A (2), USB-C (1), Ethernet (1), HDMI (1), headphones and microphone, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Operational system: Windows 10 Home
  • Others: VGA webcam, microSD reader, speakers (2), Kensington lock slot
  • dimensions: 35.9 x 24.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Weight: 1.8 kg

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