The Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G is a lightweight, low-cost laptop that runs on a Qualcomm chip rather than an Intel processor and supports 4G connectivity.
That sounds great on paper, but in practice, this laptop is painfully slow, with Windows refusing to cooperate with Qualcomm’s Arm architecture. As a result, the laptop is difficult to recommend and outperforms most Chromebooks at the same price.
Design and build
While I have some issues with the Galaxy Book Go’s performance, I can’t fault its design.
For the price, this is a pretty sleek and attractive laptop that is only available in silver. Samsung has kept it slim (just 14.9mm thick) and light (only 1.38kg), which is impressive given that it has a fairly large 14in display.
It’s partly light because the body is made of plastic, which is unavoidable at this price. That gives the laptop a cheap feel, but it’s cheap. So you really can’t complain too much about that.
Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G: Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2
- 14in FHD LED Display (1920 x 1080), Anti-Glare
- 4GB LPDDR4x Memory
- 128GB storage
- Stereo Speakers ( 1.5 W x 2 )
- Internal Digital Mic
- 720p HD Camera
- Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 5
- 4G LTE
- 2x USB Type-C
- 1x USB 2.0
- MicroSD Multi-media Card Reader
- 1 Headphone out/Mic-in Combo
- Nano Security Slot
- 42.3Wh battery
- 25W USB-C charger included
- 324 x 225 x 15mm
- 1.38kg (3.04lbs)
- Windows 10/11 Home
Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G: Display and audio
The 14-inch display here is large for a laptop at this price point, but it has some drawbacks. It’s Full HD, with a 1920 x 1080, so at least Samsung hasn’t cut corners here, as we’ve seen in other low-cost laptops.
Unfortunately, it’s not a great screen in any other way. Using a SpyderX to test the screen’s performance, I discovered that it was limited to a maximum brightness of only 225 nits – roughly half of what the best laptop screens manage, but still better than a few other low-cost options.
It also has a limited color range, only covering 62% of the sRGB gamut. This means it cannot display a full range of colors, resulting in poor image quality. It’s adequate for basic office tasks, but movies and photos simply won’t look their best on this screen, which is exacerbated by limited viewing angles, which means the display suffers when not viewed directly.
It’s also unfortunate that there isn’t a touchscreen option. That’s not out of the ordinary for the price, but it would have helped compensate for some of the laptop’s other flaws.
The laptop includes stereo speakers, but they are disappointingly weak and tinny. They’ll suffice if you’re on a video call or watching something on YouTube, but you’ll want to connect your headphones for music or even Netflix.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad are standard for a budget computer, so there’s not much to say about them.
The keyboard is quite large, reaching almost all the way to the device’s sides, though it’s a shame that Samsung achieved this mostly by spacing the keys out rather than making the individual keycaps larger.
The keyboard feels a little soft and mushy when typing, which isn’t helped by the relatively short key travel, but it’s responsive enough and gets the job done. Read Also; Google Pixelbook i7 Review
A power button is also located above the keyboard, but unlike many modern laptops, there is no built-in fingerprint sensor. Because the 720p webcam does not support Windows Hello, there is no biometric login option here – you must enter a password or PIN every time.
The trackpad is also standard. It’s big, which is nice, but it’s made of plastic, which is understandable. That makes it feel sluggish and adds friction as you drag your finger across it, but you won’t find anything better without spending a lot more.
Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G: Performance
Here’s the catch. So far, the Galaxy Book Go appears to be adequate – a little rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected from a laptop that costs less than £500/$500. The issue is entire with performance. A growing number of Windows on Snapdragon laptops use Qualcomm chips rather than Intel or AMD.
Qualcomm is most well-known for its Snapdragon smartphone chips, which power an enormous number of Android phones and tablets yearly. It now also manufactures laptop components based on the same Arm architecture that Apple has used with great success in its own in-house MacBook processors.
The Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chip, the latest version of Qualcomm’s lower-tier laptop chip, powers the Galaxy Book Go. It’s sluggish, almost to the point of being unusable, with basic tasks and apps hanging and freezing. Sometimes, even running a single Chrome tab proved too much for this laptop. Read More; Google Pixelbook i7: The Best Chromebook
Samsung Galaxy Book Go benchmarks
Note: Our usual 3DMark Skydiver test has been discontinued, so we don’t have all comparisons for the new Night Raid test.
Battery and charging
Despite its flaws, Qualcomm’s 7c Gen 2 has one major advantage: battery life. In our testing, the Galaxy Book Go lasted more than 15 hours of continuous video playback – not the highest score we’ve ever recorded, but significantly better than most budget competitors.
It’s a similar story in regular use, where you’ll only need to charge this laptop once every few days. The disadvantage is that charging is slow. The laptop comes with a 25W USB-C charger, but it only charged the laptop by 6% in half an hour. That means you’ll need to start charging it overnight, as a quick plug-in won’t get you very far.
Another key strength is connectivity. For starters, despite the slim design, Samsung has included several ports. Each side has a USB-C port for charging and data (one of which also handles video output), a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and even a Kensington Nano lock slot.
Importantly, there is a SIM card tray, as this, like all Qualcomm laptops, supports 4G LTE. You’ll need an extra SIM card – you can’t use your phone’s data plan – but if you don’t mind the ongoing expense, it’s incredibly convenient to access data even when there’s no good Wi-Fi nearby.
You may have also seen a Galaxy Book Go 5G floating around – keep in mind that these are two separate laptops. That model, in addition to 5G, includes a more powerful processor and some other spec upgrades, thus commanding a much higher price. This model is 4G-only, so it won’t handle as fast connections – but there’s still not much to complain about.
Of course, there’s Wi-Fi (though not the latest Wi-Fi 6 or 6E standards) and Bluetooth 5.1 to connect headphones or other accessories.
Price and availability
It’s probably a much more appealing option in the US, where the price is low enough to overlook the performance issues – though I’d still be hesitant.
However, in the UK and Europe, the price feels like daylight robbery for what you get. The performance is simply insufficient, and rival laptops – both Windows and Chromebooks – easily outperform the Galaxy Book Go. Read; Difference Between HP Envy vs HP Pavilion
Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Book Go has an appealing design, plenty of ports, and perks like excellent battery life and 4G connectivity, but its performance issues overshadow everything else.
When a laptop is this slow and frustrating for basic, everyday tasks, all the ports in the world don’t matter, and even at a relatively low price, this is a false economy.