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Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha 1 Review (Computer First, Tablet second)

Hello, this is TheTechBoy with a review of the Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha review. 

This is our first laptop review and the review is being typed on the (refurbished) laptop. The laptop ran Windows 10 out of the box and was upgraded to Windows 11.


Overview:

    The Samsung Flex α is a 13.3-inch convertible (2 in 1) laptop. The laptop features an Intel Core i7 10th gen chip and 12 GB of RAM. It has a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint scanner. On the left side of the laptop, it features a charging port, an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. On the right, there are two USB-A ports, a Micro-SD card slot, and a power button. This model features a 512 GB SSD. 


Day to Day Use:

    This laptop is great for typical day-to-day use and can handle plenty of Chrome tabs. Most of the blogging work and research is done in the browser, and I can have more than 20-30 tabs across three different Chrome profiles and sometimes a few tabs open in Edge and the laptop rarely stutters. The device can also handle programs such as Krita and WSL. (Windows Subsystem on Linux) 

     The keyboard is backlit and can be turned off and put at 30%, 60%, and 100% brightness. The keyboard is not the best keyboard in the world but is not bad. The keys felt fine and felt like they required enough force to type on. To use the function keys, you must hold down FN and touch the keys. All the keys are full size except the right Shift key because the fingerprint scanner is there. The keys did not stick much, but while using it the "f" key did get stuck and required less force to press it. The keys were pretty silent, registering between 35 to 55 dB, with the "space" key being the loudest. My typing speed on typing.com was 39 WPM with 97% accuracy which is typical for me, according to typing.com data from a different laptop. (I did worse on other websites) 

    The microphone was broken once (probably because of Windows Insider) but after a reinstall, it worked perfectly. The fingerprint scanner is amazing and pretty accurate. It works well on dry fingers and gives you three attempts to log in until you have to put in a PIN. The scanner does not work well with wet fingers, or fingers that have touched food though. The touchpad gestures are a little finicky, with the touchpad sometimes reading your palm as a 3 finger swipe, this can be easily fixed by changing your touchpad gestures in the windows Setting application. The laptop stutters sometimes, and freezes, but barring this the performance is great. The camera is atrocious, and you should buy an external webcam. In short, this is a great day-to-day laptop for people who want to do basic computing tasks, and high-school and college students. 
The Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha  showing the keyboard with the fingerprint scannerand and on the left side, it is showing  showing the charging port, HDMI Port, the USB-C Port, and the headphone jack.
Image Credit: Samsung Newsroom



Power Users

    For power users, this is a decent laptop, with 12 GB of RAM and a Core i7 processor. It can successfully handle a virtual machine and maybe two if you do not have many tabs open. Art programs such as Krita do not lag much but sometimes there is some visible lag. The OLED screen is also bright and could cause eyestrain, but this can easily be fixed by turning on the nightlight feature. The laptop feature an outdoor mode that is extremely bright but has yet to be tested outdoors. The laptop does stutter when there are lots of tabs open, and the computer sometimes fails to close a program even when the task manager is tries to close the program. The fans do come on a bit but you may turn them off in Samsung Settings. 

"Silent mode  Reduces the fan noise so that users can use the computer without hearing a noise. In Silent mode, the system runs in Power saving mode. If the system restarts or signs out, Silent mode is automatically turned off." The toggle Off




    Battery life seems fine with the laptop only losing four percent of battery life while playing a YouTube video in the background while doing Duolingo for 15 minutes. The unit did lose around 30% when writing this article on battery power though. The settings seem to indicate that this PC can survive for 5 hr without a charger. The battery is in 'max power mode' and would have probably done better in power saving mode.  

    According to the UserBenchmark, this device gets a 68% Battle Cruiser score for desktop tasks. The device took 22 minutes (rounded) to encode a 12-minute 4k movie in HandBrake 1.5. This is comparable to a Surface Laptop 3's time in the same test that was done in Handbrake 1.4 (PC MAG). Sometimes the touchpad does not register with an input box when there are plenty of tabs open. When the fans come on they are around the 50 dB (decibel) range, but the sound is muffled when the laptop is on a surface, so it equates to the 30 dB range. For our Virtual Machine test, I put a 4GB Ram Windows 10 Pro virtual machine in Oracle Virtual Box, and the VM was pretty laggy, but not unusable. After I gave the VM more RAM, it was still sluggish, indicating it may just be a VM program problem. I am waiting to use Vmware will allow me to use the non-commercial version for free. 

    
    
Build Quality

    The laptop is pretty sturdy on the sides, but if you press down on the top of the laptop, or lift it up you make hear a slight creaking sound. The hinges appear sturdy, and the keyboard does not bend or creak. The laptop appears to be made of metal, with a plastic underbody. The laptop appears to be of good quality and it works well. 

Special Features

    Samsung and Microsoft have included their own set of special software that is pretty useful. The laptop comes preloaded with Amazon, which is basically a web application of the online store, and Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa. 

    Samsung installed a special setting application aptly called Samsung Settings. Samsung Settings can turn the fan on or off and change the screen options. Samsung also has a very useful application called Samsung Security. Samsung Security can lock a folder but sometimes you can access the folder even when it is locked. Samsung also includes DEX, Samsung Notes, and Samsung Gallery. The Samsung Video editor is pretty good for amateur use, but you cannot cut a video file into a clip shorter than one second. Samsung Flow connects your phone to your PC. Samsung also has Samsung Update, which is a driver updating program. Samsung PC Cleaner monitors the health of your PC and includes a backup service.  Samsung also included a Bookings.com web application. This laptop also comes preinstalled with trial versions of McAfee antivirus and Office. 

Tablet Mode

    The laptop does offer a tablet mode that is okay at best. The laptop is heavy to hold in one hand and a bit too wide to hold as a productivity tablet in landscape mode. Portrait mode is decent but sometimes the laptop accelerometer gets messed up sometimes. External accessories can be added to the PC when in tablet mode, and with a keyboard and mouse, the laptop could turn into a Desktop PC. Also by installing Start 11 and putting it into Windows 10 mode you can get static tiles. Tablet mode is also more geared to consumption because the external keyboard can hide some of the text. A remedy to this is making the screen smaller to give the keyboard space. The touch animations are not as fluid as I would like them to be, and it is clear that touch is only for content consumption, sharing, and digital art. 
Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha  in tent mode where the screen is standing up on its own kind of like a tablet. Ii tis showig the two USB ports and the MicroSD card slot.
Image Credit: Samsung Newsroom




    The 2 in 1 touchscreen does provide value to the laptop because it is is still good for presentations, movie watching, and when paired with an external stylus, digital art. The laptop does not support an S-Pen, but you may buy a separate stylus for the device. This still offers more functionality than a MacBook Air though. 


                

Comparison 

    This 2020 laptop offers some decent features for a good price when compared to a Mac Air Retina 2020. Both laptops have the same screen size, Samsung offer features 8 or 12 GB of RAM while Apple offers 8 or 16 GB of RAM. Apple has more storage options, but Samsung offers a larger selection of ports including USB-A and an HDIM port.  Samsung also offers the functionality of a tablet in their offering. However, Apple's option may not stutter as much.  Other competitors to the laptop may include the Surface Laptop 3. 

Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha looking like a tablet with the screen folded all the way back. It is showing a blue and yellow wallpaper.
Image Credit: Samsung Newsroom
A MacBook with the screen partially dowm alowing the screen to reflect on the keyboard.
Image Credit: Martin Katler
  

    Verdict

    This is a great laptop that can handle basic tasks and possibly take on complex tasks. This laptop can handle light Krita use, and possible light Photo and Video Editing.  It could possibly handle one Windows Virtual Machine but can probably handle more GNU/Linux VMs just fine. It seems like it is a good traveling laptop as it is thin and light. The fingerprint scanner is a nice addition and works even when the laptop is in tablet mode. Because the laptop is a convertible, I would have liked to see the scanner on the side of the laptop. The laptop also supports charging devices via USB-C but does not charge via USB-C. 

    If you are looking for a more "Pro" laptop the Galaxy book Pro 30 is a good choice because it maxes out at 16 GB of RAM instead of 12 GB of RAM, has 5G support, and it features an S-Pen. Unfortunately, you lose out on HDIM and USB-A ports, but it thankfully retains the MicroSD card slot. Apple fans should look at the iPad Pro or the New Mac Air for options. 

    Those looking for better tablet functionality should probably wait for the Samsung Tab S8 or get a Surface Tablet. This laptop has been succeeded by the Flex Alpha 2 and maybe a better deal because you may still be able to find them new. If you find the 12/512 GB version under 550 dollars it is a good deal. In short, this is a great all-around laptop. Tech Talk To You Later!!

How Do We Test Laptops?

    This was our first laptop review, and the review process may look similar to other websites. For example, we did the encoding test that PC Mag does, but had to do different benchmarks because the commercial versions cost money. We used an application to test the decibel (dB) rating of the keyboard sounds, and basically just used the laptop. This is my personal laptop, so If I find something new or interesting, I may put it here. Tech Talk To You Later!!   



FAQ?

Can the Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha charge via USB-C? NO

Does the Samsung Galaxy Flex Alpha have USB-A? YES, IT ALSO HAS HDMI

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