Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha hands-on: Cheaper, with few sacrifices

The slightly cheaper member of the premium laptop family is still as elegant.

Samsung has really impressed me with its laptop game lately, delivering super thin and premium machines like the Galaxy Book Flex and Ion, as well as the Snapdragon-powered Book S. But those devices cost upwards of $999, which cuts the budget-conscious user out of Samsung's reach. For those who would like something just a little cheaper, though, the company announced a new Galaxy Book last week called the Flex Alpha. That rings in at $830, compared to the roughly $1,100 that the Flex and Ion are expected to cost.

I was concerned that to drop the few hundred dollars, Samsung would have had to sacrifice build quality and deliver a machine that felt cheaper. But once I picked up the Flex Alpha here at CES 2020, I was relieved. The laptop is just as premium to the touch as its costlier siblings, with a similarly sturdy, thin and light frame. It has the same sumptuous QLED screen, running at full HD, and can also hit an impressive 600 nits of brightness in a "Outdoor Mode" you can activate when needed. Thanks to the energy-saving benefits of QLEDs, the Flex Alpha should offer plenty of battery life, though it has a smaller 54Whr battery compared to the 69.7Whr cells in the more-expensive pair.

The 2.6-pound Flex Alpha isn't the slimmest or lightest laptop around, but it certainly seems like one of the most attractive for its price. I'm glad Samsung didn't have to sacrifice too much -- you'll still get the same fingerprint sensor on the keyboard for convenient logins, as well as two USB-A 3.0 sockets, one USB C port, a microSD card reader, an HDMI slot and a headphone jack.

The main tradeoffs Samsung had to make here in addition to the smaller battery, were limiting the graphics card and storage choices. You'll only get integrated Intel UHD graphics, instead of having the option to upgrade to more powerful Iris Pro or NVIDIA MX 250 cards. Still, you can get the Flex Alpha with tenth-generation Intel Core processors, which is reasonable for the price.

The new laptop will be available by the first half of the year, so if you've been looking for a stylish QLED laptop under $900, this might be worth your time.