Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra hands-on: a shot at the MacBook Pro

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra hands-on: a shot at the MacBook Pro

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Book3 Ultra, a 16-inch workstation laptop with a 120Hz OLED display, an H-series Core i7 or Core i9, and an RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU.

Samsung makes a number of Galaxy Book models, but it’s the first in recent years that’s really targeted at the deep-pocketed business user – that is, the target audience for the powerful and extremely powerful MacBook Pro 16. expensive from Apple. will start at $2,399.99 ($100 cheaper than the base MacBook Pro 16), with a release date yet to be announced.

Like its siblings in the Galaxy Book3 range, a big draw of this workstation will be its display. It’s got a 2880 x 1800 120Hz 16:10 OLED display (a welcome change from the 16:9 panels that graced last year’s Galaxy Book2) rated for 400 nits of brightness, and it looked pretty good in the Samsung demo area. I watched various videos on YouTube and the colors looked unusually bright and vibrant. There was quite a bit of glare (it was a bright room), but I still didn’t feel like I needed to turn up the brightness of the panel to get a good experience.

Elsewhere, using the device was quite similar to using a number of other Samsung Galaxy Books, with a satisfying clicky keyboard, smooth finish, high-quality build and compact chassis. The Ultra is 0.65 inches thick and 3.9 pounds, which is slightly thinner and almost a pound lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro that Apple just released – and all things being equal by elsewhere (which, of course, it isn’t), I’d much rather have Samsung’s device in my backpack.

I was able to use a number of Samsung’s Continuity features, including Second Screen (which lets you easily use a Galaxy Tab as a second monitor) and Quick Share (which lets you quickly transfer images and other files between Samsung devices). For Samsung enthusiasts, these seem like handy features that aren’t too complicated to set up.

The only feature I had trouble with was the touchpad – it registered some of my two-finger clicks as single-finger clicks and didn’t quite pick up all my scrolls. Samsung’s demo area units were pre-production devices, so hopefully this is something Samsung can fix before the final release.

It’s a nice cover, but there were already some stains on the chassis.

The Book3 Ultra is priced quite similar to a MacBook Pro; the base Book3 is $100 cheaper than the base MacBook Pro 16 with the same RAM and storage. Potentially, I can see this insert as a slightly cheaper alternative option for professionals with graphics-heavy workloads who are looking for something a little more portable than a MacBook.

Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how this will fare when it comes to battery life. The M2 generation of MacBooks are very strong on this front – and given that the Galaxy Book3 Ultra runs a high-resolution display, a power-hungry H-series processor, and a very power-hungry RTX GPU, I’m a little bit nervous about it. If Samsung can pull off a device that lasts nearly as long as Apple’s, given these factors, hats off to them.

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