Galaxy Book 3 First Look: Samsung’s Pro Laptops Are Leveling Up
At Samsung’s Unpacked event on Wednesday, the electronics giant announced the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra laptop alongside its latest Galaxy S23 flagship phones.
Like Samsung’s top Galaxy Ultra phones and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra tablet, the Ultra laptop will have the best performance, a ton of features, and a killer display. But like other Ultra devices, the Ultra laptop can be more computer than you need. Samsung also has the Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360, which are a step below the Ultra in terms of performance, but have a lot of features in common, as well as their own additional extras.
Galaxy Book 3 Ultra (pictured) and Pro models can use Galaxy Tab tablets as a wireless secondary display.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is the star, though, and thankfully it fixes two things I didn’t like about the excellent Galaxy Book 2 Pro models. One problem was their displays. Although they had great AMOLED panels, they were 16:9, 1080p widescreen; most high-end laptops use high resolution 16:10 panels which give you more vertical space. The 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Ultra drops at 4:10 p.m. It’s also an AMOLED panel, so you’ll get amazing color and contrast. Plus, it has a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother video; its resolution is 2880 x 1800 pixels.
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The second issue I had with the Book 2 Pro was that Samsung didn’t offer any option for discrete graphics and frankly if you call something “Pro” you should be offering something stronger than integrated graphics. That doesn’t change with the Book 3 Pro models, but the Ultra will have either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4070 graphics chip and they’ll be paired with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 or i9 processor, respectively, giving the Ultra performance laptop computer.
These components drive the price up considerably, with the Core i7 and RTX 4050 configuration starting at $2,400 and the Core i9 and RTX 4070 pairing at $3,000. (Prices and availability have not been announced for the UK or Australia, but the entry price converts to £1,950 and AU$3,400.) You get plenty of other great features for these prices, such as a 1080p webcam, quad-speaker audio system, fingerprint reader on the power button, and a larger 76-watt-hour battery. The Ultra also has more ports than the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, with a USB-A port and HDMI 2.0 output joining its two Thunderbolt USB-C ports, microSD card slot and headphone jack.
The good news is that almost all of these things carry over to the Pro models, with the big exceptions being the Core i9 processor and discrete graphics. The good thing about it is that the 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro laptop is 4 millimeters thinner and it’s about half a pound lighter than the 16.5mm-thick, 4-pound Ultra. (1.8 kilograms). The Galaxy Book 3 Pro will also come in a 14-inch size that weighs just 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms).
The Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 two-in-one (pictured) and the Pro laptop are identical except for the hinges.
There’s also a 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 two-in-one, which is big for a two-in-one, but since it comes with one of Samsung’s excellent S Pens, you’ll get plenty space to draw or take notes, and it will make a nice digital whiteboard for meetings. And again, all of the features like the Ultra’s high-res webcam, assortment of ports, and quad speakers are there too. It’s also the only model to offer optional 5G wireless.
Plus, just like previous Galaxy Books, the new Ultra and Pro laptops are designed to work with other Galaxy devices. Things like sending files between your phone and laptop are easy. For example, you can start working on a file on your Galaxy phone and finish on the Galaxy Book. Or you can use a Galaxy Tab S8 as a wireless external display to extend the laptop screen. Your Galaxy Buds can also automatically switch between devices. This extra layer of interoperability is something Apple does well with its iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, and Samsung is catching up fast with help from Intel and Microsoft. These laptops also benefit from enterprise-grade security, as they meet Microsoft’s requirements for a secure PC.
There is one thing that Samsung has kept like previous generations and that is the overall look. They’re nice and clean, if a bit dull, especially compared to Samsung’s phones, which come in multiple colors – these are graphite or beige. The build quality is improved though. They are sturdier, stiffer and stronger which is definitely a plus even if they are a bit heavier because of it.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and Pro and Pro 360 laptops are available for pre-order now on Samsung’s site and the Pro models are expected to start shipping on February 17.