Device makers have been shaving off extra millimetres here and there for years, so it’s easy to get jaded about the appearance of a new super slim laptop. With Samsung’s new Galaxy Book Pro laptops, that ultra-thin package doesn’t quite convey how compelling these machines are.
Samsung’s new clamshell Galaxy Book Pro and 2-in-1 Galaxy Book Pro 360 make use of every last sliver of space. The 13-inch Galaxy Book Pro weighs just 1 kg and measures 0.44 inches thick. And while Samsung’s 15-inch variants are slightly bigger, with the largest system (the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360) coming in at 0.46 inches and 1 kg, none of them ever get anywhere close to being heavy or cumbersome.
Prior to launching these laptops, Samsung had been teasing its new Galaxy Book Pros as the most powerful Galaxy devices yet, which honestly is bit misleading and almost a disservice to the laptops themselves, because the real magic of these systems is combining this level of thinness with good specs, strong build quality, and excellent portability.
Every model comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, Intel Xe graphics, at least 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of SSD storage (or 1TB on select models), support for Wi-Fi 6E, and built-in fingerprint readers. And for such thin systems, their port selection is also quite good, with all models getting at least one Thunderbolt 4 port, two additional USB 3.2 ports, microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, and even a full-size HDMI port on the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro.
And in addition to a premium all-aluminium chassis, the standard Galaxy Book Pro features a gorgeous non-touch AMOLED display that pumps out rich, saturated colours, while the Galaxy Book Pro 360 gets an even nicer Super AMOLED touchscreen with built-in stylus support and one of Samsung’s S-Pens in the box. Sadly, there’s no slot to store the Galaxy Book Pro 360’s S-Pen, though you can attach the stylus magnetically to the lid of the laptop when not in use, which at the very least is a thoughtful touch.
Samsung has also included its usual assortment of S-Pen apps like Live Message Smart Select, and others. But even though I haven’t had a chance to test them out fully just yet, perhaps my favourite thing about new Galaxy Book Pros is all the software Samsung added in to help its laptops better communicate and collaborate with other devices.
First, there’s Quick Share for easily sending content to other Samsung Galaxy gadgets, while the Link to Windows and Microsoft’s Your Phone apps help make transferring URLs, files, and more between the laptop and your smartphone as easy as dragging and dropping. And, for the first time ever, Samsung has created a Windows version of its Smart Switch app, so you can more easily move data and apps from your old laptop to a new Galaxy Book Pro.
Click through for more high-res photos of the new Galaxy Book Pro line.
Bbetween all of Samsung and Microsoft’s various included apps, the Galaxy Book Pro might deliver the most cohesive joint PC/phone experience outside of Apple’s macOS/iOS walled garden. In fact, Samsung is also making it possible to sync sketches and drawings made in the Samsung Notes app across all your compatible devices, regardless of whether they’re running Android or Windows.
And like so many modern productivity machines, Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pros also come with an intelligent noise cancellation feature to help you sound good during video calls, and a Studio Mode to help prevent poor lighting from impacting your video quality.
I only got to test them out for a short time, but despite having relatively shallow key travel of just 1mm, Samsung still managed to make typing on the Galaxy Book Pros feel crisp and bouncy in a way that defies the laptop’s super slim dimensions, which a lot more than Apple’s old butterfly switches could do.
So far, I only have a couple complaints, and they are relatively minor. The first is that webcams on the Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 are just 720p, which feels a bit low-res on an otherwise premium PC. The other is that while the new Galaxy Book Pros are part of Intel’s Evo platform, there aren’t any AMD-based configs, which is a bit disappointing, especially for anyone hoping for a slightly higher tier of performance.
But critically, even when compared to our current favourite ultraportable laptops like the Dell XPS 13, Samsung has managed to make an even thinner line of clamshell and 2-in-1 laptops that still have their own style and a number of features you don’t often get on other Windows notebooks. And with prices for the 13-inch Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 starting at just $US1,000 ($1,288) and $US1,100 ($1,416) respectively (or $US1,100 ($1,416) and $US1,300 ($1,674) for the 15-inch models), Samsung’s new flagship notebooks look like pretty good deals too.
All four Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 models are available for preorder today in select regions, with official retail sales slated to begin on May 14.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.