Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 Hands-On: MacBook Air Killer? (video)
While the new normal we’ve been dealing with has made common interaction challenging, we can’t deny how much technology has helped bridge the gap. Companies like Samsung are claiming an unprecedented 40% growth when compared to last year, so it makes sense for any manufacturer to double down on this success and take their products a step further. Or maybe a couple of steps actually.
I’m sure you saw the teaser where the company calls out its most powerful Galaxy ever, but if you were thinking of a phone or tablet, well, think bigger.
Meet the new Galaxy Book Pro, and Galaxy Book Pro 360, the company’s latest and greatest laptops, with one of these being more of a successor to one of my favorite products of 2020. Big thanks to Samsung for figuring out how to give us a private hands-on with the laptops and tell us more about them.
Guys, quick disclaimer, we were only allowed an hour in this private venue so keep a lookout for our full review coming soon to tell you more about impressions, and our experience using them. This video is more to tell you what they are, and what makes them special. If anything I can tell you that if you’re currently shopping for a laptop, you might want to wait for these to launch because at least on paper, they’re pretty hot.
Samsung claimed four core values that drive these products:
- Ultra-Portable Design;
- Incredible displays;
- Next-level performance and battery life;
- Next-generation connectivity.
Let’s start in that order. I mean, usually, LG takes the cake for light computers with their Gram lineup, but that might be about to change. Both variants come in two sizes, with the lightest 13-inch model being just around 2.3 pounds and the heaviest 15-inch model weighing 3 pounds.
For context, the smaller variant is way lighter than a MacBook Air, but then the heaviest 15-inch model is lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Yes, I said 13, not even 16. Samsung is calling these the world’s slimmest and lightest among high-performance laptops, and it shows.
But wait, there’s more. They’re all MIL-Spec 810G certified against dust, humidity, temperature and pressure extremes, drops, and most things you think twice of before giving a kid your computer.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean all extremes, but it’s good peace of mind. All models are made of 6000 series aluminum and come in color options that include Mystic Navy, Mystic Silver, or Mystic Bronze, though it all varies based on the model and region.
Attention to detail even extends to even the charger which now uses Gallium Nitride to shrink its size to more of a phone charger footprint and provide 65-watt fast charging through USB-C.
As for differences, the Pro is more for those looking for all kinds of ports, from USB-C, to Thunderbolt 4, to HDMI, microSD expansion, and even USB-A. The Pro 360 sticks to a smaller, denser footprint with USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, and microSD expansion.
They both include full-size keyboards that are pretty responsive and quiet, but if you care about a numeric keypad, grab any of the 15-inch models. Also, think of the Galaxy Book Pro as an ultra-thin clamshell without a touch screen, while the Pro 360 is more of a convertible with a touch screen that includes a 360-degree hinge.
As such, and following on what I loved most about the Book Flex last year, we have S Pen support. There’s no silo since, cause I mean, they’re just too thin for it to fit, but also because Samsung chose to make it thicker and larger for improved ergonomics.
What isn’t different is the claim of Incredible displays. Each Machine brings a gorgeous Full-HD AMOLED panel with support for the P3 color gamut, a crazy 1 million to 1 contrast ratio, which is not common in laptops, less blue light emissions, and each offer modes to maximize settings based on what you’re doing, and sound tuned by AKG that supports Dolby ATMOS.
Performance and battery
As for performance, we have Intel’s latest 11th generation chips, matched by Intel XE Graphics. I won’t bore you with specifics on why these chips are dramatically better than before in performance, graphics, and endurance. I’ll just link to my buddy David Cogen who provides a complete deep dive on why this is great for an ultra-portable.
There’s even an Intelligent Performance Manager included in the software to help the machine adapt to your workloads. Other specs include up to 16 gigs of RAM and 1TB of storage depending on the model. Samsung also claims that these are all-day machines, with up to 8 hours of endurance in just 30 minutes of a charge through that new charger by the way.
As for connectivity, yes you do get the latest Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.1, but the major deal is that this is Samsung’s first set of laptops that support 5G. You’ll have to pick your variant wisely though, where on the Pro 360 13-inch that’s optional, and the regular Pro is LTE.
And then there’s the software, which these machines are full of. You have options for Windows 10 Home or Pro, but then a crazy amount of Samsung apps to fit into their ecosystem.
As I expressed in my Book Flex review, this software suite is the best way to take advantage of a Galaxy phone or tablet if you own one. But then Samsung also built in some extra ticks for the new normal like intelligent noise-canceling for video conferencing, and a Privacy key to lock everything off in case you wanna make sure the mic and camera are off.
You know how the lack of this can have things go all wrong. There are Privacy folder options, Privacy screen options, and you can even use the webcam as a security camera in case anyone tried to access your computer.
You can even track your devices using any of these computers as a Smart Things Find dashboard, again making the ecosystem more valuable for current Galaxy owners. If you’re a fan of the Galaxy Note, think of the Pro 360 as the larger canvas you wanted, with the same software benefits. We’ll go more into those details when we get a chance to review the machines.
For now, yes, this is what Samsung meant with its most powerful Galaxy. The Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 begin pre-orders today (and here for the 360), April 28th, with availability set for May 14th. Prices are also pretty aggressive, starting at $999 and going up to just $1,299 depending on whichever variant you pick, and each device is eligible for the optional Samsung Care+ for extended warranty.
So far I can tell you I have a lot of really good thoughts when it comes to these machines, but again, an hour is too little to form an educated opinion. For detailed impressions on my experience with them stay tuned for our full review coming very soon.
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