Samsung's Galaxy Book Pro 360 Is the 2-in-1 Laptop You Need

Illustration for article titled Samsung's Galaxy Book Pro 360 Is the 2-in-1 Laptop You Need
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

For those of us who need to get work done on the go, there’s always one dilemma when it comes to choosing your mobile machine: Do you skimp on screen size and go with a lighter 13-inch laptop, or do you risk putting your back or shoulders in jeopardy by opting for a larger 15-inch system? And for those who value flexibility, do you dare tack on even more added weight with a 2-in-1?

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It’s a hard choice, and one that Samsung is looking to eliminate with the new Galaxy Book Pro 360. The new 2-in-1 combines a deliciously thin design and a gorgeous AMOLED display with excellent battery life and solid performance, putting everything you need in a single machine. 

The Epitome of Sleekness

Devices get thinner all the time, but the Galaxy Book Pro 360's dimensions still seem impossibly sleek. Measuring 14 x 9 x 0.46 inches and weighing just three pounds, the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 is significantly thinner and lighter than an XPS 15 (13.57 x 9.1 x 0.71). And the XPS 15 is a standard clamshell, while the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a 2-in-1 with a rotating hinge.

But it gets even better when you remember that the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 is actually the biggest and heaviest model in the new Galaxy Book Pro lineup, with the 13-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 weighing just 2.3 pounds, and the clamshell 13-inch standard Galaxy Book Pro tipping the scales at a sprightly 1.9 pounds. All told, the lightness of Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pros means you can upgrade to a bigger system without breaking your back, which is a win for anyone who has ever wanted more screen to work or play with while traveling.

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The entire 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 is thinner than the deck of an XPS 15. That’s seriously slim.
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
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Additionally, despite being extremely thin, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 still offers great build quality, with a sturdy anodized aluminum chassis that only features a little bit of flexing in the middle keyboard, which given its dimensions, seems pretty reasonable. And while you could nitpick the Galaxy Book Pro 360 for having a slightly enlarged chin, that feels like an incredibly minor complaint.

Technicolor Dream Screen

Next, we move onto the Galaxy Book Pro 360's display, which is where Samsung really flexes on the competition. Sporting a gorgeous 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED panel, the Galaxy Book Pro line is one of the only laptop families that features an OLED screen as standard, while still remaining relatively affordable. Colors are deep and vivid, and with brightness being a strength of OLED displays, Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro laptops are equally at home indoors as they are outdoors, even in bright sunlight.

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Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

This display is so good, it makes you want to find new things to view just to see how pretty they look. For more color-sensitive situations like editing photos or simply shopping online, Samsung provides multiple color profiles to make sure colors are accurate and not overly saturated. My only small gripe with the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 is that I wish Samsung had an optional 4K OLED panel, because with a lower overall pixel density compared to its 13-inch siblings, a little extra sharpness would go a long way.

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More Than Enough Power to Get Work Done

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch models feature Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPUs and Intel Iris Xe graphics as standard, so the Galaxy Book Pro 360's performance is pretty much as good as you can get without tacking on a discrete GPU. As expected, in Geekbench 5 our 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 review unit pumped out similar numbers as other premium notebooks like the Razer Book 13, though systems with access to AMD CPUs like the Surface Laptop 4 do perform better when it comes to rendering videos. In Handbrake, our Galaxy Book Pro took 12 minutes and 29 seconds to convert a 4K movie to 1080p, compared to just under 9 minutes for the Surface Laptop 4.

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Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

And even without a discrete GPU, the Galaxy Book Pro 360's Iris Xe graphics is still good enough to play less demanding games like League of Legends or Overwatch, though you might have to play with settings depending on the specific title.

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Keyboard, Ports, and Stylus Support

For such a thin system, Samsung still provides a comfortable typing experience. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 balances out a relatively shallow 1mm of key travel with a crisp keystroke and a good bounce when you bottom out. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Book Pro 360's touchpad is absolutely massive, with Samsung still finding room to include a numpad on the right on 15-inch models, which I think is a nice inclusion considering Samsung’s focus on mobile productivity. And in the very top right, there’s also a power button with a built-in fingerprint sensor that works with Windows Hello.

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Port selection is also sufficient, with Samsung including one Thunderbolt 4 port along with two additional USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. With this system only featuring USB-C ports, I kind of wish Samsung had tossed in a USB-C to USB-A for help connecting legacy accessories, but you can’t get everything I guess. On the flip side, even though there’s no place to store a stylus in a system this thin, Samsung does include an S-Pen in the box.

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A More Seamless Galaxy Experience

It’s easy to overlook this part, but Samsung has put a lot of work into a number of pre-installed apps designed to make other Galaxy devices play nice with the Galaxy Book Pro family. There’s Quick Share to help you share files between the laptop and your Galaxy phone a cinch, while Samsung’s Second Screen feature lets you turn a Galaxy tablet into a portable extended display. And of course there are all the S-Pen apps to help you quickly sketch or jot notes before syncing your scribbles across all your Galaxy devices.

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Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Samsung even created a new version of its Smart Switch app, so you can transfer all of your existing files and Windows Store apps from your previous system to the Galaxy Book Pro 360 with ease. (Though strangely, it seems you can’t send over traditional standalone programs that you’ve installed manually.)

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Look, it’s still not quite the experience you get from Apple’s family of devices, but it’s a big improvement compared to your typical Windows 10 fare, and for people who already own other Galaxy devices, these apps are something you’ll definitely appreciate. Annoying, there’s also a fair bit of bloatware pre-installed on here too, like apps for Amazon and Facebook Messenger, which detracts a bit from the notebook’s normal luxury vibe.

A Truly Awful Webcam

The one is a real head-scratcher, because it’s not like Samsung doesn’t already have extensive experience equipping and tuning cameras on mobile devices. But there’s no getting around it: The Galaxy Book Pro 360's webcam is bad, or barely passable at best if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care about showing their face on video calls.

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Not only is the webcam’s 1280 x 720 resolution just ok, it captures content that looks grainier, blurrier, and just lower quality than what you get from an XPS 15. There aren’t really any excuses to have a webcam this bad on a premium laptop, and what makes things even worse is that aside from the webcam, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 doesn’t really suffer from any other major demerits, which makes the webcam feel like even more of an albatross.

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Impressive Battery Life

Posting a time of 14 hours and 46 minutes on our video rundown test, the 15-inch Galaxy Book Pro 360 churned out one of the best battery life marks we’ve seen in years, easily beating out the XPS 15 (8:28), the Surface Laptop 4 (12:21), and others. Now it’s important to note that part of the Galaxy Book Pro 360's longevity is due in large part to its OLED display, but even when playing games untethered, I was still impressed by its overall runtime.

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One other nice bonus is that because the Galaxy Book Pro 360 supports charging over USB-C, you can also use Samsung’s 65-watt power brick to power up your other USB-C devices, which is a handy bonus when trying to pack light.

Which Laptop Should You Buy?

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Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
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If you already have a couple Galaxy devices and you’re looking for a work machine to round out your kit, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 has to be at the top of your list. Not only does its OLED screen ensure you get the same jaw-droppingly good viewing experience across all of your devices, Samsung has delivered some honest to goodness synergy to help everything play nice together.

But even if you haven’t dipped your toes into Samsung’s ecosystem before, there’s still a lot to like. Between its super sleek design, best-in-class battery life, and the flexibility you get from its 2-in-1 design, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is more than ready to handle traditional productivity tasks with aplomb. And when compared to other top competitors like Dell’s XPS 15, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is even more portable and arguably better looking. With the Galaxy Book Pro 360, Samsung has taken the pursuit of lightness to greater heights.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

thacounty
thacounty

Samsung cameras are not great with detail. This is even in the s21 ultra. People look like oil paintings vs Pixel and iPhone.