Samsung's new Galaxy Book Pro laptops are thin, light and smart

AMOLED displays and intelligent settings are standout features.

Credit: Samsung

Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptops on Wednesday. The four thin-and-light systems are designed with premium features, innovative enhancements, and close ties to the rest of Samsung’s product ecosystem.

Announced at the company’s virtual Samsung Unpacked event on April 28, the laptops are available for preorder immediately and will start shipping May 14. Prices will start at $1,000 for the Galaxy Book Pro 13 and $1,100 for the Galaxy Book Pro 15 clamshell notebooks. The convertible models (with 360-degree hinges) will start at $1,200 for the Galaxy Book Pro 360 13, and $1,300 for the Galaxy Book Pro 360 15. Samsung is also offering special discounts through Amazon, Best Buy, and its own online store.

We’ll discuss some of the highlight features of the Galaxy Book Pro laptops, and you can find the specs for all the machines at the end of this story. The photos will show you the colors available: Mystic Blue and Mystic Silver for the Galaxy Book Pros, and Mystic Navy and Mystic Bronze for the Galaxy Book Pro 360s.

Very thin, very light

samsung galaxy book pro 13inch mysticsilver wifi cropped Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13 (shown here in Mystic Silver) is so thin and light, you'll forget it's in your bag.

Did we say the Galaxy Book Pro laptops are thin and light? They are. The teeniest is the Galaxy Book Pro 13 (shown above), which at 1.93  pounds and 11.2mm thin (about 7/16 inch) is light enough to forget you have it in your bag. The biggest is the Galaxy Book Pro 360 15, which at 11.9mm is still just shy of a half-inch thick. Its 3.06-pound weight is feathery for a 15.6-inch laptop. 

“The new Galaxy Books are the thinnest 13-inch and 15-inch Intel Evo designs ever,” said Intel executive vice president Gregory M. Bryant, in a statement. All four laptops graduated from Intel’s Evo laptop innovation program, meaning they had to meet requirements for performance, display quality, instant connectivity, and battery life. Everything about the Galaxy Book Pro laptops is state-of-the-art, from the AMOLED displays to the Thunderbolt 4 ports

samsung galaxy book pro 15inch mysticblue wifi top open 210417074439 Samsung presskit

The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 15 (shown in Mystic Blue) weighs a scant three pounds, which is light for a laptop of this size.

The only thing that isn't thinner is the S Pen bundled with each new Galaxy Book Pro 360. Unlike the slender stylus you've seen for Samsung's Galaxy Note products and a few earlier Samsung laptops, this new S Pen is 2.5 times wider, making it more comfortable for extended use. Of course, thinner laptops and fatter S pens mean there's no internal garage, as was possible with the stylus models, so you are sacrificing a little convenience.

Another potential liability of thinner laptops is typing experience. Samsung says the Galaxy Book Pro laptops all have 1mm of key travel. That's not much--we're used to 1.2mm to 1.4mm on mainstream laptops, and sometimes as much as 1.7mm on bigger, heavier models. Typing is a subjective experience, so we'll have to try it to decide whether Samsung's design is better in person than on paper. 

galaxy book pro 360 13inch mysticnavy s pen handson cropped Samsung

The new S Pen is 2.5 times wider than the traditional, stylus-like S Pen, for a more comfortable writing experience.

Samsung is a leader in display technology, so we have high expectations for the AMOLED displays in the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptops. We do see, however, that the resolution for all models is simply FHD (1920x1080). This is plenty for a 13-inch laptop, but it could look grainier on a 15.6-inch laptop. We'll have to see how it actually looks if we're able to review one of the larger models.  

One of the very few features that's a little disappointing is the integrated webcam. Its 720p resolution is still the most common to be found on laptops. Now that videoconferencing is a near-universal experience, however, 720p's shortcomings are becoming obvious. A 1080p webcam might have fit better into the overall premium makeup of the Galaxy Book Pro family. 

Smart features and integrations

samsung galaxy book pro 360 15inch mysticnavy wifi s pen Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 15 (shown in Mystic Navy) comes with the new S Pen for writing and drawing.

Samsung built a lot of smarts into each laptop. The most intriguing is the Intelligent Performance Manager, which adjusts the laptop's fan, temperature, and battery behavior based on what you're doing with the laptop. While the default mode balances all factors, the laptop will prioritize performance for gaming and creative work, turn things down to save battery life, or turn off the fans entirely on battery if you need silence. Running a close second is the Intelligent Color Engine, which can adjust the color quality of your display depending on your activity (if the application you're using supports it). 

The Galaxy Book Pro laptops integrate with other Samsung products. Using Link to Windows and Microsoft Your Phone, you can run up to 5 mobile apps from your Samsung smartphone on the Galaxy Book Pro, and send/receive text messages, phone calls, and notifications from your phone via the laptop. The Second screen feature lets you use a Galaxy tablet as an additional display. You can even manage SmartThings smart appliances through a Windows application. If you've already invested in the Samsung ecosystem, a Samsung laptop could be a handy addition.

Galaxy Book Pro, Galaxy Book Pro 360 specifications

There's more to explore in these new Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptops, and we hope to dig deeper if we're able to review a unit. For now, we can list the specifications for each new model below. 

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13

Starting price: $1,000

CPU: Intel 11th-gen (Tiger Lake) Core i5/Core i7 CPU

RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X

Storage: Up to 512GB NVMe SSD

Graphics: Intel Xe (integrated)

Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED

Ports/Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, USB-A, MicroSD, audio jack

Networking: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax 2x2 Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E-ready

Dimensions: 11.98 x 7.86 x 0.44 inches

Weight: 1.93 pounds

Battery: 65Wh

Colors: Mystic Blue, Mystic Silver

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 15

Starting price: $1,100

CPU: Intel 11th-gen (Tiger Lake) Core i5/Core i7 CPU

RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR4X

Storage: Up to 512GB NVMe SSD

Graphics: Intel Xe (integrated)

Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) AMOLED

Ports/Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, MicroSD, audio jack

Networking: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax 2x2 Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E-ready

Dimensions: 13.99 x 8.89 x 0.46 inches

Weight: 2.31 pounds

Battery: 68Wh

Colors: Mystic Blue, Mystic Silver

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 13

galaxy book pro 360 13inch mysticbronze wifi right cropped Samsung

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 13 is shown in Mystic Bronze.

Starting price: $1,200

CPU: Intel 11th-gen (Tiger Lake) Core i5/Core i7 CPU

RAM: 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4X

Storage: Up to 512GB NVMe SSD

Graphics: Intel Xe (integrated)

Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080) Super AMOLED

Ports/Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, two USB-C, MicroSD, audio jack

Networking: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax 2x2 Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E-ready, 5G

Dimensions: 11.9 x 7.95 x 0.44 inches

Weight: 2.29 pounds

Battery: 63Wh

Colors: Mystic Navy, Mystic Bronze

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 15

Starting price: $1,300

CPU: Intel 11th-gen (Tiger Lake) Core i5/Core i7 CPU

RAM: 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4X

Storage: Up to 1TB NVMe SSD

Graphics: Intel Xe (integrated)

Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) Super AMOLED

Ports/Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, two USB-C, MicroSD, audio jack

Networking: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax 2x2 Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E-ready, 5G

Dimensions: 13.97 x 8.98 x 0.47 inches

Weight: 2.29 pounds

Battery: 63Wh

Colors: Mystic Navy, Mystic Bronze

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Melissa Riofrio

Melissa Riofrio

PC World (US online)
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