‘ZDNET Recommends’: What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET’s editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
The first Galaxy Unpacked event of 2023 sees the introduction of the third generation of Samsung’s thin-and-light Galaxy Book laptops. For the first time, there’s a flagship ‘Ultra’ model — echoing the branding used for Galaxy S series smartphones in recent years.
All the latest innovations from Samsung, covered by ZDNET’s product experts.
There are four new Intel Evo-branded Galaxy Book 3 laptops — three traditional clamshell designs and a 2-in-1 convertible: 14-inch and 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro; 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360; and 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. Screen sizes have stepped up a notch, from 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch models in the first two generations.
Like other leading manufacturers with extensive portfolios, Samsung is also keen to extol the virtues of the ‘multi-device connected experience’ that’s on offer for users of its phones, tablets, laptops and wearables.
“Today, we’re seeing an increasing number of people using multiple devices to perform efficiently. These new workflows are made possible thanks to our open and extensive Galaxy ecosystem,” said TM Roh, president and head of Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung, in a statement. “The latest Galaxy Book3 series further enriches our connected offerings. It is tailor-made for Galaxy enthusiasts looking for the ultra-high computing performance and seamless connected Galaxy experiences to maximize their productivity and creativity.”
Here are the key specifications of the new Galaxy Book 3 laptops.
The new Ultra model will likely attract the most attention, as it will compete against high-end creator-focused laptops, notably Apple’s new M2 Pro/Max-based 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Described as ‘a premium PC experience for creators who demand the best’, the 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has the power to handle demanding photo- and video-editing, content creation and gaming workloads, with 13th-generation Intel Core processors (i7 or i9), up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, and Nvidia’s latest GeForce RTX 4050 and 4070 Laptop GPUs. According to Nvidia, “GeForce RTX 4070, 4060 and 4050 Laptop GPUs deliver up to RTX 3080 flagship class performance at one-third of the power, improving thinness, acoustics, and thermals.” The company says that these new GPUs, powered by the Ada Lovelace architecture, will launch on 22 February.
Like the rest of the Galaxy Book 3 series, the Ultra has an aluminum frame and an eco-conscious design, using recycled plastics from ocean-bound fishing nets, zero in-the-box plastics, and 70% recycled paper in the packaging. The Ultra is the bulkiest and heaviest Book 3 model, measuring 16.5mm thick and weighing 1.79kg (3.9lbs).
The 16-inch screen is a 16:10 Dynamic AMOLED 2X display — as used in Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones — with 3K (2880 x 1800) resolution, 500 nits peak brightness, and a 120Hz refresh rate. This is a significant advance from the 16:9 FHD (1920 x 1080) AMOLED in the 15.6-inch Galaxy Book 2 Pro, for example, moving up to 212 pixels per inch (ppi) from 141ppi, as well as offering more brightness and extra viewing depth via the 16:10 aspect ratio.
Also: Here’s everything Samsung announced at Unpacked 2023
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra’s screen has VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, signifying its ability to render deep blacks and accurate shadow detail. It also has VESA ClearMR (Motion Ratio) 5000 certification, which grades motion blur for LCD and OLED panels (ClearMR tiers go from 3000 to 9000, with higher tiers indicating higher image quality and less blur), and is SGS Eye Care Display certified for blue light reduction.
Other key features include Wi-Fi6E, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.0 connector, and an AKG quad-speaker system comprising two woofers and two tweeters. The 1080p webcam lacks IR support for Windows Hello face recognition, but does benefit from Studio Mode, which provides lighting correction, auto framing, eye contact correction, and smooth backgrounds. The Galaxy Book 3 laptops all have a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button, and meet Microsoft’s Secured-core PC requirements.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra will start at $2,199, and be available for purchase from 22 February.
The 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 is, as the name suggests, a 2-in-1 convertible with a 360-degree screen hinge. It’s slightly thinner and lighter than the Book 3 Ultra, measuring 12.8mm thick and weighing 1.66kg — or 1.71kg if you go for the optional 5G mobile broadband. It has a touch-screen version of Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel and comes with an S Pen stylus.
Processor options are limited to Core i5 and i7, you can specify lower-end RAM (8GB) and storage (256GB) choices in addition to those available on the Ultra model, and the GPU is limited to Intel’s integrated Iris Xe Graphics. Also, the HDMI connector supports version 1.4, rather than 2.0 on the Ultra.
The Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 will start at $1,399 and be available for purchase from 17 February.
The Galaxy Book 3 Pro comes in 14-inch and 16-inch versions, with the former being the thinnest and lightest of the range, measuring 11.3mm thick and weighing 1.17kg. Thanks to its smaller screen, the 14-inch Book 3 Pro can manage with a smaller, lighter, 65Wh battery than the 16-inch models, which all have 76Wh batteries. Charging for the Book 3 Pro laptops is via a 65W USB-C charger, while the top-end Ultra comes with a 100W charger. The more compact 14-inch Book 3 Pro does not have room for a separate numeric keypad, as seen on the larger 16-inch models.
Galaxy Book 3 Pro laptops will start at $1,249 and be available for purchase from 17 February.
Samsung is targeting the Galaxy Book 3 series not only at consumers, but also SMEs and enterprises, which is one reason why, as mentioned earlier, the company is emphasizing the ability to work across multiple devices. Another reason, of course, is to leverage the added value delivered by Samsung’s ecosystem services to sell more devices.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs Apple MacBook Pro
With Link to Windows installed on your Galaxy Phone and Microsoft Phone Link on your Galaxy Book laptop, you can use the Recent Websites feature to transfer web-browsing sessions (on the Samsung Internet browser only) from phone to PC, or use Instant Hotspot for single-click access to your phone’s internet connection from your laptop. Samsung Multi Control lets you control Galaxy tablets and phones (with the right One UI version installed) with the Book 3 laptop’s keyboard and trackpad, while Second Screen lets you use a Galaxy Tab S7 or S8 tablet as a secondary display for your Book 3 laptop. And with Expert RAW installed on your Galaxy smartphone, you can automatically transfer RAW images taken on the phone to your laptop for editing with Adobe Lightroom (for which Samsung is offering a two-month free trial worth $19.98).
Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2 Pro and Pro 360 laptops are well-regarded, and the upgrades announced here — particularly the new Ultra model — will generate plenty of interest. We look forward to testing the Galaxy Book 3 laptops, and exploring how well Samsung’s ecosystem services work in practice.