As a Windows PC and Galaxy phone user, I was pretty excited to test one of Samsung’s premium Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 laptops. Available as a regular clamshell laptop or convertible two-in-one in 13- and 15-inch sizes, the Galaxy Book Pros are the first results of a co-engineering relationship between Samsung and Intel and they’re built to be the centerpieces of a Galaxy ecosystem for “mobile-first consumers.”
Long battery life, a thin-and-light design and responsive performance that lets me get connected and working as quickly as possible are what matter most to me in a laptop. That’s what the Galaxy Book Pro 360 I tested gets you. It’s just a bonus that Samsung, Intel and Microsoft made it work better with my phone of choice, too.
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (15-inch, 2021)
- Extremely thin and light for its size
- Great extra features for Galaxy device owners
- Long battery life
- Ordinary appearance
- Samsung software needs some polish
- 720p webcam
Excellent even outside the Galaxy
Again, I tested the 15-inch Pro 360, which is the largest and most expensive model of the four Galaxy Pro models. It starts at $1,300, or £1,099 in the UK; it’s not currently available in Australia but the UK price converts to about AU$1,990. Considering its features, components and build quality, the price is on par with other premium two-in-ones. It’s a nice-looking laptop, although it’s also sort of nondescript. The bronze finish on mine didn’t help, although you can get it in navy too.
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (15-inch, 2021)
|Price as reviewed||$1,500|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch, 1,920×1,080 AMOLED touch display|
|CPU||2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR4x 4,267MHz (onboard)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||1TB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Networking||802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6E), Bluetooth 5.1|
|Operating system||Window 10 Home (64-bit)|
|Connections||Thunderbolt 4, USB-C (x2), 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot|
What will grab your attention when you pick up the Pro 360 is just how thin and light it is for a two-in-one this size. Even folded back into a tablet, the Pro 360 stays thin. Generally, an extra millimeter isn’t going to keep me from buying a laptop, but the thinness and other features really drive home that these are designed for greater mobility.
Basically, the Galaxy Book Pro models are for people who want a laptop experience similar to what they have with their phones. It should turn on and unlock instantly, always be connected, have the same responsive performance on battery power as it does when plugged in and be as portable as possible.
The Galaxy Book Pro 360 stays slim in tablet mode.
Regardless of what phone you have, this is the experience you can have with the Galaxy Book Pro 360. You can lift the lid and be working in seconds even if you’re starting with the power off. The power button has a fingerprint sensor that near-instantly unlocks the PC. (I wish it also had an IR camera for facial recognition so unlocking was less awkward in tablet mode.)
Once you’re in, your wireless is quick to connect and this does have Wi-Fi 6E support baked in for access to ultrawide 6GHz band networks. An LTE version of the 13-inch Galaxy Book Pro is available in the UK and elsewhere outside the US and a 5G version of the 13-inch Pro 360 is planned for later this year, but it’s unclear if that will be available in the US. For the moment, you can tether to your phone, which Samsung made easier to do with a Galaxy phone.
Quick Share lets you send files to and from your Galaxy phone and the Galaxy Book Pro.
From PC to phone and back again
In fact, Samsung gives you several ways to work between your Galaxy phone and the Galaxy Book Pro. If you have a Galaxy phone you may have seen a Link to Windows option in the drop-down Quick Settings panel. This is to use with the Your Phone app in Windows 10. As the name implies, it replicates your phone on the PC. You can see your notifications, text, make phone calls, view your photo gallery and also open and use your apps. Your Phone works with iPhones and other Android devices, too.
There’s a new Quick Share feature that lets you send files from your phone to the PC and the reverse as well. So if you take a picture with your phone and want it on your computer, you can just select it from your share options and send it using Quick Share. You can also use Quick Share between other Galaxy phones and tablets, letting anyone with one of those drop files to you on the Pro 360 or vice versa.
Samsung’s Flow app is also preinstalled on the Galaxy Book Pro 360, which is sort of like a simple version of Your Phone paired with the file-sharing feature of Quick Share. All three are handy in their own ways, but in true Windows and Android fashion, none of them seems to connect seamlessly 100% of the time. Quick Share is new for the PC, though, so I’ll give it a pass. Overall, it feels like Samsung, Intel and Microsoft are getting closer to creating the same unified experience Apple users have.
Intel helped Samsung build better Bluetooth capabilities into the Galaxy Book Pro line.
That connected experience extends to your Galaxy Buds, too, if you have them. I don’t so I couldn’t test this, but if you have Buds, you can open up Samsung’s Settings app and use the Easy Bluetooth connection to instantly connect them without you having to do anything else. There’s also an option to cloud-sync paired Galaxy Buds with other devices by signing in to your Samsung account. Also, for Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus tablet owners, you can use a Tab as a mirrored or extended display with the Galaxy Book Pro models.
There are a bunch of other little features like Smart Switch for moving apps, settings and files from an old PC to the Pro; Quick Search, which makes it fast and easy to find files on the Pro 360; and a SmartThings app to help you control and monitor your Samsung connected appliances or other SmartThings smart home gear.
Basically, if you’re a Galaxy fan, if you have Galaxy Buds, a Galaxy Tab, a Galaxy Watch, web-connected Samsung appliances or other SmartThings devices, this or one of the Galaxy Book Pros should probably be your next laptop. And if you’re just a Galaxy phone user like me, there’s enough connectedness here to make it worth considering because this is an excellent premium two-in-one even aside from those features.
The AMOLED display is beautiful but avoiding reflections on a bright day isn’t easy.
Inside the $1,500 configuration I tested, you’ll find an 11th-gen Core i7, 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD. Performance is solid for everyday productivity, entertainment and basic photo and video editing. It’s not a gaming laptop (that’s coming from Samsung later this summer) although you can play games on it at low settings and you can certainly play streaming games on it. And while I didn’t hit the 20 hours of battery life Samsung states for it, I did get to 13 hours, 4 minutes in our streaming video test.
The full-HD AMOLED display is stunning with excellent color and contrast. It’s not quite bright enough to overcome reflections, though. The Pro 360 comes with a full-size S-Pen felt good for writing, drawing or just killing time coloring in Samsung’s PenUp app. I wish palm rejection was better in Windows, though; there is a setting to block touch input when using the pen but the side of my hand still caused my work to resize or triggered other reactions.
The keyboard feels good, which is a surprise considering how thin the base is. There’s not a lot of key travel, but it doesn’t feel like you’re typing on a tabletop, either. The touchpad is comfortably large, smooth and responsive, too. About the only thing that didn’t feel premium about this package is the 720p webcam. It works fine and Samsung includes a Studio Mode so you can tweak your appearance. However, going with the industry-standard webcam resolution on a high-end laptop is a mistake. At least the mics and speakers are decent, and you get a combo audio jack, a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, two regular USB-C ports and a microSD card slot.
Again, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a nice premium two-in-one regardless of if you’re all in on other Galaxy devices. There are, however, several excellent two-in-ones out there. Its main appeal for me is that unified Galaxy experience.
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