As far as consumer devices go, Samsung has a long history of designing products closely matched with Apple’s ecosystem. The company’s Galaxy Tab tablets take on the iPads, Galaxy S phones go up against the iPhones, and Galaxy Book laptops take on the Macbooks.
The best so far, though, may be this year’s Samsung Galaxy Book3 line. The Galaxy Book3, the Book 3 Pro and Ultra are very clearly designed to take on the Apple Macbook, both the Air and Pro, and they do a pretty good job of that.
Samsung gets the ecosystem approach right, designing these for Galaxy S phone users, and the overall design reeks of a sleek business device that anyone would be happy carrying into an executive meeting room.
You could argue that the design is slightly too simple but at first glance the minimalist aluminium body looks classy. The only real problem perhaps, if we had to nitpick, is that it weighs over 1kg and can feel heavy when you carry it for long hours. Not being the lightest laptop is hardly something I would hold against the Galaxy Book3 Pro, though.
The real magic is in how Samsung offers continuity for Galaxy phone users. Between the company’s own ecosystem and Microsoft’s Phone Link app for Windows, the Galaxy Book3 offers almost the same kind of continuity you get on an Apple device.
For instance, a Samsung Galaxy Tab or phone can become a second screen for this laptop, while the company’s Galaxy Buds headphones just show up in settings, without requiring the device to be put on pairing mode, etc. You can also connect to the hot spot from a Galaxy phone without specifically turning it on from the phone. Samsung’s in-house Notes, Gallery and other apps are also built in, in order to access data from one’s phone from the laptop.
The best feature, however, is Quick Share, something on the lines of Apple’s Airdrop. It allows users to share large files quickly and wirelessly, without using regular Bluetooth connections. It’s not quite as fast as Airdrop but it’s seamless enough to be called a real value addition.
The good things about this device don’t end there. The Galaxy Book3 Pro runs on 13th generation Intel processors (both i5 and i7 options), with integrated Intel Xe graphics. That means it offers snappy performance on every productivity task, be it writing up documents, watching movies and videos, spreadsheets, or simple browsing.
In fact, apps like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom also perform admirably on this device, though those looking to run resource-intensive tasks, especially video editing, should pick the Galaxy Book Ultra, thanks to its dedicated graphics chips.
Speaking of Photoshop, the fact that the laptop can support such apps dependably is actually an added bonus because the Galaxy Book3 Pro’s 16-inch 3K display is among the best you can find on a laptop today. It has amazing colour reproduction, offers excellent contrast and is bright enough to be used in most conditions. Samsung has always excelled at displays and it’s good to see the company bring those chops to its laptops.
What’s not that great?
Truth be told, the Galaxy Book3 Pro is one of those devices where you overlook the small weaknesses for everything else. Or, rather, it would be if the laptop’s biggest weakness wasn’t the battery life.
Intel-powered laptops don’t hold a candle to the newer- generation ARM-powered laptops being rolled out by Apple and some others now. Even in the Intel world, however, the Galaxy Book3 Pro couldn’t consistently hit 10 hours of battery life on a daily basis. In using this device for just over a week, the average battery life has usually topped out at seven hours, which is fine when you are working from home—but it means you will have to carry the charger along when you are not.
To be precise, day-to-day apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and even Google Chrome can take a toll on laptop battery life. So how much battery life you get out of this device will depend on the kind of work you usually do. It’s safe to say that six hours is something anyone can expect; however, thin and light laptops like this are usually expected to hit the 10-hour mark.
Other than the battery life, the only other niggle (and it is really only a niggle) is the touchpad. The Galaxy Book3 Pro has a decent keyboard but there’s also a num-pad on the keyboard. Which is why the touchpad is kept off centre, and, though it’s huge, it takes getting used to. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself right-clicking when you mean to hit the left click.
Should you buy it?
There’s no denying that Samsung’s Galaxy Book3 Pro is among the best laptops today. The 16-inch models start at ₹1,65,990 in India, which make them cheaper than comparable Macbook Pros but more expensive than Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 5.
Even so, the Galaxy Book is without doubt the best Windows laptop for a Galaxy S phone user. It’s also well suited for those who don’t require a laptop for resource-intensive tasks, but still one powerful enough to run day-to-day tasks without lags. I personally don’t understand the need for touchscreen on but if that’s a feature you want, Microsoft’s Surface devices are the ones to go for.
Also read: Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ review: Your top questions answered