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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung's latest Galaxy Books have caused quite the stir in the Windows laptop market, but are they good enough to snatch the crown from Microsoft's own Surface lineup?

We think the two models most ripe for comparison are the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. Both are available in similar configurations, at similar price points and can take advantage of stylus pens for creative tasks or note-taking.

While there are a range of configurations available for both laptops we have chosen the following specifications to go head-to-head:

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 13.3-inch

  • Intel Core i5 (12th Gen)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

View on Samsung store

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5-inch

  • Intel Core i5 (11th Gen)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

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Design and weight

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360: Silver, Graphite or Burgundy colours, Aluminium alloy finish, 1.04kg
  • Surface Laptop 4: Platinum and Ice Blue with an Alacantara finish or Sandstone and Matte black with a metal finish, 1.28kg

The Galaxy Book 2 Pro has a sleek and minimal design with a focus on lightweight portability. At just 1.04kg it is astonishingly light, but despite this, it manages to feel fairly sturdy. It is available in graphite, silver and burgundy finishes, all of which look great and fit well with the 'Pro' moniker - though we noticed that the graphite and burgundy models are particularly prone to fingerprint smudges.

The Surface Laptop 4 has a little more flair with its optional Alcantara keyboard surround and a slightly wider range of colours available. However, it manages to achieve this without looking gaudy, and certainly wouldn't look out of place in any modern office. It feels very sturdy and well made but with that comes some additional weight. It's still very thin and light, but not quite as light as the Samsung model.

Display

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360: 13.3-inch AMOLED, 1920 x 1080 16:9
  • Surface Laptop 4: 13.5-inch, PixelSense, 2256 x 1504 3:2

The Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 has a gorgeous AMOLED display that's glass-fronted for touchscreen use. It's only 1080p resolution, but at this size, it looks plenty sharp enough and the AMOLED technology gives us highly accurate and vibrant colour reproduction.

The Surface Laptop 4 also features a glass touchscreen display, but with a taller 3:2 aspect ratio, it feels like you have a lot more screen real-estate. It's higher resolution, too, but uses a far less common PLS panel, made by Samsung ironically. PLS panels are slightly superior to their IPS counterparts but they are unable to match the contrast ratios and colour accuracy of AMOLED panels.

Both laptops have stylus support; Samsung's model supports the S Pen while Microsoft's supports the Surface Pen. The 360 hinge on the Galaxy Book makes it far more suitable for both touchscreen and stylus use, whereas the Surface Laptop has a traditional hinge that can make touchscreen use feel unintuitive.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Book2 Pro vs Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 photo 3

Hardware

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360: 12th Gen Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD - Up to 21-hour battery life
  • Surface Laptop 4: 11th Gen Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD -  Up to 17-hour battery life

The Galaxy Book is newer and therefore benefits from the latest generation of Intel processors. With this comes higher performance, greater efficiency and a higher quoted battery life, though we have yet to test this in the real world.

It is worth noting that the Surface Laptop is available with a Ryzen processor that improves upon its already respectable battery life, whereas the Galaxy Book can only be configured with Intel options.

We tried to match the specifications of our models for this guide as closely as possible but a key difference is that the Surface has double the storage at 512GB. In order to equip the Galaxy Book with equivalent storage, you would have to purchase an i7 model.

Connections and ports

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360: Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ax 2x2, Bluetooth 5.1, Thunderbolt 4, USB-C x2, Headphone, microSD
  • Surface Laptop 4: Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A x1, USB-C x1, Headphone, Surface Connect

When it comes to connectivity, the newer Galaxy Book shines yet again thanks to the inclusion of thoroughly modern standards such as Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1 and Thunderbolt 4. In terms of physical ports, we have two USB type C ports, Thunderbolt 4, a headphone socket and a microSD card reader.

The Surface Laptop 4 has been out for a while, but while it may lack some of the cutting-edge connections it's still up to speed with commonly used standards like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. The Surface lineup has always lacked Thunderbolt connectivity, possibly to encourage the use of Microsoft's proprietary Surface Connect port. Ports are fairly minimal with a single USB-C port, a headphone socket and a solitary USB-A. We're glad to see the USB-A port though, as it means dongles can be avoided more often.

When it comes to charging, the Galaxy Book uses one of its USB-C ports and can be charged with the same 65W USB-C adapter as many modern smartphones. The Surface Laptop comes with a power adapter that uses the aforementioned Surface Connect port. However, interestingly, the Surface Laptop can also be powered via its USB-C port, also requiring a 65W adapter.

SamsungSamsung Galaxy Book2 Pro vs Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 photo 5

Ecosystem and accessories

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360: Included S Pen, Phone connection via Microsoft Your Phone, Galaxy Tab integration, SmartThings support
  • Surface Laptop 4: Surface pen sold separately, Phone connection via Microsoft Your Phone, Surface dock and peripherals

If you are already invested in the Samsung ecosystem, the company has done a lot of work to ensure that the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 works well with other Samsung products. Via a single sign-on with a Samsung account, you can access Galaxy device apps like Samsung Gallery and Notes, as well as instantly pair to your Galaxy Buds. The S Pen comes included with the 360 models too, so sketchers and note scribblers can take advantage straight away.

Most of the products in the Surface ecosystem are designed to work well with all Windows devices, so, of course, they work well with the Surface Laptop too. If you care about aesthetics, they match the finishes of the laptops perfectly. The only products exclusively made for Surface devices are the rather expensive Surface Dock and the Surface Pen, which unfortunately is also a fairly pricey add-on.

Software

  • Both devices run Windows 11

Since both machines run Windows 11, the overall software experience is fairly similar. As we mentioned, Samsung has included some software integrations with its other ecosystem products such as SmartThings, Samsung Multi Control and the ability to access Galaxy device apps by linking your Samsung account.

If you're well-ingrained in the Samsung product stack, then these integrations could be incredibly useful, if not then they might feel more like bloatware. The Surface Laptop, on the other hand, gives a completely vanilla Windows 11 experience. Which one is preferable is all down to the individual.

Pricing

  • Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 as configured: MSRP £1099 / €1299 / $1250
  • Surface Laptop 4 as configured: MSRP £1269 / €1449 / $1299

On paper, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is the objectively better deal, it has more features, better connectivity and higher performance whilst coming in at a lower price point. However, when we take into account the fact that the Surface Laptop 4 has been out for much longer, you'll notice that the Surface is often on sale for significantly lower prices than the stated MSRP.

The Surface Laptop has other merits too, we think it's got a more stylish design and the Alcantara lining is a unique and luxurious touch. The higher resolution 3:2 screen is great for productivity, too. That said, it can't match the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 on performance, battery life, connectivity or portability - so unless you find an irresistible deal on the Surface device, the new Galaxy Book is the obvious choice.

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Writing by Luke Baker.