(Pocket-lint) - The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 sounds like a dream laptop. Some of what it offers clashes in a way that seems to ignore the laws of physics.
For example, it's got a 15.6-inch screen but overall weighs just 1.3kg. And Samsung didn't have to make the tactile downgrade from an aluminium shell to a plastic or magnesium alloy shell to make this possible. This is an OLED display laptop, but it doesn't come with the huge leap in cost such displays usually incur.
For all this impressive laptop design showboating, we think the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 works best as a practical portable laptop, particularly for those who travel for work. Or at least plan to in the future.
However, it's less successful as a 'luxury' laptop. Its screen just doesn't look quite as impressive in person as we had hoped, and there are a few build reminders that, yes, the laws of physics do still apply to Samsung laptop designers.
- Dimensions: 355 x 228 x 11.9 mm / Weight 1.39kg
- Largely aluminium shell
Samsung is, strange as it may sound, a relative newcomer to laptops. It made a lot of the things back when slim and light laptops became 'a thing' years ago, before retreating from the European market for the better part of a decade, only to return in 2020.
In some respects the Galaxy Book Pro 360 shows how hard it is to make up for that lost time. It's a 15.6-incher with a 360-degree hinge, weighing just 1.3kg and paired with enough power for most people. So there's a lot going on here. Maybe too much?
Some people may ask why a 15.6-inch laptop needs to be this portable, but we get it. Before 2020 the Pocket-lint team used to travel all the time for work, and spending hour after hour hunched over a 13-inch or smaller screen gets old quickly.
A large screen matched with low weight has a real appeal. And unlike the excellent LG Gram series - which is arguably the main pioneer of this concept, as seen in the Gram 16 - you still get the cool and hard feel of aluminium body panels.
The Galaxy Book Pro 360's lid, keyboard surround, and underside are all aluminium. And while, sure, lighter magnesium alloys are metal too, they have less of the feel most of us associate with metal.
At first glance there's no real sacrifice though. The screen part is rigid enough. The Galaxy Book Pro 360's keyboard plate does not obviously bow under typing pressure, and when you pick it up by one corner (which you probably shouldn't do too often) the body plates don't bend.
However, after living with the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 for a while we did notice a few issues. You can trigger the touchpad clicker by pressing the underside of the laptop. Lean a little too much on the keyboard surround by the pad and the clicker gets pushed in. These are unsurprising, and minor, little issues that can crop up when you make a large, thin and light laptop. You should be aware of them, but we don't find them too hard to shrug off.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's somewhat weak hinge has affected how we actually use the thing in a clearer way. Like some previous Samsung hybrid models, it's too easy to make the hinge dip backwards with just a slight jog when working with the laptop on your knees. This is something we do all the time when not working at the office. Its resistance actually seems, if anything, weakest when you reach the most common angle for laptop use. Companies like Lenovo and Microsoft pay an awful lot of attention to their hinges, hybrid or otherwise, and Samsung seems a way behind in this area.
- 15.6-inch AMOLED display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 99.8% DCI P3 colour coverage
- Effectively infinite contrast
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 screen has been, surprisingly, something of a disappointment. But let's put this into context: when you send us a laptop with an OLED screen, we're going to expect something rather special.
So what happened? OLED screens in laptops are usually reserved for very high-end models, upgrades you might pay hundreds more for, and they typically offer a 4K resolution.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's OLED screen is a much less impressive Full HD (1080p) display, and in person it looks less sharp than your typical 15.6-inch LCD laptop screen. Text appears a little fuzzy and there's even what looks like chromatic aberration if you look up close (that kind of purple shadowing).
This laptop's effect happens because we're dealing with a sub-pixel structure less regimented than LCD's typical little similarly sized blocks of red, green and blue, and you can actually see this in action because of the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's reasonably large pixels, and how close you get to them.
We wanted to be wowed, but came away disappointed. To our eyes the Samsung's screen looks far less impressive than the pin-sharp 3000 x 2000 pixel screen of the Huawei MateBook Pro.
There's even an issue with the screen contrast. Unlike the other (generally very expensive) OLED laptops we've used, the screen here turns slightly blue-grey-ish when there's a good amount of ambient light in the room. This eats away at your appreciation of the two main benefits of OLED: exceptional colour and perfect contrast.
We decided to dig out a screen testing tool, a colorimeter, to see if the Galaxy Book Pro 360 still does provide OLED chops when not being chipped at away at by the outside world. Sure enough, it does. The screen's colour and contrast destroy anything you'd see from a laptop LCD screen. This might be the most colour-rich laptop panel you can get in a laptop at this price. And contrast is perfect, which will come across beautifully in a dim room.
But you simply don't see the full bore benefits of this colour and contrast in the sorts of environments you might use a laptop, unlike some better OLED displays.
Samsung also includes an S-Pen stylus with this laptop. This is a full-size pressure-sensitive pen, not the thin stick you get with Galaxy Note phones and the Galaxy Book Flex. There's nowhere to stash the pen on the laptop itself, though, dramatically increasing the chances of it ending up somewhere and remaining undiscovered until you move house.
Keyboard and touchpad
- Mechanical touchpad clicker
- Three-level backlight
- 1mm key travel
- NUM pad
There's more mixed news in the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's keyboard. It is, as in other Samsung laptops, a shallow 'board.
If you're going to spend hours and hours at a time typing away writing emails, essays, articles, or that novel you always meant to crank out, we think you might prefer the LG Gram 16. LG's big 'n' light laptops have surprisingly deep keys that are more enjoyable to type on.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's is a little shallow and clicky for our tastes. However, it's still much better than the 2020 Samsung Galaxy Book Flex. So it's an improved shallow keyboard, but it's still shallow.
There are no issues with the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 touchpad though. It's very large, has a textured glass surface, and zero 'floaty wobble'. This is everything a premium laptop touchpad should have. Sure, the click action doesn't have the darker mellow feel of the very best, and the 'click' itself resonates through the keyboard plate - likely another affect of making the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 so thin and light - but we're happy using it.
- Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU
- 512GB NVMe SSD
- 8GB RAM
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 has either a Core i5-1135G7 or a Core i7-1165G7 CPU. These are low voltage processors designed for thin-and-light laptops, but the higher-end version we have competes surprisingly well with the less power-frugal H-series chipset used in the MacBook Pro 16.
Why? Apple currently uses old 9th Gen Intel chipsets, although you can bet the next version will have an Apple-made processor able to wipe the floor with either option of Intel CPU when running optimised apps.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's general performance is excellent, the SSD is fast, and thanks to the Intel Xe graphics built into these 11th generation Intel processors, you can play a bunch of games that were top-of-the-line titles just a few years ago.
This is also where the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's OLED screen starts to shine. Get away from perfectly lit rooms and web pages full of small text and you can really appreciate the colour and contrast of OLED.
We wouldn't buy the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 if we were after a gaming laptop, of course. We'd buy something like the Razer Blade 15 with RTX 3060 instead, which costs about a hundred more than this laptop. But the Samsung's gaming performance is not bad for an 'outsider'.
The Galaxy Book Pro 360's fans are relatively noisy though. But they're at their most distracting when you're doing normal work and light stuff, when they sometimes decide to spin up and down to start shovelling out the excess heat. There's a higher-pitch element to the fan noise that is hard to ignore, and it stood out rather clearly next to the far quieter Huawei Matebook Pro. Proactive heat management is good, but the less obvious that it is happening at all, the better.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360's speakers are largely loud enough to compete with the fan whir, but mostly thanks to fairly aggressive use of Dolby processing. This pulls higher loudness out of tiny laptop drivers, giving off a good first impression. But we're not even close to the sound of a MacBook or Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 as there's pretty much zero bass, giving the sound limited dynamic range and a flat character.
- USB-C charging
- 65W compact charger
- Claimed 20 hour battery life (~12 hours as tested)
We're just about done with our Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 grumbles. It's mostly smooth from here on out. Battery life being one of this laptop's stronger parts.
Samsung says it lasts up to 20 hours, which is a pretty wild claim - and one that did not bear out in our testing. However, the laptop did last for 12 hours 20 minutes of light productivity use with the screen at the sort of brightness level you might use indoors. That's good going.
An AMD version might last even longer. But there's no AMD version. And MacBook Pro and Air alternatives will last a lot longer under pressure, which will see that ~12.5 hour figure drop way down in the Samsung. But you can't get a MacBook with Apple's power-saving processor and a screen this big. Yet.
It's a Samsung win because there's no sense battery life has been sacrificed to make the laptop slimmer or lighter. And all-day stamina is exactly what we want in a computer made for portable use.
Samsung's Galaxy Book Pro 360 charger is also kind-of brilliant. It is no bigger than some phone chargers, and far lighter than the average laptop power brick.
OK, so we said there were no more grumbles in this review. There's one. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 does not have a USB-A port, so you'll need an adapter dongle wotsit to plug in any accessories that aren't fairly new. There are three USB-Cs, a headphone jack and a very welcome microSD slot though.
The 720p webcam is typical fare, soft even in the best lighting. But at least it sits above the screen rather than hidden behind part of the keyboard as in some rivals, highlighting your preference for pizza instead of that interesting point you're trying to make in a work meeting.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a mixed bag. Its portability is superb thanks to its slim, low-weight design. The fairly long battery life and tiny charger brick are great too. This is just the sort of laptop we'd like to take to an overseas conference.
But there are problems. We'd rather have a higher-resolution LCD than the slightly fuzzy-looking Full HD OLED panel used here. It may have spectacular colour and contrast, but just doesn't look that great for everyday work in most 'normal' conditions.
The hinge is a little loose, too, and you'll notice a couple of little build compromises here - despite the aluminium panels being used - and the keyboard is somewhat shallow. Plus those fans are some of the most noticeable we've heard in a thin and light laptop.
There are unusual strengths here, but a bunch of weaknesses. So it's about weighing up the whether Samsung's Pro 360 is a match for your needs or not. We find the non-hybrid LG Gram series laptops easier to recommend, but the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is arguably more ambitious.
LG Gram 16
We haven't reviewed the hybrid versions of the LG Gram laptops yet. But we are fans of the standard hinge ones. They last even longer than the Samsung off a charge, are lighter still, and have deeper keyboards. However, you miss out on that cool feel of aluminium as they are made of magnesium alloy to keep the weight ultra-low.
MacBook Pro 16
A MacBook Pro 16 is the sort-of rival from Apple. It's heavier, far more expensive, nor is there a hybrid hinge or a touchscreen. However, it's better prepped for heavy workloads and, despite using an LCD screen rather than an OLED, the display looks much, much better in person.