Samsung has announced the Galaxy Book3 Ultra, a 16-inch workstation laptop with a 120Hz OLED screen, an H-Series Core i7 or Core i9, and an RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU.
Samsung makes a number of Galaxy Book models, but this is the first one of the past few years that has really targeted the deep-pocketed professional user — that is, the core audience for Apple’s high-powered and wildly expensive MacBook Pro 16. It’ll start at $2,399.99 ($100 cheaper than the base MacBook Pro 16), with a release date still to be announced.
Like its siblings in the Galaxy Book3 line, a big draw of this workstation will be its screen. It’s got a 2880 x 1800 120Hz 16:10 OLED display (a welcome change from the 16:9 panels that adorned last year’s Galaxy Book2) rated for 400 nits of brightness, and it looked quite good in Samsung’s demo area. I watched various YouTube videos, and the colors looked unusually bright and vivid. There was a fair bit of glare (it was a bright room), but I still didn’t feel that I needed to crank the panel up to full brightness in order to get a good experience.
Elsewhere, using the device felt pretty similar to using any number of other Samsung Galaxy Books, with a satisfyingly clicky keyboard, a smooth finish, a high-quality build, and a compact chassis. The Ultra is 0.65 inches thick and 3.9 pounds, which is slightly thinner and close to a pound lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro that Apple just released — and all else being equal (which, of course, it is not), I’d much rather have Samsung’s device in my backpack.
I was able to use a number of Samsung’s continuity features, including Second Screen (which allows you to easily use a Galaxy Tab as a second monitor) and Quick Share (which allows you to quickly transfer images and other files between Samsung devices). For Samsung enthusiasts, those seem like handy features that aren’t too much of a hassle to set up.
The one feature I had issues with was the touchpad — it registered some of my two-finger clicks as one-finger clicks and wasn’t quite picking up all of my scrolls. The units in Samsung’s demo area were preproduction devices, so I hope this is a kink Samsung can iron out before the final release.
The Book3 Ultra is priced fairly similarly to a MacBook Pro; the base Book3 is $100 cheaper than the base MacBook Pro 16 with the same RAM and storage. Potentially, I can see this slotting in as a slightly cheaper alternative option for professionals with graphics-heavy workloads who are looking for something a bit more portable than a MacBook.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how it will stack up when it comes to battery life. The M2 generation of MacBooks is very strong on that front — and given that the Galaxy Book3 Ultra is running a high-resolution screen, a power-hungry H-series processor, and a very power-hungry RTX GPU, I’m a little bit nervous about that. If Samsung can pull off a device that lasts nearly as long as Apple’s do, given those factors, hats off to them.