Benefits of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra:
- A brilliant OLED screen (16”, 120 Hz, 16:10 ratio).
- RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU graphics card for demanding applications.
- Galaxy feature compatibility.
- The sleek design even with the full number pad.
Cons of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra:
- An inconvenient, shiny display, not practical for nomads.
- A correct autonomy which requires strong ventilation.
- A large touchpad that generates too many false notes.
- But where is the full-size SD card reader?
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the ultrabook I personally use for work and play. (And by “playing”, I mean having fun with the visual and graphic effects in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Because yes, video games on Mac, I do not recommend.
But I’ve been testing the base model Galaxy Book 3 Ultra over the past week, and it’s clear to me now that Samsung wants to bump it to the top of your top laptop list. Ideally, above the MacBook Pro.
Galaxy Book 3 Ultra Specifications
- Display : 16-inch 3K AMOLED (2880 x 1800, 16:10), 120Hz
- Processor : Intel Core i7-13700H or i9-13900H
- Graphic card : Nvidia RTX GeForce 4050 or 4070
- RAM/storage : 16 / 32 GB of RAM with 512 GB / 1 TB
- Battery : 76Wh (up to 5 p.m.)
- Dimensions : 35.53cm x 25cm x 1.65cm
- Weight : 1.79kg
- Ports : 1x HDMI 2.0, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB 3.2, 1x microSD, 1x 3.5 mm audio jack
Price : from 3500 € (i7, 32GB, RTX 4050)
A classic design
At first glance, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is unremarkable. Hide the Samsung logo and it can easily pass for yet another big-screen laptop. Thankfully, its solid aluminum construction feels far superior to an average laptop, and thanks to subtle corners and smooth curves, this 16-inch laptop feels more portable than a MacBook. Similar size pro. If I had to lug a laptop around through a work day, I would choose the Samsung without hesitation.
But it’s not just the sleek design that gives the Galaxy Book the edge. It weighs just under 1.8 kg and is significantly lighter than other large laptops I have had in my hands. It is possible to lift it with one hand.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is surprisingly thin for a 16-inch laptop. June Wan/ZDNET
But the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has two flaws: vibration and the screen’s glossy finish. While the screen is absolutely stunning to look at (we’ll get to that later), it does tend to wobble when I tap on my lap or any slightly tilted surface. The shaking is only accentuated when the glossy screen begins to reflect every ray of light around a room or, even worse, outside.
Will you notice those tremors when you’re focused on the display? Probably not. Would a matte screen have been more comfortable to watch? Absolutely.
What a display!
But believe it or not, I still consider the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra’s display to be one of its biggest selling points. It’s a 16-inch, 120Hz, 3K AMOLED display, with most of the technology coming from Samsung’s high-end smartphones. To say the least, the colors displayed on this laptop’s screen are vivid, outstanding, and bright enough in most environments. For games and multimedia use, it’s a real treat.
For content creation and multitasking, the 16:10 ratio is ideal here. And while the Ultra model doesn’t have a 360-degree hinge or touchscreen like the Galaxy Pro and 360, its more conventional design is more inspiring at work. Plus, a touchscreen and glossy display would have been a visual disaster.
The thin bezels of the 16-inch screen make it a little more manageable. June Wan/ZDNET
Optimal use of space?
The underside of the laptop features what I can only describe as generous but questionable additions. I appreciate the large number pad (even though the keys are narrower than my desktop keyboard), the tactile and bouncy keys, and the abundance of ports on the left and right sides, including one for the USB-A!
I appreciate that Samsung included a slew of inputs/outputs, but I wish one of the two USB-C ports was located on the right side of the laptop. This way I have more flexibility when recharging. Besides, Samsung has replaced the SD card reader with a micro SD card reader, which makes no sense if the targeted users are creators, people who are likely to store photos and videos on an SD card. .
The keys have good travel and are evenly distributed across the chassis. June Wan/ZDNET
Another thing I don’t like is the trackpad. Although massive, the new trackpad is not only off-center, it doesn’t register pressure on its top half. As a result, there have been several times when the laptop registers a double tap as a single tap and vice versa. Remember, I came from the MacBook Pro and was absolutely spoiled by its Force Touch trackpad.
A dedicated graphics card matters
The everyday performance of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is admirable. My typical workflow revolves around three desktop computers: one for Slack, Microsoft Outlook and media playback, another with a CMS and all the tabs I need for my research, and the last with Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro for editing. And then there are also the occasional video calls.
My Galaxy Book 3 Ultra was the base model (13th Gen Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050), and it handled it all without noticeable hitch. We can attribute the fluidity of the laptop to the integration of a dedicated graphics card and fairly powerful fans.
A closer look at the difference in keyboard layouts between the Galaxy Book (left) and MacBook (right). June Wan/ZDNET
Thanks to its dedicated GPU, the Galaxy Book smoothly runs my usual photo and video editing, high-resolution images and raw footage. The demanding test I usually do is to apply several layers of Gaussian blur to a timeline and see if the laptop is having difficulty playing. The Galaxy Book only showed signs of weakness once its battery dropped below 40%. And in this case, the fans are noisy enough to remind me that I have the battery in its last intrenchments.
In a normal working day, I used an average of six and a half hours per charge: that’s not bad, but not great either. On days when I was doing more video editing, file downloading, and a bit of gaming (because that’s what you do when you have a dedicated GPU in a laptop), I saw the percentage of the battery drops by 20% every hour.
The benchmark results are…
For those who love benchmarks, here’s how the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra fares in the Geekbench 6 and Cinebench R23 tests against the 16-inch MacBook Pros (M1 Pro and M2 Max).
By the numbers, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is neck and neck with Apple’s older MacBook, but the M2 Max version is still a cut above the competition when it comes to multi-core performance.
If your Twitter feed won’t load faster with one laptop scoring higher than the other, expect seconds (or even minutes) to be saved when it comes to graphics-intensive apps like the exporting 4K videos and loading AAA games.
A fully-fledged ecosystem
Like Apple, Samsung has set up an ecosystem of its own. This is, in my opinion, the main reason why the Galaxy Book, not to mention the Ultra model, is a solution to consider. With the latest laptops, Galaxy users can sync their smartphones and tablets to take advantage of features like Multi Control, which lets you navigate and control multiple devices through the Galaxy Book’s keyboard and trackpad, Quick Share for wireless data transfer, and more.
In fact, all product photos featured in this article were taken by the Galaxy S23 I tested, transferred to the Galaxy Book Ultra via Quick Share, and edited from the laptop. The process was pleasantly smooth and it took less than a minute for the two devices to recognize each other. It even looked like there was an error after transferring 4K videos from phone to laptop in less than a minute…
Conclusion of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra review
In the end, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is displayed at 3500 € for the Intel Core i7 configuration, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. That’s a hefty price tag for a big laptop, but if we compare it to its latest and closest Apple alternative (Mac Book Pro, 16GB/1TB with M2 processor) but more powerful, then Samsung gets away with it. come out well. And in its defense, Samsung gives you a lot for that amount, including a dedicated graphics card, one of the best-looking laptop screens around, and an uncompromising keyboard. The only notable flaws are the glossy screen, oversized trackpad, and moderate battery life.
Should I buy a Galaxy Book 3 Ultra?
For content creators and business users, especially if you already own a Samsung smartphone or tablet, I think the Ultra Laptop is worth splurging on. It’s also one of the few non-gaming laptops that I would sincerely recommend to those who play.
But at a starting price of $3,500, there are plenty of other more affordable but equally powerful laptops you should consider, including the MacBook Pro (with the M1 Pro processor). I’d also look elsewhere if you rely heavily on an SD card for file transfer. In my case, I continue to shoot photos and videos with a mirrorless device, and being able to move my files locally, without worrying about tangling wireless connections, is a must for me.
Source : “ZDNet.com”