Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360: A beautiful thin-and-light PC
PCWorld|July 2021
Samsung’s new notebook ranks among the best thin-and-light convertible notebooks we’ve ever reviewed.
MARK HACHMAN

Even in an era of progressively lighter notebooks (go. pcworld.com/prlt), larger thin-and-light laptop options like the 15-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 are relatively rare. Sure, you might buy it because it simply won’t break your back. But a stunning multimedia experience and shocking all-day battery life demand additional praise.

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360 lends credence to Intel’s Evo program (go.pcworld. com/iev0), from which this laptop graduated. Thin-and-light laptop keyboards can be iffy, though, and this laptop suffers accordingly. Samsung also loads up the Book Pro 360 with apps for just about everything. Nevertheless, we’ve awarded this laptop our Editor’s Choice award. Read on for why.

BASIC FEATURES

Samsung offers the Galaxy Book Pro 360 in either a 13.3-inch or a 15.6-inch configuration. Prices start at $1,199 (the minimal 13-inch spec: Core i7/8GB RAM/256GB SSD) and $1,299 for the cheapest 15-inch configuration with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. It’s worth highlighting that our review unit and price includes a 1TB SSD, a luxury in an era of 256GB and 512GB notebooks.

Note that all of the Galaxy Book Pro 360 models ship with a Samsung S Pen (go. pcworld.com/amsm) in the box, which would normally cost about $32 on Amazon. At press time, Samsung.com (go.pcworld. com/smsm) was the only source for the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360.

If those prices are still too expensive, consider the similar Samsung Galaxy Book Pro (go.pcworld.com/ sgbp), a traditional clamshell with a few differences: the lack of an included S Pen, for example, as well as a non-touch display. The Book Pro also includes a USB Type A port. Otherwise, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 we’re reviewing requires purchasing one of our recommended USB-C hubs (go.pcworld. com/hsbu) to connect to devices with a USB-A connector.

Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7

Display: 13.3-inch or 15.5-inch (as tested): 1920x1080 (AMOLED, touch)

Memory: 8GB/16GB LPDDR4x (16GB as tested)

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD (as tested)

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe

Ports: 1 USB-C (Thunderbolt 4); 2 USB-C, microSD, 3.5mm jack

Security: Fingerprint reader

Camera: 720p (user-facing)

Battery: 67.0Wh (design), 68.0Wh (reported)

Wireless: WiFi 6E Gig+ (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1

Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Dimensions: 13.97 x 8.98 x 0.47in.

Weight: 3.02lb, 3.38lb with charger (as weighed)

Colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Navy (as tested)

Prices: $1,499 as tested (Samsung.com [go.pcworld.com/14ts]); otherwise $1,199 and up

CONSTRUCTION

Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360 proudly proclaims itself a member of Intel’s flagship Evo lineup via a small sticker on its keyboard deck, and it deserves it. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a beautiful piece of engineering, very much in the mold of the Surface Laptop (go. pcworld.com/msf4): all cool, glossy metal and minimalist ports. We received our review unit in the Mystic Navy color scheme, and the blue hue is virtually indistinguishable from black in most lighting.

It’s also the first laptop in a very long while that’s persuaded me to care about how thin it is, especially when folded back flat. Remember, this is a 360-degree convertible, which can be reclined all the way back into tablet mode. The Book Pro 360’s hinge holds the display true even when almost fully reclined, though it oscillates back and forth before settling in.

Less obvious but equally profound is the weight—this is a notebook that you can easily pick up by a corner and set down somewhere else. Samsung used aluminum to construct the Galaxy Book Pro 360, but it felt absolutely stable with no give in the keyboard or to the chassis. While you can theoretically open the laptop with a single finger, its lightweight and the slick, stubby feet beneath it nearly caused me to push it off my test stand when I tried.

As many notebooks do, the Samsung Galaxy Pro 360 pulls cool air from the bottom of the notebook and vents it out the back through a grille hidden within the hinge. Samsung shipped the notebook set to the middle “better performance” tier in the Windows power/performance slider. Under load, the fan noise increases to a moderate but not annoying hiss, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the fan turned off, about fifteen seconds after exiting out of a computationally intensive application.

Samsung’s thin, light aesthetic extends to its port choices, which include a pair of USB-C ports and a third USB-C port that includes Thunderbolt 4 capabilities. Which one is which? Good luck trying to tell. There’s a virtually indistinguishable “lightning bolt” logo that signals that the front left USB-C port is Thunderbolt-enabled, and a blue LED next to it. Otherwise, you’ll be left trying to figure out which port is which.

We’d recommend connecting the 65W cellular-style charger to one of the other USB-C ports and dedicating the Thunderbolt port to one of our recommended Thunderbolt docks (go.pcworld.com/rctd) instead. Alternatively, you can buy a cheaper, slower USB-C hub (go.pcworld.com/hsbu) to connect to older devices that use a USB Type A connector. Samsung also includes a microSD card slot on the Galaxy Book Pro 360, allowing you to “sneakernet” a microSD card from a Samsung Galaxy Phone if you don’t want to use one of the installed wireless apps like Galaxy Share that comes preinstalled on the notebook.

DISPLAY AND AUDIO

Samsung has a well-deserved reputation for its dramatic OLED screens on its TVs, tablets and phones, and its Super AMOLED display (an OLED screen (go.pcworld.com/oled) with an active matrix and touchscreen on top of it) certainly doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a content creator, you can be assured that Samsung is nearly perfect in satisfying the various color gamuts. In part, that’s because Samsung offers several color options. There’s a general AMOLED color profile, but also separate display profiles within the Windows 10 Settings menu, each tuned to the AdobeRGB, P3, or sRGB color space.

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