After two smartphone-centric launches earlier in the year, April's Unpacked event saw Samsung shift its focus to laptops. The company announced five brand-new additions to the Galaxy Book range, including mid-range models, a new 'Pro' line and gaming laptop refresh.
Samsung was widely expected to announce new laptops at Unpacked, with six new Galaxy Book devices rumoured prior to the event's official confirmation. It suggests there's more to come from the Korean giant. Indeed, Samsung teased that new 5G-enabled PCs were on their way soon, as it attempts to replicate smartphone and TV success in the increasingly competitive laptop market. Here's everything you need to know about the new Galaxy Book devices.
Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360
The headline news from the Unpacked event was the arrival of a brand-new laptop line, known as Galaxy Book Pro. As the name suggests, these devices offer a premium PC experience, albeit at a price that undercuts the Galaxy Book Flex 2.
Both the regular Galaxy Book Pro and convertible Pro 360 are available in 13.3in and 15.6in models, and they have plenty more in common. All offer a Full HD (1920x1080) OLED display, although only the Pro 360 supports touch input.
That’s primarily due to its 360° hinge, which also allows the device to be used as a tablet and in ‘tent’ mode. It’s the only new Galaxy Book to come bundled with an S-Pen, but the the stylus' relatively chunky build means it can't be housed directly in the device like the Flex 2.
The full Galaxy Book Pro lineup is powered by Intel’s latest 11th-gen processors, alongside up to 32GB of RAM and a max 1TB SSD (microSD expandable). Both use integrated graphics rather than discrete GPUs, with Intel's UHD graphics on the i3 models and the more recent Iris Xe with the i5 and i7. Mobile data is limited to 4G, although new 5G devices are expected later this year.
13.3in models of both the Pro and Pro 360 come with a 63Wh battery, while 15.6in variants step up slightly to 68Wh. All support 65W fast charging via the adapter in the box, although Samsung hasn’t quoted figures on how quickly it can regain capacity.
Disappointingly, it doesn’t look like webcam quality has been a priority for Samsung. Both devices come with just a 1Mp sensor, capable of 720p video.
The standard Galaxy Book Pro starts at £1,099/US$999.99, while you’ll pay at least £1,199/US$1,199.99 for the Pro 360. In the UK and US, both will be available to purchase from 14 May via the Samsung website and several third-party retailers, with pre-orders eligible for a free pair of Galaxy Buds Pro wireless earbuds.
The regular Galaxy Book has plenty in common with its Pro siblings, but manages to drop the starting price to a much more appealing £699 (approx. US$800). It sacrifices slightly on a premium design and is only available in an LCD 15.6in model, but besides that there aren’t many trade-offs.
It still uses Intel’s latest 11th-gen chips, still has a Full HD display and sticks with a fingerprint scanner built into the power button. However, the keyboard isn’t backlit like the Pro devices, and the touchpad is smaller. If you’re content with these compromises, the Galaxy Book could be a solid mid-range alternative to the Honor MagicBook 14 and Lenovo Yoga Slim 7.
Until this launch, the Galaxy Book range has been very expensive, with the £949 Galaxy Book S the cheapest option unless you opted for a Chromebook. Starting at £699 (approx. US$800), the new Galaxy Book is by no means a budget device, but it does offer a more affordable route into the Samsung laptop ecosystem.
It will also be available directly from Samsung in the UK on 14 May, as well as via a selection of third-party retailers. However, it's not expected to arrive in the US until the second half of 2021.
US-only Galaxy Books (for now)
The Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha wasn't unveiled at the Unpacked event, although it is now listed on the Samsung US website. As the name suggests, this is a more affordable version of the high-end Flex 2 convertible, although it does come with a 1080p QLED display and i5 or i7 processors. Both 13.3in and 15.6in sizes come with a 360° hinge, as well as up to 16GB RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.
The Flex 2 Alpha is available to pre-order in the US, starting at $849 (approx. £609). That's ahead of the device going on sale from mid-May, although no global launch details have been revealed.
The same can be said of the new Galaxy Book Odyssey, a refresh of Samsung's main gaming laptop. Its main upgrade is the option for RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti graphics cards, discrete GPUs that haven't been announced by Nvidia yet. Other key features include Intel Core H i5 or i7 processors, up to 32GB RAM and a max 2TB SSD. It will start at US$1,399 (approx. £1,000) when it ships in August, but global availability isn't yet known.