It's surprising that Samsung has taken so long to launch laptops in India. The brand is highly regarded and has a huge network of stores as well as service centres. In addition to its thriving smartphone ecosystem and home appliance lines, Samsung is one of the top global brands when it comes to monitors and solid-state storage. It also supplies components to some of the world's biggest brands. We've seen Samsung laptops at international trade shows, and now the first models have finally come to India. The portfolio is relatively small for now, but the company tells us that more models and variants are on the way, from entry-level to gaming.
For now, I have a premium ultraportable 2-in-1 model to review, the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360. It's available in 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch models, weighing just 1.04kg and 1.41kg respectively. There's also a standard clamshell offering, the Galaxy book 2 Pro, which is even lighter, starting at just 870g, for those who don't want a 2-in-1. It should be interesting to see how Samsung sets itself apart in a market with several established as well as new brands, so read on.
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 can be used in "stand" mode with its screen flipped around to be easier to reach
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (13.3-inch) price in India
Samsung has several options listed on its website. There's just one configuration with a 15.6-inch screen. It's priced at Rs. 1,29,990 with an Intel Core i7 CPU, and it's only available in Graphite. The 13.3-inch models are all available only in Silver, and you can choose between a Core i7 CPU for Rs. 1,20,990 and a Core i5 CPU for Rs. 1,15,990.
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro is also offered in the same two screen size options, and there's also only one 15.6-inch option at this time. As for the 13.3-inch versions, the prices are Rs. 1,06,990 for a unit with a Core i5 CPU and Rs. 1,14,990 for a Core i7 CPU, both in Silver.
At its global launch, Samsung had announced that the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 in both sizes would be available with either CPU and in Silver as well as Graphite, with an additional Burgundy option for the smaller model, so these options might pop up later. You can claim a pair of Galaxy Buds 2 true wireless earphones for Rs. 999 with each purchase and get Rs. 5,000 cashback if you're a customer of a certain bank.
The keyboard layout is uncomplicated and the trackpad is quite large
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (13.3-inch) design
2-in-1s tend to be somewhat bulky and unwieldy when folded into tablet mode, but the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 might actually be thin and light enough to be practical to use as a tablet. It weighs just 1.04kg and is only 11.5mm thick (when folded closed). It's comparable to the current-gen MacBook Air (Review) in terms of size and volume, but is noticeably lighter. This laptop will easily slip into any shoulder bag or backpack and I could carry it around with me all day without feeling fatigued. The Intel Evo badge indicates that Samsung has gone through Intel's certification process to hit certain targets in terms of performance and portability.
Build quality is solid too. The all-metal body feels sturdy and the hinges are stiff yet smooth. You can flip the lid around in one smooth motion and you only need one finger to raise it. You don't need to hold the base down to lift the lid, which is often the case with ultraportable laptops, but it takes a bit of effort because of the strong magnets holding the lid closed.
The back of the keyboard deck curves downwards where it meets the hinges, and the chin of the monitor curves forward to lie flat against it when closed. However, this means that when flipped around into the tablet position, there's a pronounced edge right where you'd naturally hold the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360, so it dug into my palm a little. This is also where you'll find a large exhaust vent – but more on that later.
The slim chassis only allows for Thunderbolt and USB Type-C ports, but the microSD slot and 3.5mm jack are also useful
Samsung has gone with a completely plain matte brushed metal finish for the lid, and there's a relatively small off-centre brand logo. This gives the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 quite a premium look. The lid did get a bit smudged after a week or two of regular use, but you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth. You'll notice two dots, which are the stereo microphones, on the narrow side of the lid.
The 13.3-inch touchscreen has a relatively thick black chin, and Samsung could have gone with a 16:10 panel rather than 16:9 to use this space more effectively. The top and side borders are relatively slim, but even so there's space for a webcam at the top. This device is too slim for most types of ports but you do get one Thunderbolt and one USB Type-C port on the left along with a charging status LED, and there's another Type-C port on the right as well as a microSD card slot and 3.5mm audio socket.
The keyboard layout is fairly standard. The arrow keys are compressed into one row but they are at least wide and spaced out. The power button in the upper right corner has an integrated fingerprint sensor. This placement is a bit surprising – 2-in-1s usually have their power buttons on the side so they aren't easy to press accidentally in tablet mode or inaccessible in stand mode. The entire keyboard is disabled when the hinge is pushed back beyond 180 degrees, including the power button and therefore the fingerprint sensor.
Samsung includes a stylus in the box but there's no way to attach it to the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 so you'll have to carry it around separately and remember not to leave it behind anywhere. You also get a smartphone-like 65W wall-wart charger and a fairly long USB Type-C cable with this device. The charger is unfortunately quite wide, and it blocked adjacent sockets on my power strip.
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is surprisingly slim and light, but still feels solid
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (13.3-inch) specifications and software
You can choose between Intel Core i5-1240P and the Core i7-1260P CPU. Both are 12th Gen models based on Intel's ‘Alder Lake' architecture. The P-series is aimed at high-end thin-and-lights, which is exactly what the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is. This is part of a new naming convention, representing a 28W target TDP (which is configurable by each laptop manufacturer). Interestingly, both the Core i5 and Core i7 option have the same core count – four “performance” cores with Hyper-Threading and eight “efficient” cores. The Core i7, which I have in my review unit, runs faster at up to 4.7GHz. It also has more total cache memory and a more powerful integrated Intel Xe GPU with more execution units that run a little faster, compared to its Core i5 sibling.
Samsung has gone with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD as standard across both variants. LPDDR5 RAM by nature is soldered and not upgradeable, but the SSD appears to be a standard M.2 module (manufactured by Samsung itself, of course). The battery capacity is 63Wh. You also get Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6E. The webcam has a 1080p video resolution.
The 13.3-inch touchscreen uses an AMOLED panel and has a standard 1920x1080 pixel resolution. Samsung's spec sheet says nothing about HDR compatibility but the Windows 11 settings contain options not only to enable it for video playback but also to attempt to enhance games. This allowed for flawless HDR video playback on YouTube, but other services might have their own compatibility requirements. For sound, there are stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (13.3-inch) comes with Windows 11 and a surprising amount of preinstalled software. For starters, you get a full Microsoft Office Home & Student 2021 license. There's also a McAfee Live Safe trial, which constantly threw up annoying ads using scare tactics to try to make me subscribe. Clip Studio is an app that lets you sketch with a stylus, and you get a trial of this as well. Then there's Facebook Messenger, Spotify, Prime Video, Instagram, Google Duo (as a pinned download link), and more.
The main issue however is the huge number of Samsung's own apps and features that are shoved in. Several of these run constantly in the background and many are poorly designed or seem to duplicate Windows functions for no reason. My unit had over 20 Samsung apps, some of which were Bixby, Notes, Gallery, Flow, Studio Plus, Air Command, Galaxy Book Experience, Smart Switch, S Service, PenUp, Private Share, Quick Share, Quick Search, File Tracker, SmartThings, and Second Screen.
I didn't go through what each and every one of them does, but I was forced to deal with some of them – for instance, after initial setup, Samsung Update offered me a few driver patches that the Windows Update utility didn't. Some of these apps are meant to offer functions that you'd expect of phone apps, while some integrate with Samsung's other hardware including tablets and phones, to create an Apple-esque ecosystem. I can see the potential use of Second Screen and Quick Share, but I wish the experience wasn't so fragmented and messy.
The inside of the lid is slightly thicker at the bottom, and you can feel this edge when holding the device buy its edge in tablet mode
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (13.3-inch) performance
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is about as compact as laptops can be today without severely sacrificing performance or features. This is what will really make people take a second look – just pick it up and you can immediately tell how convenient it will be to carry around every day, compared to any mainstream laptop from the past few years. The keyboard and trackpad are quite comfortable. I wasn't especially impressed with the webcam, but it will do just fine for work-related video calls.
The main usability issue became evident after just a few minutes' casual use. Even when sitting idle, the middle of the Fn key row and the metal area above the keyboard were noticeably warm. Simple tasks such as using Windows Explorer or copying files off an external SSD made the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 heat up. It was much less comfortable to work with this laptop on my lap than, for example, a MacBook Air. Under heavy load and even when charging, parts of this laptop were actually too hot to touch for more than a second or two.
As stated earlier, the placement of the exhaust vent means that hot air will shoot directly into your palm if you hold this device by its long edge when in tablet mode. The hot area around the keyboard will be what rests against your body when it's folded around. It became a bit awkward to use the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 when lying down or relaxing – it's best placed on a table in either laptop or stand mode (with the keyboard acting as a base).
All this means that despite its outstanding portability, this isn't the easiest device to work with when commuting, and it is significantly less convenient as a tablet than an Android device or iPad. It's still a pleasure to not be weighed down while commuting, and you'd be able to have it handy in places and situations that you might not currently be used to carrying a laptop to, but there are limits to its usefulness.
Aside from that, performance was snappy and there's more than enough power here to get all your everyday work done, plus a bit of light entertainment. Whether for professional or personal use, today's PC user needs to multitask heavily, take video calls, and spend a lot of time online. The Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 managed all of that quite handily in my time with it.
The Galaxy Book Pro 2 360 has a simple but premium-looking metal exterior
The AMOLED touchscreen is not too reflective and it's crisp enough, with colours that pop nicely and very wide viewing angles. Videos looked good, and enabling HDR manually will let you enjoy HDR content as well. Sound from the stereo speakers is unfortunately thin and a bit harsh when listening to music, but voices come through clearly.
Windows' UI scaling is set to 150 percent by default, which works if you're planning to use this as a tablet, but I much preferred the density of content 125 percent. The screen does wobble a bit when touched, which is normal for such slim laptops. As a tablet, other than ergonomic issues, this device is still quite responsive and easy to use. The stylus is not active and doesn't need to be paired or kept charged. It works well enough for scribbling notes and doodling but pro users might want something more precise. I also found that the narrow screen borders made it easy to inadvertently trigger Windows 11's edge gestures.
In terms of benchmarks, we see pretty good performance across the board. PCMark 10 produced scores of 4,487 and 4,176 in its standard and extended runs. Cinebench R20 managed 527 and 2,500 points respectively in its single-core and multi-core tests which is interesting considering the two different CPU core types at this device's disposal. POV-Ray's built-in render benchmark ran in 1 minute, 58 seconds.
The NVMe SSD that Samsung ships with this laptop was also fairly impressive, posting 856.4MBps random reads and 1,075.2MBps random writes, as measured by CrystalDiskMark. Compressing a 3.24GB folder of assorted files using 7zip took 2 minutes, 8 seconds, while transcoding a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265 took 1 minute, 58 seconds.
You won't be able to play heavy 3D games. The Unigine Superposition benchmark averaged 40.61fps but only when using the 720p Low preset. Shadow of the Tomb Raider isn't too demanding, but it still only managed a 20fps average at 1080p using the Lowest quality setting, and 26fps with the resolution dialled down to 1280x720, in its built-in benchmark. Similarly, Middle Earth: Shadow of War achieved a reasonable 37fps average using its Low preset at 1280x720. Casual games should be fine, though.
Despite being such a slim and light 2-in-1, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 did surprisingly well in terms of battery life. I got through a full workday with a lot of Web browsing and work in online apps, plus some video streaming and general testing, with around 20 percent still left. Samsung has implemented some power-saving measures of its own, and you can also switch between High Performance, Silent, Quiet, and Optimised modes with a keyboard shortcut. The intense Battery Eater Pro test ran for a pretty impressive 3 hours, 11 minutes before draining the battery completely. Using the bundled charger, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 got from zero to 42 percent in 30 minutes and 83 percent in an hour, but only if it was not on while charging.
The vent expels hot air backwards in laptop mode but can make it difficult to hold the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 like a tablet
Samsung might be new to the Indian laptop market but it's no stranger to premium devices. In terms of design, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is extremely impressive. It feels fresh, slick, and futuristic and I was repeatedly surprised by how light it is when I picked it up over the course of the review period. The spec sheet checks a lot of boxes and the 2-in-1 functionality is just nice to have even if you aren't specifically looking for it.
Performance is great for an ultraportable and battery life deserves a special shoutout, but when it comes to actual usability, there are various small niggles and one big issue – heat. I had trouble using this laptop when out and about because it was just too hot to work with on my lap. I also needed to take breaks when typing. When I wanted to relax and use it as a tablet, I had to hold it in very specific ways and stick to basic tasks.
Despite being so light, this 2-in-1 can't match the sheer convenience of a tablet. If you're trying to decide between the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 and its non-2-in-1 sibling, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, you should really think about how and when you'll use your device, because the latter option is slightly lighter and less expensive.
I'm glad that Samsung has finally launched laptops in India, but I hope that it also brings more mainstream models here at more approachable prices. It's also possible that the 15.6-inch version of the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 will have better airflow and more robust cooling. If you're looking for a premium ultraportable 2-in-1 and like the look of the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 or want a computer that will integrate closely with your Samsung phone, do try it out in person at an official retail outlet to see if it will work for you.
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