Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Silver bullet
At first glance, it would appear that the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is a high-end laptop bargain. No other 15 ins laptop offers the same level of features at the price and it’s an impressive performer with decent battery life, too.
That said, it does have some flaws that undermine its charge toward a five-star rating. What’s more, Apple’s forthcoming M2 MacBook Air is likely to steal Samsung’s thunder. With the new M2-powered Air an odds-on favorite to grab the title of best laptop for most people, Samsung has its work cut out to convince consumers that the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is the better choice.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: What you need to know
If your next laptop absolutely has to have a touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge, this could be the machine for you. It comes with a Full HD 1080p AMOLED display for vivid visuals and there’s a pressure-sensitive stylus in the box as well, which is useful for annotating PDF files, sketching, and note-taking.
For this review, I’ve been sent the 15.6 ins version with the top-spec, 12-core Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, but it’s also available with a smaller 13.3 ins screen, in silver or burgundy finish, and with a lower-power Intel Core i5-1240P for those with smaller budgets.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Price and competition
Configuration tested: 12-core Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 AMOLED touchscreen, S-Pen stylus.
Prices start at a reasonable £1,099 for the 13.3in Core i5-1240P variant and rise to £1,499 for the 15.6in Core i7-1260P model reviewed here. That’s pretty good value for a machine this powerful, feature-packed, slim, and light.
We haven’t reviewed any laptops with exactly the same selection of features as the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360, but the closest competition among the 2-in-1 crowd would seem to be the Lenovo Yoga 9i (7th Gen). Also a 2-in-1 convertible, the Lenovo comes with a stylus, a slightly smaller, but higher-resolution, 14in 2.8K OLED display, and the same Core i7-1260P CPU. It costs £1,450. There is also a 15in Yoga but it’s more expensive at £1,899 and is a couple of generations old now.
HP also has a 15-in-2-in-1 laptop that comes with a stylus – the HP Envy 15-x360 15-eu0004na – and it’s much cheaper at £750. It’s also much heavier than the Book2 Pro 360 at 2.1kg, doesn’t have an OLED display, and also features older technology – an AMD Ryzen 5 5500.
We haven’t yet covered Asus’ 2022 Flip S OLED range 2022 but did review the 13.3in UX371EA last year, which also has an OLED panel and a bungled stylus, and is now available for a knock-down £1,300. That’s still more expensive than the prices for the 13.3in Galaxy Book2 Pro 360, which start at £1,099.
For anyone who doesn’t want a 2-in-1, there’s plenty more choice, including the M1 MacBook Air (£999) and forthcoming M2 variant (from £1,249), the Huawei Matebook 14s – a bargain at £900 for a Core i7 (11th Gen) machine with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD – and Samsung’s very own non-360 Galaxy Book2 laptops. The 13.3in Book2 Pro costs £999 and comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, while the 15.6in starts at £1,099, rising to £1,399 for the top-spec Core i7 variant.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Design and layout
The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 isn’t anything particularly special to look at. The burgundy model looks nice, but the silver model we were sent for review is plain; the only decoration is a discreetly embossed Samsung logo on the lid.
It’s only when you break out the scales and the measuring tape that things begin to get interesting. At 1.41kg, the 15in the model is only 120g heavier than the smaller 13.3in M1 MacBook Air, and it’s super slim, measuring a mere 11.9mm thick when closed.
The 360-degree hinge feels robust and allows the display to be pushed all the way around so you can use the laptop as a touchscreen monitor or a tablet for sketching, note-taking, and annotating. The rest of the unit feels well-made, too.
Surprisingly for a laptop this skinny, there is a modicum of upgradability. Pop off the four rubber feet on the underside, which is attached via clips, not glue, undo four small Philips-head screws and, after a little gentle prying, the base of the laptop comes to clean off, allowing you to add extra storage in the form of a small M.2 2230 SSD. You can also replace the existing M.2 2280 SSD should you need even more room for applications and files.
However, if you were hoping for a stack of useful physical ports and connections, prepare to be disappointed. There’s a pair of USB-C ports and a single Thunderbolt 4 socket, plus a 3.5mm headset jack and a microSD card reader slot – and that’s your lot. Wireless support is better, however, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard (and Bluetooth 5.1) via an Intel AX211 Card.
Perhaps more disappointing is the fact that there’s no slot in which to store the supplied S Pen stylus. There’s a magnetic area on the lid you can attach it to while you’re working but you’ll need to find somewhere else to store it when you pop it away in your laptop bag.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Keyboard, touchpad, stylus, and webcam
That’s a small irritation, but not the only one. I also found that the Book2 Pro 360’s touchscreen suffered from rather a poor palm rejection. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate: it was my forearm that caused the most problems and I found it would often activate the notifications menu as it brushed against the edge of the display. If you’re aware of the problem you can minimize the issue, but it’s clearly far from ideal.
The keyboard, fortunately, has no such issues. Sure, the keys are a little shallow on travel but they have a good dig of feedback and are comfortable to type on. The left Shift and Ctrl keys are on the small side, as are the cursor keys, but otherwise there’s nothing problematic about the layout and Samsung has even found room to squeeze in a number pad to the right. It’s a little cramped, with smaller 0 and Enter keys than you’d normally expect, but I’d rather that than not have a number pad at all.
The touchpad is reliable and sensitive, too, and doesn’t suffer from the annoying accidental activation issues found on some touchpads. It’s a shame, though, that the webcam lets the side down. Despite offering a seemingly crisp 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, it produces rather soft, over-saturated images.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Display and audio
The Book2 Pro 360’s display is a mix of the good and the not so good. On the good side it employs AMOLED technology and that means vivid colour reproduction and an effectively perfect contrast ratio; good news for watching HDR content on Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and so on. It’s also a pretty bright screen, hitting peaks of 383cd/m² in testing.
It’s also good to see Samsung has included pre-calibrated profiles for sRGB, AdobeRGB and DCI-P3, so creative professionals shouldn’t have to worry about running their own calibrations. The display is pretty colour accurate, too, with average Delta E colour difference scores of 1.8 in the AdobeRGB mode, 2.1 in DCI-P3 and 1.2 in sRGB.
The not so good thing about the display is that Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. This won’t be so much of an issue on the smaller 13.3in Book2 but on this 15.6in model, text and small icons take on a slightly grainy appearance that’s clearly visible at normal viewing distances. It’s also only a 60Hz display, which feels a little backward when so many other manufacturers are moving to 90Hz and above.
The AKG speakers are also pretty decent for a laptop. They reach reasonable volume without sounding too raucous or tinny, but the sound isn’t full-bodied enough for listening to music. They’re still laptop speakers at the end of the day – connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a speaker and you’ll get far better audio quality.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Performance
Given the Galaxy Book2 360’s slender dimensions, it’s no surprise that it can’t match workstation or gaming laptops for raw performance. If you push it too hard, it does get quite warm to the touch, too. However, raw performance is respectable on the 12-core Core i7-1260P-based model I have here, and it’s even quick enough for the odd casual gaming session.
In our 4K media benchmarks, the Core i7-1260P pushes it to the top of the charts among lightweight productivity laptops. In the multitasking element of the Geekbench 5 test, it’s a clear winner, beating the M1 MacBook Air and even the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U-powered Asus ZenBook 13 S OLED I reviewed recently.
For graphics-intensive applications, meanwhile, you have Intel’s Iris Xe integrated GPU, and this lags behind both the MacBook Air and the Asus ZenBook 13 S OLED in the GFXBench Car Chase tests.
Storage speeds from the 512GB SSD are okay, with sequential read and write speeds of 2,039MB/sec and 1,678MB/sec, but you can get better at this price.
For a slim and light laptop, however, long battery life is essential and, on this front, the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 hits the mark. In our video rundown test it lasted an impressive 13hrs 16mins, which puts it only an hour or so short of the superb performance put in by the M1 MacBook Air. That’s dramatically longer than most lightweight Windows machines we’ve tested and particularly impressive for a large 15.6in machine.
Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 review: Verdict
Thin, light, quick and long-lasting: there are plenty of things to like about the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360.
There are, however, some issues that prevent it from winning an award. For starters, I’d like to see a screen with a higher resolution and refresh rate on a laptop costing this much. The stylus support, too, is glitchy and the meagre selection of physical ports and sockets is rather limiting.
If nothing less than a large-screened 2-in-1 convertible will suffice, the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is worth considering, partly because of its keen price and partly due to the conspicuous lack of competitors. If you’re happy to make do with a standard laptop, though, you should spend your money elsewhere – there are far better deals to be had.