Samsung has conquered smartphones. Are laptops next?
The Galaxy Book2 Pro shines with a lightweight design, excellent performance, and long-lasting battery life.
Samsung’s most powerful Chromebook is also its most convertible.
Even without Wi-Fi, the Galaxy Book Go will keep you connected thanks to 5G support.
Samsung is well-known for making some of the most popular smartphones, tablets, and TVs, but did you know the company also makes excellent laptops? Though it isn’t as well known for PCs, Samsung has released innovative 2-in-1s and affordable Chromebooks. These devices feature the same quality and polish as Samsung’s more well-known categories and offer decent alternatives to productivity-focused laptops from PC brands like Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Picking a new laptop can be a daunting task due to the diversity of options: If you’re looking for a Windows laptop from a brand everyone knows and loves, the best Samsung laptops offer excellent portability and efficiency at a reasonable price.
Over the last ten years, I’ve tested and reviewed laptops from various brands for websites like TechnoBuffalo, XDA Developers, and Android Central. To narrow down our list of the best Samsung laptops, we drew on reviews from critics and users to gain insight into what people value most in laptops, including size, performance, and price.
When buying a laptop, there’s a lot to consider, and wading through the different models and configurations can be confusing. In the broadest sense, you want a computer with a newer processor and enough RAM to handle everyday tasks like browsing the web, writing papers, and light photo editing. If your work involves video editing, graphic design, or 3D software, you also need to make sure you’re getting a graphics card that meets your needs.
Samsung’s laptops, even its most powerful, translate to mid-range productivity-focused machines. There are options equipped for gaming and other graphics-heavy uses, but we recommend looking at Samsung if portability is your top priority.
No matter how you plan to use your laptop, newer components will make it easier to get work done. The Central Processing Unit, or CPU, is the beating heart of any PC. Processor performance comes down to a constellation of factors, including cooling systems and architecture, but you can quickly assess a laptop’s compute power by looking at its clock speed, measured in GHz, and the number of cores in the CPU. Most new laptops feature either 11th or 12th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, offering 6 or 8 processor cores. With a higher clock speed and more CPU cores in your processor, your computer can perform more tasks and quickly complete them.
If you plan to play games or use creative software, you’ll want a laptop with a high-end graphics card, or GPU, like an Nvidia GTX or RTX card. The GPU can help the CPU during graphics processing and contribute to a faster and smoother experience. Laptops designed for more general tasks typically come equipped with integrated graphics attached to the motherboard. Some high-end laptops feature dedicated graphics cards, which are separate from the motherboard and have their own dedicated memory. Most of Samsung’s laptops are not graphics powerhouses, although the company does offer a laptop with extra GPU power for gaming.
We also paid close attention to the amount of memory offered by our picks. Random Access Memory, or RAM, provides applications with a place to store and access data on a short-term basis and makes a massive difference in how fast a computer handles most tasks. We recommend getting a laptop with 8GB to 16GB of RAM for most people. Higher is always better, though, as Samsung laptops do not allow you to upgrade your memory after the fact.
Most modern laptops use solid-state drives (SSD) to store and access data and use different technology than a traditional hard drive. SSDs are faster and more reliable and can reduce the time it takes to load files and other applications. We recommend getting a laptop with a 256GB hard drive to store your files, photos, and apps. If you can afford to do so, you should upgrade to 512GB or even 1TB, because storage can fill up quickly as you use it over time.
If you’re going to stare at a laptop screen all day, it pays to get one that looks good. On a laptop, picking your screen’s size has as much to do with portability and power as it does visual fidelity: Laptops with larger screens are generally bigger, with more powerful components, and heavier. We love a large screen, but if you plan to carry your laptop every day, we would recommend a 13- to 15-inch display. If you only carry it on trips or occasional forays into the office, a larger laptop gives you more screen real estate for multitasking.
Samsung’s less powerful 1080p (Full HD) displays are generally fine for more general use. We recommend reaching for a high-resolution display for creative work and gaming–either 1440p (Quad HD) or 3840×2160 (4K). A higher resolution will make the screen look sharper and allow you to see more minor details in your photos and video.
Some of the laptops on our list feature Super AMOLED displays, a touch-enabled variation of the same display technology found in OLED TVs. Like conventional OLEDs, each pixel in an AMOLED screen is independently backlit by an LED light, allowing for precision control over color and contrast. Samsung’s version of this technology, “Super AMOLED,” integrates touch sensors into the display without adding an additional layer in the screen.
A display with good color accuracy is also ideal for creative work because you’ll be able to make your images and video look as close to real-life as possible. You want a screen covering 90% to 100% of the sRGB color gamut. Some laptops take a step beyond this with support for DCI-P3, which offers 26% more color space than sRGB, which means DCI-P3 provides a greater range of colors for a more saturated and vibrant image.
Though we often use laptops untethered, a good work setup includes plugging in various peripherals like a monitor, an external hard drive, or a mouse and keyboard. Having lots of ports gives you options to easily connect those devices when you need them.
In addition to standard USB-A ports, you’ll want your next laptop to have at least two high bandwidth ports, like USB-C and Thunderbolt 4, to import and export media quickly. It’s also nice to have an Ethernet port to connect directly to your home network or an HDMI port to connect your laptop to an external display. Having a built-in SD card reader is also nice for creatives because it eliminates the need for extra dongles.
You can always get a USB hub to connect to augment your laptop with additional connection options if you need them, but there’s nothing more convenient than having them built-in.
They say beauty is only skin deep, but we have to admit that we prefer a laptop made of aluminum instead of plastic. Laptops, by their nature, are designed to be carried around, so we also like a thin and light design because it will be easier on your back in the long run. We looked for laptops that balance performance, design, weight, and thickness. A 13-inch display is incredibly portable but can feel cramped with multiple apps running simultaneously. On the other hand, 17-inch laptops tend to be gigantic and hard to haul around. You should go with what feels right for you, but we feel like a good middle ground for a laptop is roughly 3 pounds to 5 pounds with a screen size between 14 and 16 inches.
The life of a laptop user typically involves working at different locations and away from a power outlet. There is a direct, inverse correlation between power and battery life on most laptops: The more processing power you have under the hood, the more frequently it needs to be charged.
We usually want a battery that will survive a hard day’s work, no matter what that looks like for you. That bar is non-negotiable for productivity models like many of Samsung’s. If you plan to use your laptop for video editing or gaming, you may need to be more flexible (and keep an eye on your battery).
Now that you know a bit more about what to look for, let’s talk about the best Samsung laptops. The wide-ranging Galaxy Book series skews heavily towards portable productivity machines, rather than heavy-duty powerhouses. For the right person—those who travel often and travel light—they can be incredibly useful.
That goes double for Samsung Galaxy smartphone and tablet users. If you own a Samsung smartphone or tablet, you’ll get access to cross-compatibility features like taking calls, sending messages, and Quick Share, which allows Galaxy users to wirelessly send photos, videos, and documents between devices regardless of their file size.
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2 Pro features a beautiful display, S Pen support, and the ability to change from laptop to tablet.
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro offers an impressive blend between features, design, and price. It’s thin and light but still provides excellent performance and a whopping 21 hours of battery life, ensuring you get through an entire workday, even with overtime. With 12th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and internal graphics, this is a strong work laptop for Microsoft Office, web browsing, and light image editing.
It will do all of those things extremely well, though, especially when upgraded to 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. The larger 15.5-inch model comes with an ultra-sharp AMOLED display. The Galaxy Book 2 Pro also features a fingerprint sensor on the power key for an added layer of security. Both options include two USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 4, a USB 3.2 port, HDMI, and support for microSD.
The Galaxy Book 2 Pro is not the most powerful laptop in Samsung’s lineup, nor is it the most affordable. It exemplifies the kind of machine Samsung is good at making, though—light, efficient, and ready to get stuff done.
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 2 Pro features a beautiful display, S Pen support, and the ability to change from laptop to tablet.
Equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti Max-Q graphics card, 11th Gen Intel Core processor, and up to 32GB of RAM, the Galaxy Book Odyssey is Samsung’s most powerful notebook. The 15.6-inch TFT LCD FHD display provides plenty of room to enjoy games on Steam, and Samsung rates the battery at 12 hours, so you should be able to get through plenty of gaming before needing to charge. The Galaxy Odyssey also includes an expansive keyboard with a number pad to the right and plenty of connectivity options, including two USB-C ports, three USB 3.2 ports, HDMI, and microSD. The device also includes a security slot, which will allow you to connect a compatible lock to keep someone from walking off with your laptop.
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook is a powerful Chrome OS device that features a beautiful display, powerful specs, and S Pen support.
Chromebooks aren’t the most powerful machines available, but they make an effective alternative to traditional Windows PCs if you primarily browse the web and don’t mind using Google Docs and Sheets over Microsoft Office. Most of the time, they are low-powered, but very affordable machines.
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 leans the other way, bringing luxury laptop features you normally would find in a Chromebook. For starters, it features a 2-in-1 design that allows users to quickly switch between a traditional clamshell and a tablet. It has a 13.3-inch touchscreen QLED display, S Pen support, and gets 13 hours of battery life. Meanwhile, it’s still very thin and light–just 2.71 pounds and is 0.55 inches, making it easy to haul from the coffee shop to the classroom. At $450, it’s a little pricey for a Chromebook, but the Galaxy Chromebook 2 goes well beyond what we normally look for in one.
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Samsung’s Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is a powerful 2-in-1 laptop that comes with an S Pen and a 13- or 15-inch Super AMOLED display.
We like a few of Samsung’s 2-in-1 laptops, but the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is the most powerful option and the best choice if you’re really into a hybrid laptop/tablet form factor. In 13- and 15-inch configurations, it sports 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and a Super AMOLED touchscreen, which comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus for drawing and note-taking. You can only get the larger, 1TB SSD in the 15-inch model, so there are still some technical advantages to going big. (That said, you expand your storage with a microSD card.)
Other Galaxy Book Pro 2 360 features include a fingerprint reader on the power button, Dolby Atmos, Wi-Fi 6E support, and three USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 4. Samsung estimates that you should get 21 hours of battery life, giving you plenty of time to get work done out in the field.
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: Samsung’s Galaxy Book Go is an excellent option for college students because it’s affordable and can stay connected to the internet even without Wi-Fi.
College is expensive, so want to highlight an especially cheap Samsung laptop for students trying to save a few bucks. The Galaxy Book Go is a very, very light-use laptop for people constantly on the move, like students bouncing from their dorm, to class, to the library. It has one key feature: Optional 5G support, allowing you to connect it to your phone plan and use mobile broadband when you aren’t able to connect to Wi-Fi.
The Galaxy Book Go processor offers mobile-grade performance and efficiency, with a 14-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage. Despite running on a Snapdragon chipset, it is still a Windows machine. It also features up to 18 hours of battery life, two USB-C ports, and support for microSD expansion. At 3.17 pounds for the 5G model, the Galaxy Go is light enough to carry around all day.
The most important spec, though, is the price. At $610 for a 5G-enabled model, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a less expensive computer worth buying.
Most of Samsung’s laptops run Windows, though they also make Chromebooks, which run Google’s ChromeOS.
Most laptops should last three to five years with proper care before advances in technology start to dramatically impact performance and parts start to degrade or break. Generally speaking, high-end devices with advanced “futureproof” specs will perform reasonably well for longer compared to a budget device. It also depends on how you use it: If you occasionally browse the web on your laptop, it should work well enough for longer than something you frequently carry around and push to its limit. At the very least, laptop batteries degrade steadily, though they can often be replaced at a repair shop.
If you plan to use your laptop to browse the web, write papers, and do less intensive tasks, you can find something in the $500 to $800 range. If you need a laptop capable of handling more professional and specialized tasks, you may need to spend upwards of $1,000. These laptops are more powerful and they typically last longer because their specs hold up better over time. If you need something more powerful but can’t afford it, your best bet would be to keep an eye out for sales.
Samsung’s laptop lineup revolves around a fairly niche range of lightweight productivity notebooks and 2-in-1s, reflecting its mobile superiority. If you want a simple machine that’s easy to carry and gels well with other Samsung devices, the best Samsung laptops can enhance your workflow in unique ways.
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