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Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro (14-inch) review: The OLED featherweight

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1349
inc VAT (8GB, 256GB SSD)

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro is a beautiful laptop with a sumptuous OLED screen that ticks nearly all the boxes


  • Staggeringly good screen
  • Lovely design
  • Decent webcam and microphone


  • Battery life not as strong as M2 MacBook Air
  • Fans kick in too readily

There are few products with true wow factor, but the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro is one of a rare breed. From its slim gunmetal grey aluminium chassis to its comfy keyboard and responsive touchpad, this laptop makes a stunning first impression.

However, it’s the Galaxy Book3 Pro’s 3K Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that makes the biggest splash. I was smitten the very first time I laid eyes on it, and the longer I’ve used the laptop the more infatuated I have become.

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Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: What you need to know

The Book3 isn’t the only laptop in Samsung’s new range to use this new OLED display, but it is the most affordable. Samsung sent a sample of the 14in model to us for this review; there’s also a 16in version of the Galaxy Book3 Pro and a more powerful model called the Galaxy Book Ultra, which comes with more powerful CPUs and discrete graphics chips. There’s also a 2-in-1 laptop in the Book3 Pro range: the 16in Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360. 

This machine, however, has everything the discerning Windows user requires from a lightweight productivity laptop. It comes with a choice of Core i5 or Core i7 13th gen Intel CPUs, either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. It’s super slim at 11.3mm when closed and weighs a reasonable 1.17kg. It’s Samsung’s answer to the M2 Apple MacBook Air and, going by first impressions, it’s well in the running to beat it. 

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core-i5 1340P CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14in 3K Dynamic AMOLED 2X display; Price: £1,349 inc VAT

Unlike Apple and most other big laptop manufacturers, Samsung likes to keep things simple when it comes to configuration. There’s no need to think about whether to upgrade the RAM and storage, or to purchase a variant with a few more CPU or GPU cores. There are simply two configurations to choose from.

At £1,349, the model we were sent to review is the cheapest in the range. It comes with an Intel Core i5-1340P CPU accompanied by 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a 14in, 120Hz non-touchscreen AMOLED screen. The other 14in variant comes with a Core i7-1360P CPU, 16GB of RAM plus a 512GB SSD for £1,549, while the 16in model also comes in two models costing £1,449 (Core i5-1340P, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) and £1,749 (Core i7-1360P, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD).

The obvious competitor, for the 14in model at least, is the superb M2 MacBook Air. With prices starting at £1,249, it’s a little cheaper than the 14in Galaxy Book3 Pro. It also beats the Book3 when it comes to battery life and configuration options, but the display isn’t nearly as impressive.

When it comes to Windows laptops, there’s a lot more choice but our current picks are the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon and the Acer Swift 3 OLED (SF314-71). Both are superb ultraportables but the Lenovo is our favourite and comes with a 2.5K touchscreen, great build quality and decent performance at a very reasonable price.

The Acer Swift 3’s strength is its 2,880 x 1,800 resolution 90Hz OLED display. It isn’t as bright or as colour-accurate as the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro’s panel but it is a cheaper laptop – and it’s more powerful thanks to its 12th gen H-series Core i7-12700H CPU.

We’re also fond of the HP Pavilion Plus 14, another laptop with a 90Hz 2.8K 14in OLED display and, again, it’s a little less costly than the Samsung at £1,000 at the time of writing. The downside of the HP is that it comes with an older, slower, Core i7-1255U CPU.

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Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Features and design

Available in beige or graphite grey (as pictured in this review) and built from sturdy anodised aluminium, the Galaxy Book3 cuts a clean, sophisticated dash, with sharp, chiselled edges, curved corners all round and little in the way of unnecessary embellishment. Samsung has clearly taken inspiration from the MacBook school of design here, but this is no slavish facsimile; it has an identity all of its own.

Good looks are married with plenty of sensible practical touches, too. Build quality is second to none: flexing the base and lid firmly doesn’t cause any creaking or screen rippling. It’s light enough and slim enough (1.17kg, 312 x 224 x 11.3mm) to sling in a backpack and carry around all day without worrying about what else is in your bag. And it’s a comfortable laptop to use for long periods as well.

The display is the slightly taller 16:10 aspect ratio, which not only gives you more vertical space in which to view and edit documents, but also lends the keyboard deck a bit more room in which to spread out.

The keyboard isn’t the best I’ve used. The keys have a rather shallow action to them that isn’t particularly satisfying and the mechanical click on the touchpad is a touch on the heavy side, too. However, it’s easy to get up to typing speed thanks to the spacious, sensible layout and well-spaced keys. The touchpad is both large at 115 x 83mm and responsive to swipes, gestures and taps.

Connectivity for a slim machine is excellent. On the left edge you have a pair of 40Gbits/sec Thunderbolt 4 ports alongside a full-size HDMI output, on the right edge is a microSD card slot, one USB-A port for legacy devices and a 3.5mm headset jack, and there’s support for Wi-Fi 6E, too, thanks to Intel’s AX211 Wi-Fi adapter.

READ NEXT: Best wireless keyboard

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Webcam, microphone and audio

Hybrid working is here to stay and webcams in laptops are steadily improving in recognition of that trend. The one Samsung has installed here is a good one: it captures video at 1080p at up to 60fps and auto exposure is impressive, dealing well with bright spots and strong backlighting. It also offers a number of theoretically useful features via its Studio software, such as auto-framing, background blur and HDR, but these weren’t particularly impressive when I tried them.

The auto-framing worked intermittently, zooming in and out at seemingly random intervals, and the background effects looked pretty rough around the edges. Hopefully that will be improved on shipping laptops but I didn’t find it to be a major hindrance; most videoconferencing software now offers these sorts of features built in anyway.

The microphone array is pretty good, picking up my voice clearly while on video calls, although I did notice some distortion when I recorded test clips through the Microsoft Sound Recorder app.

The speakers are highly competent, with a decent spread of sound, good instrument separation, smooth treble and reasonably rich mid-frequencies. There isn’t much bass, as you might expect from a slim laptop, but I didn’t notice any other problems – it doesn’t distort when you push the volume to maximum levels, for instance.

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Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Display

To say this is a stunning display would be an understatement: Samsung’s 3K Dynamic AMOLED display ranks among the finest to grace any laptop I’ve ever used. It’s colour-accurate enough for professional use, whether that be photo and video editing, digital illustration or publishing work, and its rendition of HDR video makes for a staggeringly good personal cinema display.

As usual, getting the most out of a display on a Windows 11 machine requires jumping through some hoops. For colour-accurate work, you have to turn off Windows HDR and use the Samsung Settings app to select the colour profile you want. For watching HDR video, meanwhile, you’ll need to re-enable HDR and choose a profile from the Windows Display settings dropdown.

Once you’ve figured this out, though, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping performance. I tested each of the three calibrated settings for colour accuracy: sRGB, DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB and they all delivered fantastic colour accuracy, with an average Delta E colour difference of 0.53, 0.5 and 0.57 respectively. 

That’s an astounding result that I don’t recall ever having been bettered by any laptop I’ve tested and, on top of the stunning HDR output, makes this the best screen on any laptop, ever.

Viewing HDR footage is just as impressive an experience. Windows’ handling of HDR is still unnecessarily fiddly, but get the settings right and playback looks simply amazing. One of my go-to tests for laptops is to visit the HDR Channel on YouTube and, sure enough, the various clips looked astonishingly vivid and full of impact.

Peak HDR brightness isn’t the highest I’ve ever seen. Indeed, Samsung only rates it at 400cd/m², although I recorded 526cd/m² in my testing. But with effectively perfect contrast and phenomenal colour performance, it hardly matters. This is an AMOLED panel worth paying a little extra for.

READ NEXT: Samsung Galaxy Book Go review

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Performance

Alas, in general performance this Galaxy Book doesn’t put in as strong a performance. The 13th gen Intel Core i5-1340P runs at a base frequency of 1.9GHz with a maximum Turbo frequency of 4.6GHz. It offers 12 physical cores divided into four performance cores and eight efficiency cores, with HyperThreading enabling it to address up to 16 threads simultaneously. 

That translates to reasonably impressive performance across our suite of various benchmarks. Our in-house benchmark, which puts a laptop under fairly strenuous sustained load, put it on even terms with the M2 MacBook Air and even a touch in front of the Intel Core i7-1260P-powered Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon. The Geekbench 5 CPU test saw that lead eroded in favour of the Lenovo, suggesting that the Lenovo has more raw speed but that the Core i5-powered Samsung is a little more efficient. 

The presence of Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics means you won’t be playing AAA titles on this machine at native resolution and high detail settings, but the results of our testing with the Doom reboot suggests some casual gaming is possible with older titles. I managed to get around 40fps with Low detail settings selected, for instance, while our older Dirt Showdown test returned an average of 58fps at 1080p and 87fps at 720p. 

Annoyingly, the Samsung’s cooling fans tend to whir into action too readily when using the Performance profile and, in a quiet room, they can be distracting. You can mitigate this by switching to Quiet or Silent profiles in the Samsung settings but that has the knock-on effect of limiting performance. 

Elsewhere, storage performance is strong, with the SSD returning sustained read and write speeds of 4,428MB/sec and 2,438MB/sec that are roughly in line with its strongest competitors and speeding ahead of the M2 MacBook Air. 

Battery life for a Windows ultraportable is pretty decent, although at 8hrs 55mins in our test it delivers roughly half what the M2 MacBook Air does. That’s not bad, but if you want a laptop you don’t have to charge every single day the MacBook remains your best choice. Again, there are conflicting settings here, with power and battery settings in the Samsung app and the Windows settings menu. For our testing, I set Samsung settings to Quiet and Windows settings to use the Best power efficiency profile to get the longest possible time out of the battery.

READ NEXT: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Pro, 2023) review

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro review: Verdict

All of which brings us to what is a rather mixed verdict for the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro, at least the Core i5 model tested here. While the design is lovely and the screen exemplary, the performance levels are middling while the fan is a little noisy. In addition, the battery life is a far cry from the long-lasting M2 MacBook Air.

The screen is so good, though, that the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro remains right up there with the best Windows ultraportables you can buy right now. If you’re tempted, my advice is to consider spending the extra on the Core i7 machine, which also comes with more RAM and double the storage – a design of this quality deserves the components to match.

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