Samsung’s flexible Book Pro 360 gets 5G, but performance is a touch lacking
- Slim and light
- OLED display
- Top-quality audio
- Disappointing performance
- Middling battery life
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 launched earlier in 2021, alongside the Galaxy Book Pro, but four months on and it’s already getting an upgrade. Available from 5 October for a price of £1,349, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G adds, unsurprisingly, 5G connectivity to the list, but that’s not the only significant new feature.
The Book Pro 360 5G is also the first Samsung laptop – indeed, the first laptop from any manufacturer – that we’ve received to come with Windows 11 out of the box. Now, I fully expect Windows 11 machines to arrive with increasing frequency from now on, especially with the launch of Microsoft’s Surface devices, but good on Samsung for getting in there first.
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Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review: What you need to know
There’s quite a bit to go through on the software side of things, clearly, but the hardware is fairly straightforward. It’s essentially the same laptop that Samsung launched earlier this year, but this time around it has a 5G modem tacked on as well.
That means, just like the original Galaxy Book Pro 360, is that you’re getting a 2-in-1 convertible with a display that can be rotated a full 360 degrees. And that display uses OLED tech for vivid, colour-saturated images, and it’s also touch-compatible.
The laptop comes with Samsung’s S Pen active stylus in the box, which lets you sketch on the screen and take handwritten notes. It’s available in either 13.3in or 15.6in sizes; I was sent the 13.3in model for this particular review, equipped with an Intel Core i5-1130G7, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Despite the familiar hardware, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5GG does feel very different when you turn it on, the main reason for this being the presence of Windows 11 Pro. You can read all about Windows 11 and its new features here but, suffice to say, it feels fresh and new.
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review: Design and key features
As with the original, the Book Pro 360 5G is a beautifully made thing. It’s as slim and light as any convertible laptop we’ve reviewed recently, weighing a skinny 1.07kg and measuring a mere 11.5mm thick.
Despite the small size, it’s a very nice thing to use. The keys on the keyboard have a soft yet responsive feel to them, despite not having much travel, and the trackpad is spacious, measuring 115mm in width. There was a slight flappiness in the bottom left corner of my review sample, but this didn’t have an impact on usability or reliability. You can log in via fingerprint using the reader/power button in the top right corner, too.
Around the sides of the machine, Samsung has done its best to provide a decent level of connectivity, but there’s a limit to how much you can squeeze into edges this thin. USB connectivity, therefore, is limited to USB-C ports – two on the left edge and one on the right – and these are accompanied by a microSD slot, one 3.5mm headset jack and a nano-SIM card tray, located on the right edge.
Wireless connectivity, meanwhile, is supplied via an Intel AX210 card and an Intel 5G modem. The one disappointment with the design, as with the non-5G version of the Galaxy Book, is that there’s no slot to stow away the S Pen stylus. You can attach it magnetically to the lid so it’s always to hand but it’s easily knocked off, especially when you throw it in a bag.
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review: Display and audio
There are no such irritations with the display, which is a marvellous thing to behold. Sure, the 1080p resolution isn’t the sharpest I’ve come across, it does look a bit grainy if you set your text size very small. However, the picture quality delivered by the OLED panel more than makes up for this. Its deep, dark black level response and stupendous contrast, coupled with highly saturated and vivid colours, mean it’s an absolute joy to watch movies and TV shows on.
As I’ve found previously with Samsung’s laptops, the AKG-branded audio system kicks out sound with a surprising amount of body and volume. You’ll still want to connect a pair of headphones when you’re listening to music but, for everything else, the speakers on this laptop will do just fine.
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Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review: Performance
The model sent for this review came with an 11th gen Intel Core i5-1130G7 CPU at the helm, backed up by 8GB of RAM and a 256GB Samsung PCI-E SSD for storage – this proved the laptop’s only real weakness.
Although Intel’s 11th gen chips have improved recently, this particular model appears to be the runt of the litter, and it contributes to a performance that puts the Book Pro at a significant disadvantage compared with its rivals. It’s responsive enough in day-to-day use, but push it hard and you may wish you’d opted for something more powerful such as the cheaper HP Pavilion 14, Lenovo Yoga 7 Slim or M1 Apple MacBook Air.
I might have been a bit more forgiving of such mediocre performance if the battery life was better, but the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 5G disappointed here as well.
Where recent Samsung laptops have impressed in this department, this machine put in a middling show. It lasted 11hrs 35mins in our video rundown test, which isn’t bad, but it’s a long way behind the standard set by the M1 Apple MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro.
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Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review: Verdict
In many ways, it’s easy to like the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G. It’s very light and slim, build quality is excellent and the quality of its display is second to none.
On the other hand, it isn’t particularly fast, battery life is middling and, with a price that’s higher than that of most of its rivals, you’re going to need a pretty compelling reason to stump up the extra cash for 5G cellular connectivity.
Overall, it’s a very attractive laptop but there are a few too many compromises for it to warrant a wholehearted recommendation.