If I have to ask you what Samsung is best known for, you will probably say Samsung phones. You can say Samsung TVs or screens in general and you won’t go wrong.
But you probably wouldn’t say laptops, and with good reason: although it’s been in business for decades and makes pretty good hardware, Samsung has never established itself as a high-profile player in the U.S. laptop market.
That can change. Samsung recently hosted the first-ever Galaxy Unpacked event, focused purely on unveiling new laptops. There are four new Windows machines – the entry-level Galaxy Book, the flagship Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 and the game-focused Galaxy Book Odyssey ̵
These new laptops are exciting because they look slim, lightweight and (if properly configured) powerful – three compelling qualities shared by the best laptops on the market. Leading manufacturers such as Apple and Dell have built a dominant position in the business by supplying lightweight laptops with beautiful displays, and now Samsung – which already has a well-earned reputation for building phones and tablets with great screens – seems well positioned to do the same.
But can Samsung finally make a real fuss in a market where it has struggled in the past? The prospects are stronger than you think.
When the screen hits your eyes like a live sunrise, it’s OLED
Of note are two of Samsung’s new laptops – Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 – sports OLED screens, which are still a rarity in the laptop market. I think the AMOLED displays will be the next big thing in laptop design and the few laptops with OLED screens we’ve tested – among them are Samsung’s own Galaxy Chromebook – have fascinated us with their vibrant colors and deep black.
Of course, OLED displays have drawbacks – they can be expensive to integrate; they can be pig batteries; and they have a low risk of permanent burns if you leave them on for centuries. But these are small prices that are worth paying for great screens, which can also achieve greater subtlety than traditional LED displays, due to the fact that OLED does not need to be backlit.
And now that Samsung has spent years perfecting its OLED technology and manufacturing processes, the company seems in a good position to apply that experience in building laptops. Earlier this year, it announced plans to begin mass production of the world’s first 90Hz OLED laptop screens in March, initially focusing on 14-inch displays. Samsung says it expects a number of other companies to launch laptops with 90Hz OLED screens this year, and it is certain that their own Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 will serve as a showcase for these new displays.
If the screens of these new Galaxy Book Pros look similar to the magnificent 4K OLED display we saw on Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook earlier this year, they are sure to stand out – and that’s exactly what Samsung needs if it wants to build more. large presence in the laptop market in the United States.
“Laptops tend to look and feel the same, but Samsung’s AMOLED displays are still quite unique – and stunning – and it adds intelligent software and connections to its mobile ecosystem that most competitors can’t match,” he said. Avi Gringart, a leading analyst at Techsponential. “Samsung had to do two things for its laptops: increase visibility and find differentiation, and they did well here.”
Of course, not all of the new Galaxy Books have AMOLED screens; both the budget Galaxy Book and the game-oriented Galaxy Book Odyssey will come with more traditional 15.6-inch TFT LCD displays. LCD screens can still provide impressive performance and there are unique features of Book and Book Odyssey that could help them stand out in the crowded range of laptops in 2021, although it is not yet clear when or whether they will be provided for sale in the USA. So far, Samsung has only told us that the Galaxy Book Odyssey is initially sold in Korea, with no further details on whether it will appear in the country.
The Galaxy Book Odyssey is most notable for being the first laptop we’ve seen include Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3050/3050 Ti graphics processors, which can help it achieve remarkable performance in the latest games. The Odyssey chassis is also designed to allow you to upgrade or replace RAM and SSD, a much-appreciated feature we rarely see in modern laptops.
Galaxy Book offers owners the same option to change SSDs, and although it has the lowest performance of all the Galaxy Books Samsung announced this week – the Galaxy Book will be available with low-end Intel Celeron or Pentium Gold processors in some regions – it too has the lowest price, reaching only $ 549 for a entry-level model. This gives this new line of Galaxy Books from Windows computers an entry point for people who may not be willing to pay more than $ 1,000 for a new laptop, although it’s not yet clear when or if the Galaxy Book will go on sale in the US
With the unprecedented integration of Galaxy phones, Samsung can beat Apple in its own game
What is certain is that Samsung is heavily promoting the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 as leading laptops here in the United States. And while they seem to have enough power, beauty and slimness to compete with leading laptops like Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP, they also have something that most Windows laptops don’t have: tight integration with mobile devices, especially if you have a Samsung phone or tablet.
Both Galaxy Book Pro laptops will come with support for Link to Windows and Microsoft Your Phone, apps that allow you to connect your laptop to your (Android) smartphone to do things like launch phone apps directly to your desktop , receive calls and easily access your photos, messages and notifications.
If you have a Galaxy Tab, you can use the Galaxy Book Pro feature and the second screen of the Pro 360 to duplicate or expand your desktop on the tab, giving you the luxury of a second screen without having to connect an external display. Other built-in apps allow you to quickly move files, photos and other content between your Galaxy devices or find Bluetooth-paired Galaxy devices, such as headphones and phones.
In addition, the Galaxy Book Pro laptops come with the SmartThings app, so you can control SmartThings-compatible devices on the network (such as appliances, lighting and thermostats) directly from the laptop.
It’s a long, complicated way of saying that Galaxy Book Pro laptops should have very good ways to interact with your Android devices, especially if those devices are made by Samsung. If these features work well, it will give device owners a compelling reason to make their next Samsung Galaxy Book Pro laptop and help these new laptops stand out in an otherwise crowded market.
“If Samsung can really provide the PC + phone experience, it will create a good competitive advantage over other PC makers, given the consumer base they have in the smartphone market,” said Carolina Milanesi, founder and chief analyst at The Heart of Tech. “As for the devices, I think what will make a difference for Samsung will be the marketing and the presence of the channel. They have had good computers in the last few years, but their market has been limited to Korea and the United States. TM Roh and the positioning of the computer as a major part of the ecosystem seem to signal a drastic change in how seriously they are taking advantage of this opportunity. “
It’s time to wait and see
Of course, signaling is one thing; successful implementation is another. As exciting as it is to see Samsung making a big boost in the laptop market – as it is now boom, thanks to COVID-19 – we have to wait and see if these new Galaxy books can compete with what the big PC makers are bringing to the table this year.
“Samsung wants to tell everyone that they are more serious in the laptop business. They have been on the laptop market for a long time, but have been declining until recently, ”explained Gartner Research Director Mikako Kitagawa. “Now the computer market is booming and this is a great opportunity for them to get more traction in the laptop market.
However, Kitagawa is not a bullshit for Samsung to take on the biggest players in computers. “I don’t believe the lineup today will make a lot of changes in the market as a whole,” Kitagawa said. [pose a] threat to the big 4 computer vendors, Lenovo, HP, Dell and Apple. However, it is good for consumers to have more product options. “
And there are many exciting laptop options already on the market this year: the beautiful Dell XPS 15, the comfortable Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, and the absolute power of the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, to name just a few. With more to come before 2021, including the long-awaited refresh of Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro (which desperately needs a hit by Apple Silicon), it will be intriguing to see if Samsung’s new Galaxy Book laptops can attract attention. – and wallets – to clients from the USA.