Samsung: 2019 Brand Report Card
Samsung has not only landed itself at the bottom of our rankings (yet again), but the company even dropped three points lower than last year, which isn’t much of a surprise. The brand doesn’t go far enough to innovate its laptops and ensure that they have the top-notch quality that consumers and businesses demand. The Notebook 9 Pro is the only highlight in Samsung’s lineup.
The only notable quality that Samsung has is its friendly tech support, and it was nice to see the S Pen integrated properly into laptops like the Notebook 9 Pen.
Samsung's Key Strengths
- Decent tech support. Tech support is the most that Samsung has going for it, as the company's phone agents were incredibly friendly. But even so, we discovered fundamental gaps in their knowledge.
Samsung's Key Weaknesses
- Uninventive design. Our biggest complaint among all of Samsung’s devices is how boring and safe they all look: You could convince us that the Notebook 7 Spin is a TV prop.
- Limited selection. Samsung hits a decent price point with laptops like the Notebook 9 Pro, but the company doesn’t go far enough to provide systems in each category.
- Not very innovative. Apart from bringing features from Galaxy Note’s S Pen to the Notebook 9 Pen, Samsung hasn’t done much to break the mold and set it apart from other companies.
Top-Rated Samsung Laptops
- Best Value: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- Best Ultraportable: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- Best 2-in-1 Detachable: Samsung Galaxy Book 2
Another year, another group of mediocre laptops from Samsung. This time, however, there is a silver lining in that one of the three Samsung devices we reviewed received a 4-star rating. Unfortunately, that high mark was offset by several lower scores. In the end, Samsung laptops averaged a subpar 3.3 star rating, and, for the second year in a row, none earned an Editor's Choice award.
The one standout laptop from Samsung this year is the premium Notebook 9 Pro, which offers strong performance in a sleek chassis.
Le sigh. Most of Samsung's laptop lineup is silvery, aluminum and boringly safe (see the Notebook 9 Pro and Notebook 7 Spin). Our reviewer remarked that the Notebook Spin 7's "design is so basic that it could be used as a blueprint for a laptop emoji — a representation of an ordinary notebook, lacking any unique characteristics."
However, there are some bright spots. Despite drawing inspiration from Microsoft's Surface Pro, the Galaxy Book 2 impressed with its lightweight chassis, although its shallow kickstand wasn't a crowd-pleaser.
Support and Warranty (15/20)
Samsung's channels for phone and live-chat support proved disappointing, with agents displaying gaps in their amount of knowledge concerning the company's own devices. Yes, their agents are friendly, but that's not enough.
Each Samsung laptop includes a pretty standard warranty, with a one-year hardware warranty and shipping covered both to and from its warehouses. Extended warranties are available for purchase, though upgrading your own memory or storage voids your warranty.
While the Galaxy Note phone line made the S Pen famous, Samsung brought its top features to 2-in-1 laptops with the Notebook 9 Pen, including Air Command for drawing, taking notes and editing documents. You an also use Voice Note to keep your handwritten notes and voice recordings in sync.
The other noteworthy innovation from Samsung is the Chromebook Plus (LTE), which is one of the first Chromebooks with built-in 4G connectivity.
Value and Selection (9/15)
Samsung has a small selection of laptops, but at least the company offers a range of prices. The cheapest notebook the company sells is the Notebook Flash, which runs for $349, and the only mid-range laptop is the Notebook 5 ($599). For $679, you can get the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin, which is a mediocre-looking 2-in-1 with poor battery life, but it also has a nice display and a comfortable keyboard. The Galaxy Book 2 ($999), is the more premium option, which boasts a 12-inch OLED display and a built-in LTE connection.
MORE: Best Samsung Laptops
By far, the best laptop in Samsung's catalog is the $1,099 Notebook 9 Pro. It has premium looks, decent performance and long battery life, and it's cheaper than its competitors. The Notebook 9 Pro is an excellent entry, especially for the price, but we would like to see a workstation to go up against the 15-inch MacBook Pro. The most powerful laptop that Samsung offers is the company's one and only gaming laptop, the Notebook Odyssey Z ($1,599).even an overpowered workstation — anything that strays away from the hit-or-miss cheap-premium consumer laptops.