We’re in the very early days of testing the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, but it’s ticking all the right boxes to be a good option for creative pros. This makes one thing abundantly clear: Samsung has the 16-inch MacBook Pro in its sights, gunning hard for supremacy as the ultimate creator laptop.
So, let’s go down the list of reasons why the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra beats out Apple’s latest 16-inch MacBook Pro.
1. It’s smaller and lighter
The big party trick here is that while the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is a little thicker than its siblings, the thinness is still mightily impressive for what you’ll find in here (including a 76Wh battery and quad AKG speakers). Measuring up at 13.9 x 9.9 x 0.6 inches and weighing 3.9 pounds, this is a little smaller than the 16-inch M2 MacBook Pro (14.0 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches), and it is significantly lighter too (the MacBook Pro weighs 4.7 pounds).
This ultra-portability mixed with power is a potential combo breaker for creative pros who need a strong system on the go.
2. A full number pad
The Chiclet keyboards on both laptops feel great to type on, but only the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has the additional number pad. Sure, this is great for data entry, but you can also set up macros for whatever games or creative software you use.
Using these shortcuts makes it a helluva lot easier to zip around the likes of Adobe Premiere Pro’s features and World of Warcraft’s many complex systems. They’re still usable without a number pad for sure, but you’re missing out on that additional speed.
3. It can play the games you care about
So this one is kind of two entries in one, but I like the number five more than I like six (don’t ask why — it’s a whole thing). First, the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has a ruddy dedicated GPU, and not just one of those silly ones that are barely any better than integrated graphics. You can pick from an RTX 4050 or an RTX 4070!
Beyond providing some monstrous performance in graphics-intensive creative apps, this unlocks a world of PC gaming. Sure, the MacBook Pro has Resident Evil Village and a handful of titles, but it’s clear that Apple still doesn’t really care about MacBook gaming. Meanwhile, you can fire up the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 on the Book 3 Ultra with ray tracing.
4. Greater versatility of ports
Apple has an infamous reputation for ditching ports on its laptops. While the 2023 MacBook Pro does bring back some welcome additions, Samsung still has it beat with its Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
The Ultra is outfitted with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 16-inch packs three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot.
What's the MacBook missing? A Type-A port — the most common I/O port there is.
5. Better bang for your buck
Unsurprisingly, as it is with any MacBook vs. a Windows laptop, you get better value for money from the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
Of course, we can’t say much in terms of what power the $2,399 price will give you in terms of benchmarking. But we can confirm it will get you a 13th Gen Intel Core i7, RTX 4050, 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 512GB — a mightily tasty spec sheet.
To get the base 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, you’re paying $100 more. On paper, you get more from Samsung.
So, there you have it! We’re not trying to discount how good of a laptop the 16-inch MacBook Pro is — it’s still a beast in the creative pro space. But this year, after the significant gains we’re seeing in performance of Intel and Nvidia, Apple has a real fight on its hands.
We’ve been begging Samsung to make a laptop like this for years, and to pick this time to do so means the company could land a killer blow. Sure, we’re pretty confident that the battery life is not going to be as good as the MacBook Pro.
But if it can better it in other key areas while offering that value for money, then the purchase decision for creative pros just got a whole lot more difficult.
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Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.