Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Ultra

Samsung delivers their most exciting laptop in a long time.

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To be honest, Samsung laptops have been a bit hit or miss in recent years. Sure, they reintroduced their Galaxy Books about five years ago, bringing a sleek shape, reasonably solid performance and, above all, a bit of attitude to the market. But since then, there have been a few too many models, and they've all been a little too homogenous to really stand out.

The same can be said of their Galaxy Tab series, but this one was given a real boost by an Ultra variant that turns up all parameters on the Spinal Tap amplifier to 11. The question is, will the "Ultra treatment" work this time too?

First of all, it's worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Ultra can easily cost you more than £2500. It's slightly cheaper than the most expensive MacBook Pro 16, but that's not much, so Samsung's top model has to be best-in-class to even be considered. This also means that in this rather thin chassis you get the Windows platform's answer to a MacBook Pro 16", with the same screen size, an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU, an RTX 4070 and 32GB RAM. That's slightly less RAM than over at Apple, but you do get a 1TB SSD. The problem that arises is that you can get a Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 with the same CPU, same RAM, same SSD and same GPU for nearly half the price at the time of writing.

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Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Ultra

So how can Samsung command such a price? Well, first of all, this really is the slimmest and lightest way to use these internal components. The aforementioned Asus doesn't come close to offering a chassis that stands just 19 millimetres in height and weighs just 1.7 kilograms. Furthermore, in our tests it managed something like 10 hours of video playback on a single charge - that's impressive to say the least.

The chassis is slim, but no expense has been spared on functionality, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, USB-A and microSD card reader, there's a relatively slim 140W charger and there's room for both a gigantic trackpad and a downright decent keyboard. Even under relatively heavy use, the machine just stayed warm, but the ventilation is both consistent in its fan curve and it never became annoying or distracting - so points for that too.

The screen is also fantastic. It's a 16" AMOLED touch-based display at 2800x1800. It can perform 48-120Hz via VRR, and in our tests it crushed the DCI-P3 colour spectrum with a good 135% coverage. If it weren't for the slightly low brightness of approximately 420 NITS, this would be a direct competitor to Apple's Retina displays, and Samsung is dangerously close here, which is crazy considering the long battery life.

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So are there any real objections besides a sky-high price? Well, a little, but here we're really getting into subjective territory. I don't think the last few years of Galaxy Books have been downright ugly, but there's virtually no effort from Samsung to make them stand out. There's no persona, no ingenuity. They're decidedly dull, and the Ultra in particular is just... well, soulless. The same can be said of Apple's MacBook Pro line-up, but it's almost worse here, and it would be nice to see Samsung play around with the aesthetics, because this laptop doesn't ooze luxury as the specs indicate.

That said, this is an excellent step in the right direction and it seems that the Ultra treatment has worked. It will be exciting to follow this line-up going forward.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
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