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Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro: Which laptop should you buy?

Apple’s MacBook Pro has long been heralded as the go-to laptop choice for professional creators due to its high-end performance and elegant design. But Samsung is now hoping to give the MacBook Pro a serious rival, by launching the high-powered Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.

Samsung’s new 16-inch has enough performance power to become a viable alternative to the MacBook Pro. As a result, we’ve decided to create this comparison guide to show the key differences between the two laptops. 

But do take note that we are yet to fully review the Galaxy Book3 Ultra or MacBook Pro (2023), so we will only be making comparisons from the spec sheet and our first impressions for now.

galaxy book 3 ultra keyboard
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Galaxy Book3 Ultra is only available with a 16-inch screen

If you’re the type of person who is indecisive when it comes to which configuration to opt for, you’ll at least be relieved that you don’t need to worry about selecting a screen size when it comes to Samsung’s new laptop: it’s only available with a 16-inch display.

In comparison, Apple is offering up the MacBook Pro in both 14-inch and 16-inch flavours, allowing you to settle for a more portable laptop if you frequently work on the go. Apple does offer a 13-inch MacBook Pro too, although its specs are more akin to the MacBook Air than its fellow Pro siblings, so we’re reluctant to count that in this comparison. 

By offering a 14-inch model, Apple is able to sell the MacBook Pro at a more accessible price, starting at £2149. This makes the Galaxy Book3 Ultra seem more expensive with a starting price of £2449, when in fact it’s actually cheaper than the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro (£2699). 

Intel 13th Generation

Samsung’s laptop is powered by Intel and Nvida chips

The Galaxy Book3 Ultra packs some cutting-edge specs, including the 13th Generation Intel Core processors (i7 / i9) and the option between an Nvidia RTX 4050 or RTX 4070 GPU. 

All of these laptop components were first revealed in January 2023. We haven’t had a chance to see how highly these chips score in benchmark tests, but you can expect them to be super speedy. 

The latest MacBook Pro is powered by Apple’s own chip, offering up the option of either an M2 Pro or M2 Max. Unlike with the Samsung laptop, the MacBook Pro’s CPU and GPU are baked onto the same chip. But don’t let that fool you into thinking Apple’s laptop is a slouch, as it packs a stunning 30-core GPU in its best-in-class configuration. 

You’ll have to wait for our full reviews for more in-depth performance data, but both the Galaxy Book3 Ultra and the MacBook Pro are very much capable of powering through demanding creativity applications. 

MacBook Pro 2023 display

Samsung opts for AMOLED, Apple backs Mini LED

Both Apple and Samsung have invested a lot of money into their laptop’s screen technology, and yet have gone in different directions. 

The Galaxy Book3 Ultra features a 16-inch AMOLED 2X screen with a 3K (2880×1880) resolution. When seeing the Ultra in person, we noticed how the AMOLED backlight allowed the laptop to display fantastic contrast. Colours look dazzling and punchy, while dark scenery looks impressively detailed. 

Apple decided to use a Mini LED panel instead. The main benefit of this is brightness; the MacBook Pro can reach a max brightness of 1000 nits for standard content, and 1600 nits with HDR. For comparison, the Samsung can only muster 400 nits of brightness. 

The MacBook Pro also has a screen resolution of 3024×1964, boasting more pixels than the Samsung for a sharper presentation. 

There’s no difference when it comes to refresh rate though, with both laptops offering an adaptive 120fps performance for smoother on-screen motion. 

galaxy book 3 ultra ports
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Galaxy Book3 Ultra is lighter and slimmer

The biggest issue with high-end laptops is that they generally have a heavy design that isn’t ideal for working on the go. The MacBook Pro is far from the worst offender in this category, but the 16-inch model does hit the scales at 2.15kg. 

For comparison, Samsung claims the Galaxy Book3 Ultra only weighs 1.79kg which is noticeably lighter. It’s worth mentioning that the RTX 4070 will most likely be heavier, but it’s still nevertheless impressive that Samsung has been able to make the base model so portable. 

Samsung impresses once again when it comes to the thickness of the laptop, with the Ultra coming in at just 16.5mm thick. The 16-inch MacBook is one of the slimmer high-performance laptops you can buy, and yet it’s marginally bigger than Samsung at 16.8mm. 

The size difference probably isn’t significant enough to be a leading reason to opt for either laptop, but we still think it’s worth considering. But don’t forget that Apple also offers the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which is both lighter and slimmer, making it an ideal candidate for on-the-go work. 

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