Gaming and Ultrabooks have not usually been a combination that has been talked about together unless you are talking about premium-priced offerings like those from Razer. However, laptops of that calibre are often out of reach for the average consumer. On top of that, users who want something that fits more into a business environment tend to want something that looks more professional.
Sure, there is the potential of the Microsoft Surface Laptop, but it is not meant for gaming, nor does it have a dedicated gaming GPU. So what do these people do to satisfy their needs? Meet the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra, Samsung’s latest top-of-the-line Ultrabook with a built-in NVidia GPU! How does it compare to the other high-end Ultrabooks on the market, and how does it perform in intensive tasks with the dedicated graphics? Let’s take a closer look.
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is about what you would expect from your typical laptop these days. Apart from having a nicer-than-average box than most laptops, the contents are about what you would expect. You are first greeted by the laptop itself, below which you will find the 100W charging brick and charging cable. Personally, I wish Ultrabook manufacturers would include a slightly longer charging cable, as the included 8′ cable isn’t always long enough to reach all the outlets I have. I also wish Samsung would have added folding prongs to the adapter as Apple does, both to protect the adapter when travelling and to increase portability.
“The price is certainly steep, but for those looking for a laptop in this class, quality balanced with performance never comes cheap.”
Like a number of Ultrabooks on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra has a rigid feel and is made mostly of aluminum. The dark grey colour is both sleek and gives the appearance of a very professional-looking laptop. However, the top cover attracts fingerprints similar to other similarly built laptops from other well-known companies. The screen hinges are loose enough to allow for a one-finger opening, but firm and tight enough to hold the screen in place reasonably well. As far as flex is concerned, the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra has minimal, if any, flex, giving a premium feel to the overall build.
Built into my Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a 13th generation Intel I7-13700H clocked at 2.4GHz, with turbo speeds up to an impressive 5.0GHz. My unit came with 16 GB of DDR5 RAM and a 512 GB SSD, although other models have an optional I9-13900H with up to 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. For the first time, Samsung has opted to include a dedicated graphics card.
My review unit has an NVidia RTX 4050 with 6 GB of video memory, although other models may have an NVidia RTX 4070. Very impressive for any Ultrabook, but one I found myself really grateful to have. This was an aspect I had hoped for on last year’s Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360, which was only equipped with Intel Iris Xe graphics. Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra starts at $1799.99 but can go much higher if you opt for the higher-end models. Certainly not cheap for an Ultrabook, but prices are similar to offerings from competitors like Apple or Microsoft.
“The fact that Samsung has taken the screen a step further by adding a 120Hz refresh rate and a 16:10 aspect ratio makes this one of the best screens on a Windows laptop I have used.”
In terms of IO, Samsung has loaded the Galaxy Book3 Ultra with a very good selection of ports. Especially compared to other top names on the market, who only stuff their laptops with a few USB C/Thunderbolt ports. Users will be happy to hear that they can leave most of the dongles they need at home unless they are using several devices at once. On the left side of the laptop, you will find an HDMI 2.0 port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Each of the Thunderbolt 4 ports can be used for charging if needed. Personally, I would have liked to see HDMI 2.1 at this price point. On the right side, you will find a headphone jack, a full-size USB A 3.2 port and a MicroSD card slot. While many may wish that Samsung had opted for a full-size SD card slot instead of MicroSD, I personally find myself using MicroSD cards much more than full-size, so I am perfectly fine with this decision.
For light everyday tasks, it comes as no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra can handle them with ease. Thanks to the 3K AMOLED, content looked both crisp and sharp, colours were vibrant, and videos were almost lifelike. The fact that Samsung has taken the screen a step further by adding a 120Hz refresh rate and a 16:10 aspect ratio makes this one of the best screens on a Windows laptop I have used. The 4 built-in AKG speakers deliver great-sounding audio, although I would have liked to see upward-facing speakers, as, like all down-firing speakers, they can get muffled when sitting on a bed, couch, or even my lap.
It is in the more intensive tasks, such as gaming, that really push the whole Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra to its limits, I was thoroughly impressed by the performance delivered in my typical gauntlet of benchmarks. Results in GeekBench 6 gave a score of 2475 points in single-core and an impressive 12298 points in multi-core. Running a 10-minute Cinebench R23 loop resulted in an impressive 13500 multi-core score. Finally, benchmarking in FurMark to test the RTX 4050, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra gave a very respectable score averaging around 6000 points and generally capped itself at 100FPS at 1080p.
In games, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra again delivered quite impressive results for such a thin Ultrabook. GTA V was able to get an average frame rate of around 51FPS, a respectable result, although I would have hoped for a bit more with such a modern GPU. BeamNG.drive, a very CPU and GPU-intensive game, also delivered a score of 55FPS.
American Truck Simulator delivered the highest FPS of all the games I tested, averaging an incredible 113.4 FPS. All of the games I tested were on maxed-out settings with a resolution of 1920×1200, so much higher frame rates could easily be achieved by lowering the settings to medium or lower if desired. That said, I was not expecting this kind of performance from this laptop and was delighted to see what Samsung was able to achieve.
When you open the lid of the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra, the first thing you probably notice is the massive glass touchpad that Samsung has included in this generation. It is so large that I can fully insert my Google Pixel 6a and still have room on either side of the touchpad. This is, without a doubt, the largest touchpad I have ever seen or used on a laptop. It certainly made use of scrolling through web pages or navigating through files.
The keyboard keys are well-balanced and comfortable to type on, although the keystrokes are a bit flat for my taste. I was able to get up to my normal typing speed quickly and easily. I was thankful to see that Samsung has added a number pad on the right side of the keyboard. Also, on the top right of the keyboard is a fingerprint reader built into the power button. The keyboard has 3 levels of backlighting, but I personally never needed anything above the lowest level.
With all this power, there has to be a compromise somewhere, right? Unfortunately, battery life was one area where the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra seemed to struggle in everyday use. Running at its native screen resolution and dynamic refresh rate, I was only able to get an average of 5-6 hours out of the 76Wh battery just running Microsoft Edge and doing lighter tasks.
“…the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a great all-around laptop for students and business professionals alike.”
While I can imagine that dropping the resolution to 1920×1200 and switching to a 60Hz refresh rate could potentially increase battery performance in a pinch, making that sacrifice in my mind takes away from what makes the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra truly impressive. Gaming would certainly drain the battery much faster, but in any case, recharging the battery to full with the included 100W USB PD charger was a quick experience. From 30% to full, the battery was able to fully recharge in well under 2 hours, allowing for a quick charge when you’re on the go or in a hurry.
In conclusion, Samsung has done an excellent job with their new Galaxy Book3 Ultra. With performance that is powerful enough for a wide range of use cases, whether it be gaming or intensive CPU tasks that could be required in various school courses, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a great all-around laptop for students and business professionals alike.
The choice of ports means you can more than likely leave the dongles at home and use the built-in selection, further reducing clutter and added weight in your bag. While the battery performance out of the box may not be class-leading, with tuning it could very likely be much better. The price is certainly steep, but for those looking for a laptop in this class, quality balanced with performance never comes cheap.