The Best Samsung Laptops, Tablets, and Chromebooks
When you’re looking for a mobile computer today your options are better than ever. You can choose between: laptops and tablets; cheap and expensive; Windows, Android, and Chrome OS; and many other things.
Samsung has a foot in each one of these markets. But which of its products are worth buying? We’ve studied the company’s range, as well as tests, reviews, and user feedback, to decide our picks for the best Samsung laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets.
The Best Samsung Laptops
Samsung’s laptop range incorporates entry level (the 5 series), mid-range (7 series), and high-end (9 series) models, along with the gaming-oriented Odyssey. All of the devices have things to recommend, but it’s at the mid and high end that you’ll find Samsung’s best laptops.
Best Premium Laptop: Notebook 9 Pro
- Premium quality laptop
- Fast i7 processor
- Lots of RAM
- Small bezel around screen
- S Pen included in package
Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro is a powerhouse by anyone’s standards. The Windows 10 laptop packs a 7th generation i7 processor (with 2.7GHz clock speed), a massive 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and 1080p 15″ touchscreen into a body just 0.77 inches thick.
The display supports HDR, is surrounded by modest bezels, and flips back 360 degrees to allow the device to function as a tablet. Connectivity includes a USB-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and a Micro SD card slot. Most tests mark the battery as being good for 6-8 hours of use.
What earns this laptop its “Pro” title is the inclusion of Samsung’s famed S Pen. The smart stylus, which has proven so popular on the Galaxy Note series of smartphones, adds a whole extra layer of functionality without the need to connect more peripherals.
While it works for note-taking and general navigation, the S Pen really come into its own as a creative tool. Couple it with design apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, and being able to directly manipulate images will change how you work. And unlike Windows Ink pens , the S Pen is stored inside the Pro’s case. It never needs charging or pairing, and you’ll always have it with you.
The Notebook 9 Pro also comes in cheaper and lower-specced 13″ and i5 models.
Best Convertible Notebook: Notebook 7 Spin
- Great spec mid-ranger
- Latest generation i5 processor
- Upgradeable memory and hard drive
- Lots of ports
- Fast charging
If you prefer something more affordable, the Notebook 7 Spin sits very nicely in the mid-range. It offers some of the sweet design touches of its flagship counterpart, but at a more reachable price.
The 13.3″ model is powered by a 7th-generation i5 processor, which is more than good enough for all but the most demanding of tasks. It’s backed up with 12GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Handily, both of these are upgradeable. You can install up to 32GB of RAM, while the hard drive can be swapped out for a much faster solid state drive .
The 1080p touchscreen supports HDR video. And the 2-in-1 form factor (why buy a 2-in-1? ) means the display can flip around, so you can use the laptop as a tablet. Also, there are ports galore: 1 x USB-C (which supports 4K out with an optional adapter), 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, and Micro SD.
There are a few compromises. In particular, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 is nothing special, and certainly not for gaming. Battery life is quoted at 9.5 hours, with tests putting it at a little over five in real-world use. It charges quickly, though.
The 7 Spin also comes in a 15-inch version. This is perhaps more of a desktop replacement since it weighs five pounds.
The Best Samsung Chromebooks
Chromebooks have a reputation for being simple and affordable , with broad appeal. Samsung has this part of the market covered but offers great options for more demanding users, too. These devices have a range of interesting features, from spill-resistant keyboards to support for Android apps.
Best Budget Chromebook: Chromebook 3
- Very inexpensive
- Decent amount of RAM
- Well rated display
- Spill-resistant keyboard
- Great battery life
The Chromebook 3 is the kind of computer most people think of when they think of Chromebooks: it’s cheap. While this should limit your expectations it does make the machine ideal for the biggest target markets for Chrome OS. It’s a solid option for kids needing a first computer for school, or for an older relative who wants something for checking email and paying a few bills.
The Chromebook 3 is available in a few different configurations, and it’s worth paying a few dollars extra for the option with 4GB of RAM. That’s double what the base model and most other budget Chromebooks have, and should give you noticeably better performance. It’s allied here with an Intel Celeron processor good enough for web and video use, and 32GB of storage.
There are some standout features. The 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display is well regarded for its brightness and realistic colors. Tests show the battery life pushing the 10-hour mark. And there’s plenty of connectivity options, including two USB ports, HDMI-out, and a Micro SD slot.
Best Premium Chromebook: Chromebook Pro
- Premium design and build
- Very high-resolution display
- Runs Android apps
- Energy-efficient processor
- Aspect ratio great for tablet use
If you want the speed and simplicity of Chrome OS but don’t want to forego premium quality in your laptop, the Chromebook Pro is a fantastic option.
Its 12.3″ LED display has a resolution of 2400×1600 pixels, which is higher than even the considerably more expensive Notebook 9 Pro. It’s a touchscreen, and with the 360-degree rotating display can switch into tablet mode. The 3:2 aspect ratio (squarer than the usual widescreen format) helps with this, although it does mean that your videos will be letterboxed.
The Chromebook Pro has a Core m3 processor, which delivers ample performance for the key uses of a Chrome device . It’s also energy efficient, with tests showing the battery to be good for 5-7 hours of use. On top of that is a healthy 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
Other extras include an S-Pen stylus, housed and charged inside the Chromebook’s casing, for added productivity. There’s also a 720p webcam and a couple of USB-C ports.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the inclusion of Google’s Play Store. You can use this to install and run Android apps , and vastly increase the capabilities of this Chromebook in the process.
The Best Samsung Tablets
Samsung sells a range of tablets covering most price points. The Android-powered Tab A series includes entry-level devices for users on tight budgets. The price bump up to the Tab S range gets you a noticeable update in quality. For something a little different, the Windows-powered Galaxy Book is also a good option.
Best Overall Tablet: Galaxy Tab S2
- Premium design, very thin
- Fingerprint scanner
- Very high-resolution screen
- Double-digit battery life
You could look at Samsung’s S-series tablets as providing Android alternatives to the iPad. The Tab S3 is the new flagship model and is an iPad Pro competitor. It comes in sizes up to 12″ and includes an S Pen stylus. It’s also expensive and targets a niche market.
A better option for most users is the Tab S2. This mainstream device is effectively a take on the standard iPad and is available in 8″ and 9.7″ versions. It launched with Android Marshmallow, but an update to Nougat has since been released. It’s unclear at the time of writing if it will get further updates.
The 8-inch model has a 2048 x 1536 pixel AMOLED display. It’s powered by a fast octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of internal storage, and you can expand this through the Micro SD card slot.
The camera uses an eight-megapixel sensor, and the lens has an f1.9 aperture. This captures more light and is ideal for shooting in less than perfect conditions. Security comes via a fingerprint sensor positioned below the screen, and the battery should get you a good ten hours of use based on mixed usage.
The S2 is still a feature-rich package, and it’s all crammed into a ridiculously slim body. It’s just 0.22 inches thick and weighs only 9.35 ounces.
Best Premium 2-in-1: Galaxy Book
- Runs full Windows
- Comes with S Pen and keyboard
- Compact and portable
- Can run desktop apps like Photoshop
The Samsung Galaxy Book does not run Android, it runs Windows. Samsung classifies it as a tablet, yet it’s actually a 2-in-1 device styled along the lines of Microsoft’s Surface Pro. This means it is a tablet (available in 10.6″ and 12″ versions) with a detachable keyboard that makes it a whole lot better for productivity.
The best value 10.6″ model has a 1920×1280 pixel LCD display (the OLED model costs over grand). It runs on a 7th-generation Intel Core m3 processor, with 4GB of RAM. There’s 128GB of internal storage, and you can add more with a microSD card.
As these specs show, the Galaxy Book isn’t a workhorse, but it is up to the task of handling larger programs like Photoshop.
Although this is ostensibly a tablet, there’s no rear camera, only a front-facing webcam. In tests, the battery lasts around seven or eight hours depending on usage.
As well as the keyboard, the Galaxy Book includes an S Pen. Both charge through the main tablet body, so neither needs to be powered separately. They’re also permanently connected, so you never need to navigate the fiddly Bluetooth pairing process associated with many addons.
As one of the world’s biggest and most popular tech companies, Samsung has something for every type of user and every budget. Which one would you choose?
Do you use a Samsung tablet or laptop, and would you recommend it to others? Are you planning to buy any of the products listed above? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments below.
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