Samsung is dropping hints that its next Galaxy Book Windows laptop, expected at Unpacked on February 1, will get the Ultra treatment, similar to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra tablet and the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra phone. That likely means an S Pen on board, since Samsung shut down its Note family of devices to focus on Ultra. We could also see improved cameras -- as well as a sky-high price tag.
In a blog post from TM Roh, President and Head of the Mobile eXperiences (MX) Business, Samsung digs deep into what the evolution from Note to Ultra branded devices means. Roh cites performance and camera capabilities, then says that “Ultra means big.”
In advance of the Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco, the company is already taking online reservations for two devices, a smartphone and a Galaxy Book, presumably a Windows laptop following up on the Galaxy Book 2 Pro. That laptop tops out at 15 inches, but we might see Samsung launch something even larger, perhaps to compete with Apple’s best Macbook Pro.
Here's what a Galaxy Book Ultra would be
The Macbook Pro was updated today with a faster M2 Pro processor, so it would make sense for Samsung to try to reclaim some momentum in the weeks before launch by teasing a new device. The company may be a more worthy Apple competitor in the phone space, but its Galaxy Book 2 Pro reviewed well in our tests.
A best guess would add a pen, a Samsung-branded S Pen of course, to the Galaxy Book Ultra. We’d also expect to see a camera upgrade, and since the webcam is the most important lens on a laptop, that’s the camera that should get a boost. We’d also expect to see a performance boost, so the latest Intel silicon inside would be a good bet.
Samsung speaks to connectivity quite a bit in its blog post, so we’d also expect a Galaxy Book Ultra to come with cellular connectivity options, perhaps even fast 5G networking. A laptop, which sits still and has a huge antenna compared to a smartphone, is a better candidate for the fastest mmWave 5G, if you’ll be using your laptop in a connected area.
Of course, Samsung could just be referring to connectivity between the laptop and the new Galaxy S23 phones. It’s possible that the laptop could rely entirely on the new phones for cellular connectivity, with a suite of automated software to make that connection happen when the two are within range. We’re hoping for the latter, as 5G laptops are still a rarity.
Lot's of hints but no real details
Unfortunately, the blog post gives us few actual concrete details or even deducible hints about what to expect in a new phone. We can only surmise so much about a new laptop because there is no Ultra version of the Galaxy Book, and these are the features a Galaxy Book would need to match the Galaxy S22 Ultra or the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
We will have more on the new phones and laptops, and any new Samsung devices, in our ongoing coverage of the Samsung Unpacked event. We’re expecting great new cameras, cool new laptops, and perhaps even some surprises yet to come.
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Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.