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Mobile professionals who require a flexible computer that can function in both laptop and tablet modes -- so-called '2-in-1' devices -- come in two main form factors. 'Convertibles' look like regular laptops, but have a screen that can lie flat, facing outwards, usually via a 360-degree rotating hinge. 'Detachables' are primarily tablets, but can work in laptop mode via an add-on keyboard, and usually require the tablet section to be propped up on a desk or table using an integrated kickstand.
Samsung's new Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 is a classic 360-degree convertible and successor to the well-regarded Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360, while Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 is a leading tablet-first detachable, which now comes in Intel- and Arm-based (Microsoft SQ3) versions.
In this article, I've compared the specifications of this pair of 2-in-1s, both of which offer 5G connectivity, and given three reasons why each one could be the right fit for certain types of mobile professionals.
Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Windows 11 Home, Pro (for Business) • Windows 11 Home on Arm
1. You need a 'proper' keyboard' and a 'lappable' device
As a convertible 2-in-1, the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 has a standard laptop keyboard – an island-type layout with a separate numeric keypad in the case of this 16-inch device – and works in conventional laptop mode. Microsoft's Surface Pro Signature Keyboard for the Surface Pro 9, on the other hand, is a less sturdy affair that attaches to the tablet magnetically via the Surface Type Cover port and cannot be used comfortably on your lap due to the lack of a hinge and the need to engage the tablet's kickstand.
Microsoft sells the keyboard as an optional accessory, starting at $180, or $280 with a Slim Pen 2 stylus in its wireless recharging slot. Fortunately, both are on sale more frequently now that the Surface Pro 9's been out for some time. On the other hand, the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 comes with a Samsung S Pen in the box, as well as an integrated keyboard.
2. You want the latest-generation Intel Core processors
Samsung's Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 runs on Intel's 13th-generation Core i5 and i7 processors – specifically, the 28W P-series chips for 'performance thin & light laptops' with 4 or 6 Performance (P) cores and 8 Efficient (E) cores. The Intel-based Surface Pro 9 runs on 12th-generation U-series Core i5 and i7 processors with 2 P cores and 8 E cores; these are designed for ultrathin and fanless devices and run at 15W for better battery life.
The Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 should outperform the Intel-based Surface Pro 9 with mainstream productivity workloads, but we'll have to wait for reviewers to supply the benchmarks to get the full picture.
3. You want a large OLED screen
The Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 has a 16-inch, 16:10 Dynamic AMOLED 2X touch screen -- as used in Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones -- with 3K (2880 x 1800, 212ppi) resolution, 500 nits peak brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra's screen has VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, signifying its ability to render deep blacks and accurate shadow detail. It also has VESA ClearMR (Motion Ratio) 5000 certification, which grades motion blur for LCD and OLED panels, and is SGS Eye Care Display certified for blue light reduction.
The Surface Pro 9's PixelSense Flow screen has a similar pixel count (2880 x 1920) and also benefits from a 120Hz refresh rate, but squeezes those pixels into a much smaller 13-inch panel (267ppi) with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
If portability is your main requirement, the 13-inch Surface Pro 9 is the way to go. It's a slim (9.3mm/0.37in.) tablet weighing under a kilogram (2lbs), or 1.16kg (2.55lbs) with a Signature Keyboard. By contrast, the 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 is a bulkier device that's considerably thicker (12.8mm/0.5in.) and heavier (1.66kg/3.7lbs, Wi-Fi only).
The Intel version of the Surface Pro 9 is also available in a range of colours (Platinum, Graphite, Sapphire, Forest), although you're restricted to Platinum if you choose the Arm-based model.
2. You need maximum battery life
We don't have battery life claims or benchmarks for the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 yet, but they're unlikely to better the figures for the Arm-based Surface Pro 9, for which Microsoft claims up to 19 hours of 'typical device usage'. In practice, you're likely to see around 11 hours with a mix of mainstream workloads – and more if you restrict the screen refresh rate to 60Hz and turn down the brightness.
If battery life is paramount that's a big draw, although it will have to be balanced against performance and app compatibility issues that currently persist with Windows on Arm.
3. You want a webcam with IR support for face recognition
Windows Hello face authentication is a quick and effective way of unlocking your Windows PC, and the Surface Pro 9 has an IR-equipped 1080p webcam that supports it, while the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360, like its predecessor, does not. Samsung's 2-in-1 does have a fingerprint reader integrated into its power key, so biometric authentication is available, although IR support would be convenient in tablet mode.
The Surface Pro 9 also offers a rear-facing 10MP camera, while the Arm-based model has a Neural Processing Unit that handles AI-enabled camera effects for video calls such as eye contact, portrait background blur and automatic framing. The Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360's 1080p webcam offers a similar set of features via its Studio Mode.
Lenovo's 14-inch Yoga 9i is a premium convertible 2-in-1 with a 16:10 IPS touchscreen based on 12th-generation P-series Core i7 processors. Equipped with excellent speakers in a rotating soundbar hinge, the Yoga 9i currently starts at $1,320.
Samsung's Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 has a 15.6-inch screen and currently starts at $950 for a configuration with a 12th-generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Step up to 16GB and 1TB and you'll pay $1,150. If you don't need a 16-inch screen or 13th-generation Intel Core processors, look out for incoming deals.
Based on 11th-generation Intel Core (i3/i5/i7) processors, the Surface Pro 8 is very similar, design-wise, to the Surface Pro 9. The Surface Pro 8 starts at $900 for a Wi-Fi-only version with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. A Core i7 configuration with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will cost you $1,200, while the top-end Core i7 model with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD costs $2,300. There's no Arm-based version of the Surface Pro 8, and if you want LTE mobile broadband you'll need to go for the more expensive 'for Business' model.