The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is the company’s direct answer to the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023). With a 16-inch OLED display, a13th Gen Core CPU and an RTX 40-series GPU, Samsung’s laptop is a monster.
- Gorgeous AMOLED display
- Thin, lightweight design
- Great work/gaming performance
- Roomy keyboard
- Samsung features might be superfluous for some users
The MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023 is an absolute monster of a laptop. The entry-level model sporting the Apple M2 Pro chip is already a powerhouse, but if you opt for the Apple M2 Max processor, you’re going to get the most powerful laptop we’ve ever tested.
- Gorgeous display
- Spectacular performance
- Epic battery life
- Generous port selection
- Steep asking price
- Nominal upgrade from 2021 model
Our head-to-head comparison between the MacBook Pro 16-inch vs Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra will help you decide which powerful, big-screen laptop is right for you.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra features powerful components to justify its “Ultra” branding. With the latest Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU options, not to mention a large 16-inch AMOLED display, it’s effectively Samsung’s answer to the MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023.
Is the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra the MacBook Pro killer it seems to be? I’ve reviewed both devices and think they’re some of the best laptops currently available. Each has earned the Tom’s Guide Editor’s Choice badge. In that respect, you can’t go wrong with either machine. However, one might be better for you, depending on your specific needs.
Below, I’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra to the MacBook Pro 16-inch to see how each stacks up in individual categories. This face-off should give you an idea of what each is capable of and which might be the best fit for you.
Editor’s note: Apple sent us a MacBook Pro 16-inch configured with an M2 Max chip packing a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU, 96GB of RAM and 4TB of storage. This model retails for upward of $5,299. Se’ve also provided benchmark results for a MacBook Pro 14-inch with a similar M2 Pro chip found in the entry-level 16-inch Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Specs
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra (starting)||MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023 (starting)|
|Display||16-inch 3K (2,880 x 1,800) 120Hz AMOLED||16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR (3,456 x 2,234) 120Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-13700H||M2 Pro (12-core CPU)|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050||M2 Pro (19-core GPU)|
|Dimensions||13.9 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches||14.0 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches|
|Weight||3.9 pounds||4.7 pounds|
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Price and configuration
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and MacBook Pro 16-inch are their respective companies’ premium laptops. Because of that, these notebooks also command a premium price.
The entry-level Galaxy Book 3 Ultra starts at $2,199. This model features a 16-inch AMOLED (what Samsung brands a Dynamic AMOLED 2X) display with 3K (2,880 x 1,800) resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. It packs a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 laptop GPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.
The most decked-out model has the same 16-inch display but features an Intel Core i9 processor, an Nvidia RTX 4070 laptop GPU, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. This configuration costs $2,999, though you can get it for $2,399 with a qualified trade-in.
Our Galaxy Book 3 Ultra review unit retails for $2,399 and has the same specs as the entry-level model, only with 1TB of storage instead of 512GB.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch has a starting price of $2,499. The entry-level configuration comes with a 12-core M2 Pro CPU, a 19-core GPU, 16GB of unified memory and 512GB of SSD storage. For $200 more, you can get 1TB of storage.
The M2 Max version costs a bank-breaking $3,499 to start. This model packs a 12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 32GB of unified memory and 1TB of storage. You can upgrade to an obscene 96GB of unified memory for an additional $800. And if you need as much storage space as possible, you can shell out an extra $1,200 for 8TB of storage.
Apple sent us a review unit with a maxed-out M2 Max, 96GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD for storage. If you were to purchase the same laptop direct from Apple, it would cost you upwards of $5,300.
Apple products have a reputation for being pricier than the competition and that holds true here. The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra certainly isn’t cheap, but it will cost several hundred dollars less than a new 16-inch MacBook Pro—especially if with a qualified trade-in.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Design
Both laptops feature fetching designs befitting modern laptops. Design preference is always subjective but there are some differences that could make one laptop favorable over the other.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is a sleek and elegant laptop that’s well-suited for work and play. This is thanks to its Graphite finish, sturdy machined aluminum chassis and overall non-descript design. Aside from a discreet Samsung logo on its lid, this machine doesn’t have any major distinguishing features.
At 13.9 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches and weighing 3.9 pounds, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is easy to hold and carry around. Not only is it a bit thinner than the MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023, but it’s almost a pound lighter.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is easy to open with one hand thanks to the lip on its lid. It’s a small detail that goes a long way. The hinge is rigid but still easy to move.
The new MacBook Pro 16-inch has the same design as its predecessor. The notebook has a sturdy, squared-off aluminum chassis that’s available in either Silver or Space Gray.
At 14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches and 4.7 pounds (4.8 for the M2 Max model), the MacBook Pro 16-inch is both big and heavy. You’re going to be very aware it’s in your backpack when you’re out and about. It’s still portable enough to carry around, but you’re probably going to want to keep it on a desk instead of your lap when you’re working.
The 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display retains the same super thin bezels of its predecessor. The infamous notch at the top of the display is still present, which might irk some users. The TouchID button built into the keyboard is a great feature that lets you quickly get to work, though a Face ID sensor would have been appreciated.
It's difficult declaring a winner in this category since both laptops are sleek and elegant. If you don’t want an all-black laptop, the MacBook Pro 16-inch might be a better choice. However, those seeking a lighter notebook may want to opt for the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Display
Display quality is a major factor when considering a laptop since you’ll spend so much time staring at the screen. Thankfully, both Samsung and Apple’s laptops feature stunning displays.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display technology. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 have gorgeous AMOLED displays with 120Hz refresh rates, and it’s great to see that tech in the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. Everything appears phenomenal on the 16-inch display.
The MacBook Pro’s gorgeous 16-inch mini-LED display is one of this laptop’s biggest (no pun intended) selling points. It’s bright and colorful, with a smooth 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate. It’s one of the best laptop displays you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing.
But how did the displays stack up in our lab tests? Using our colorimeter, we found that the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra’s screen achieves 121.6% of the sRGB color gamut and 86.2% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color space (closer to 100% is best). These values edge out the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which achieved 118.2% and 83.7% on those respective tests.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023|
Samsung’s notebook scored 0.15 in the Delta-E color accuracy test (0 is ideal) while Apple’s 16-inch laptop scored 0.21. So the Book 3 Ultra wins here as well.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra’s screen can get fairly bright. According to our light meter, the screen averages 378 nits of brightness. The display hit 519 nits of brightness when displaying HDR content on 10% of the display and 509 nits for 100% of the screen.
As bright as Samsung’s laptop gets, it’s literally outshined by the MacBook Pro 16-inch. In our testing, Apple’s laptop got as high as 1,478 nits of brightness when displaying HDR content on 10% of the display and 1,063 nits for 100% of the screen. Even with non-HDR content, the MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023 still managed to achieve an average brightness of 446 nits.
In terms of color accuracy, both laptops are fairly even. However, the MacBook Pro 16-inch has the edge when it comes to display brightness.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Ports
Both laptops pack a generous amount of ports.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has a pair of Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports and an HDMI port on the left side. The right side has a headphone jack, a USB-A port and a microSD card slot.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro has the same amount of ports as the previous model, which is fine since we were big fans of that laptop’s generous port selection. You’ll get three Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, an SD card slot, and an HDMI port. There’s also a headphone jack and a MagSafe port.
Samsung has a potential advantage here since it has a USB-A port, which is ideal for connecting older devices. If you don’t care about that or are a fan of MagSafe charging, the MacBook Pro 16-inch might be better.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Keyboard and touchpad
When it comes to keyboards, both laptops win. Even if you aren't generally a fan of laptop keyboards, you might not find much to complain about as each provides an enjoyable typing experience.
The enormous Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has an equally large keyboard. I have big hands and I found it easy to move around and type on this spacious layout. The membrane keys on this device felt good to type on and provided decent resistance when pressed. It also has great key travel distance, which helped me write almost as fast as I do on a normal keyboard.
The touchpad is also pretty darn huge. It’s one of the biggest touchpads I’ve seen. Its size ensured I wouldn’t miss it when I swiped. And despite the touchpad’s size, I never once accidentally brushed up against it. It felt smooth to use and it responded to all my swipes.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch has an equally great keyboard. Though I wish there was a bit more key travel distance, the overall ease and comfortability when using the keyboard offset that. It’s a joy to type on.
The huge touchpad is also easy to work with. Its smooth surface allows my fingers to glide freely. I'll take one of the best mice any day of the week, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro's touchpad works as well as I could hope on a laptop.
Again, both laptops have excellent keyboards and touchpads that are a joy to work on.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: General performance
Now we come to performance, which could be the true determining factor for some people.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Single-core||Multi-core|
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||2,270||12,405|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023||1,944||15,044|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023||1,929||15,100|
On Geekbench 6, which measures CPU performance, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra notched a single-core score of 2,270 and an impressive 12,405 score on the multi-core test. In comparison, the MacBook Pro 16-inch we reviewed with an M2 Max chip scored 1,944 and 15,044 in single and multi-core (respectively) on Geekbench 6.
On Geekbench 5.5, the MacBook Pro 14-inch with an M2 Max chip with 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores notched 1,929 and 15,100, respectively.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Time (min:sec)|
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||5:26|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023||4:03|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023||4:06|
When crunching video using the Handbrake app, Samsung’s laptop transcoded a 6.5GB 4K video to 1080p in 5 minutes and 26 seconds. The M2 Max-powered MacBook Pro 16-inch performed the same task in 4 minutes and 3 seconds.
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||822||5:59|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Max||1,218||3:54|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||951||4:38|
On the PugetBench PhotoShop test, which assigns a score based on how effectively a system uses scripts to apply a series of filters and other adjustments to a number of high-res photographs, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra scored 822. The test also times how long each system takes, and Samsung's notebook took 5 minutes and 59 seconds.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch with an M2 Max chip scored much better (1,218) and was almost two minutes faster (3:54). Apple's 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro chip achieved a lower score than its sibling (951) and took nearly a minute more (4:38) but still beat the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||897|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Max||1,159|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||872|
We put the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra through the PugetBench Premiere Pro test, which involves taking a 4K clip and applying a Lumetri Color effect and adding 12 clips across four tracks in a multi-camera sequence.
Samsung's laptop turned in a score of 897. In contrast, the MacBook Pro 16-inch achieved a score of 1,159 while the M2 Pro-driven Macbook Pro 14-inch notched 872.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra packs a lot of power but the M2 Pro and M2 Max-powered MacBook Pros outstrip it in overall performance. If you’re a professional video editor, Apple's latest Pro laptops are the ones to get, based on our testing.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Gaming performance
Both machines offer strong gaming performance. There’s a caveat to this, which we’ll get to in a moment.
The reason the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra bears the "Ultra" moniker isn’t just due to its size. It’s because of its powerful specs. Though it may not look like it, it's a surprisingly great gaming laptop.
Doom Eternal runs marvelously on the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. During my own testing, frame rates remained between 115 fps and 119 fps. Marvel’s Spider-Man had frame rates mostly in the 50s with DLSS enabled, though it dropped to the mid-40s whenever I fought enemies. At medium settings, Cyberpunk 2077 ran close to 60 fps but would drop to the low 40s when there was more happening in the environment.
Playing Resident Evil Village on the MacBook Pro 16-inch with an M2 Max processor and 96GB of RAM had frame rates ranging from the high 190s all the way to 330 fps during my own testing. This was with MetalFX enabled, which is Apple's proprietary graphics tech that helps render graphics without a huge performance hit. Apple silicon has the power to make games run at insanely high FPS, so long as titles are optimized for Apple’s computers.
During our in-house lab testing, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI managed to hit an impressive 94 fps at 1080p on the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. On the MacBook Pro 16-inch, it ran at nearly 60 fps across all available display resolutions. Note that this game doesn’t make use of Apple’s MetalFX.
While the MacBook Pro 16-inch can certainly handle graphically-demanding games, many of the best PC games don't yet run natively on macOS. On the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, you have full access to games available on digital storefronts like Steam or GOG. If you’re serious about gaming, Samsung’s notebook is the clear winner.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Webcam
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has a Full HD (1080p) webcam that delivers good image quality for video calls.
I took the above shot in my apartment. The camera accurately represents my skin tone and some of the colors on the shirt I wore. My white walls also appear as they do in real life, and it’s easy to see the subtle light cast by a lamp that’s off-camera. Overall, the webcam’s quality is solid.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch’s webcam has an improved image processor over its predecessor that delivers minor improvements to the overall image quality. With that said, it’s the same basic webcam as before. Like other aspects that rolled over from the previous model, we can’t complain about the lack of change since the webcam quality is still impressive.
I took a picture of myself in our office and wasn’t displeased by the image quality. The webcam accurately captured my skin tone and details on my clothes. My background also came across clearly, if that’s something that’s important to you.
Overall, the MacBook Pro 16-inch has the better webcam.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Battery life
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra offers decent battery life. On the Tom's Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, it lasted for 10 hours and 1 minute at 60Hz. However, when we ran the test with the display at 120Hz, battery life was only 8 hours and 48 minutes.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Time (hours:mins)|
|Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra||10:01|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023||18:56|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023||14:23|
Ten hours of battery life isn’t bad but Apple’s notebook completely blows this away. The MacBook Pro 16-inch is the longest-lasting laptop we’ve reviewed, with a mind-blowing 18 hours and 56 minutes of battery life. Samsung’s laptop doesn’t even come close in this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra vs MacBook Pro 16-inch: Bottom line
As stated up top, both the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and MacBook Pro 16-inch are phenomenal laptops. You can’t go wrong with either, though your specific needs will ultimately determine which one you should get.
If you're a Windows 11 user who wants a laptop that can play the vast majority of PC games, then the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is the clear winner. However, if you want a powerful laptop for video editing or you're simply an Apple fan, then the new MacBook Pro 16-inch is for you.