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Samsung Galaxy Book4 review: Almost entirely uninspiring

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £949
inc VAT

A high price and absence of an OLED screen mean the Galaxy Book4 struggles to distinguish itself


  • Good speaker system
  • Reasonable battery life
  • Stylish and well-made


  • Drab IPS display
  • No keyboard backlight
  • Expensive for what you get

With the new Samsung Galaxy Book4, we are adrift on the ocean of the average, the median and the lowest common denominator. This 4th-gen Galaxy Book is an entry-level laptop, so you will look in vain for an OLED display, a higher-than-usual refresh rate or any distinguishing features. It’s a laptop aimed at people who buy a car because they like the colour.

This is no reason to dismiss the Galaxy Book4 out of hand. Many buyers just want “A Laptop” that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and is capable of everyday computing duties. But the Galaxy Book4 isn’t exactly cheap for such a machine, so ultimately it falls between two stools.

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Samsung Galaxy Book4 review: What you need to know

The Samsung Galaxy Book4 is the runt of the litter. It may be called a Galaxy Book, but it shares precious little, practically or philosophically, with the OLED Galaxy Book4 Ultra, Galaxy Book4 Pro 14 and 16, or the convertible Galaxy Book4 360 and Pro 360 machines.

What Samsung has done is build a fairly decent but dull mid-range 15.6in laptop, style it to look like the rest of the new Galaxy Book4 range and slap a premium on the price, making a cheap laptop that isn’t all that cheap.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core 7 150U CPU, Intel Graphics GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6in, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display. Price when reviewed: £749 inc VAT

If you buy the Galaxy Book 4 we’ve been sent to review directly from Samsung (as detailed above), you’ll pay £949, but at least one retailer is already selling it at a major discount, £749, down from a “regular price” of £949.

Other variations on the theme are available: £599 gets you a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core 3 100U CPU, while £1,049 lands you a machine with a 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia MX570A discrete GPU. Another model with a Core i5-1335U CPU costs £799.

Considering the technical specifications, I’d say all those are priced about 20% too high and thus face very stiff competition. The Acer Aspire 7 we reviewed, for instance, costs £799 and comes with a Full HD screen with a 144Hz refresh rate and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 GPU, which gives it decent gaming performance. You can also easily add more memory and storage. For the price, it’s a better laptop than the Samsung Galaxy Book 4.

Huawei’s MateBook D16 is rather dull, but the Core i9 model, priced at £999, has some serious performance under the hood. The Core i5 model, currently available for just £499, is great value, too. Both models use 13th-gen Intel silicon, but that’s not a reason to avoid them.

Lenovo’s LOQ Gen 9 suffers from poor battery life, but the 144Hz display is great for a laptop with a £700 price tag and its Intel Arc A570M GPU can handle most AAA games if you dial the detail settings down.

Last but by no means least, the HP Pavilion SE 14 is one of our favourite cheap laptops at Expert Reviews. Granted, there’s nothing to get excited about, but it has no significant failings, and it can be yours for under £500.

READ NEXT: Best laptops for students

Samsung Galaxy Book 4 review: Design and build quality

  • Good range of I/O ports
  • Solid metal chassis
  • Difficult to upgrade

This entry-level Galaxy Book4 is a smart, angular, all-metal affair that looks and feels right at home alongside its more expensive brethren. It feels stiff and robust, and it manages that despite weighing only 1.42kg. At just under 15.5mm thick, it’s quite slender for a full-sized laptop.

Samsung has done a thorough job with the Galaxy Book4’s physical ports. On the left, you’ll find two 10Gbits/sec USB-C ports, both of which support DisplayPort video output and can be used to attach the 45W USB-C charger. An HDMI 1.4 video output, Gigabit Ethernet and 5Gbits/sec USB-A ports sit between them. A second USB-A port, 3.5mm audio jack and MicroSD card slot are on the right side.

With no screws visible, taking the Galaxy Book 4 apart presumably involves removing the four rubber feet stuck to the base. Samsung does advertise that the Galaxy Book4 has two SSD bays, but accessing them will clearly involve careful disassembly and access to glue when putting it all back together. 

Wireless communications are rather basic, with the Intel AX201 card only supporting 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

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Samsung Galaxy Book 4 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

  • No keyboard backlight
  • Numeric keypad
  • Poor 720p webcam

The Galaxy Book 4 has an expansive keyboard, numeric keypad and fingerprint scanner. The flat chiclet-style keys with white keycap graphics are models of clarity, and the typing action is good, with 1.5mm of travel and a crisp end stop.

The centre of the keyboard is rather bouncy, however, even under quite gentle pressure, and the cursor keys are all half-height despite there being space to make them full-sized. Additionally, there’s no keyboard backlight, which is hard to forgive at this price.

The touchpad measures 120 x 85mm, which is about as big as it can be given the deck size below the keyboard. The glass surface is perfectly smooth, the click-action positive and not too loud.

Turning to the webcam, it’s a rudimentary 720p affair that doesn’t support Windows Hello facial recognition. Video capture is noisy and grainy even in good light; you do at least get Samsung-supplied special effects like background blur, face effects and auto framing.

Samsung, of course, plays up the fact that you can use the camera of your Galaxy phone as a remote webcam, but you can do that with all phone cameras via  Windows 11 these days. There is no excuse for fitting a crummy camera to any laptop, let alone one costing as much as the Galaxy Book4.

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Samsung Galaxy Book4 review: Display and audio

  • Poor Full HD IPS display
  • 15.6in 16:9 layout feels old-school
  • Good speaker system

Given the price of the Galaxy Book4, the 1,920 x 1,080 60Hz IPS display is a depressingly poor exercise in mundanity. Gamut volumes are bargain-basement low at just 55.1% sRGB, 39% DCI-P3 and 37.9% AdobeRGB. With so little colour on offer, measuring the Delta E colour variance was futile, and the poor result of 4.5 against sRGB profile was entirely expected.

Peak brightness is reasonable at 296cd/m2, but a rather high black luminance level of 0.3cd/m2 means the contrast ratio is a humdrum 933:1. Motion handling, meanwhile, is as poor as you’d expect from a 60Hz IPS panel with a manner of distracting ghosting.

Open the Samsung Settings menu, and you can switch display modes between Auto, Dynamic, Standard, Photo Editing and Reading. The first four make little difference, although Photo Editing makes colours a little richer to the eye. The last item on the list has some value in that it gives the screen a warmer e-reader vibe.

Sadly, watching good-quality video content on the Galaxy Book4 is not an uplifting visual experience and that’s not good enough for a laptop costing this much. I’d give the display a pass on a £500 notebook like the HP Pavilion SE, but Samsung should have fitted the Galaxy Book4 with a higher-quality panel.

Compared to the display, the 2 x 2W Dolby Atmos-accredited speaker system is a dream. It sounds louder than the 73.8dBA I recorded against a pink noise source at a 1m distance, and the results are impressively punchy and solid with good levels of detail and no distortion at maximum volume.

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Samsung Galaxy Book 4 review: Performance and battery life

  • Intel Core 7 150U is fine for general PC tasks but GPU is weak
  • Battery life is good

The CPU inside the Galaxy Book 4 is an Intel Core 7 150U processor and it’s accompanied by an integrated Intel Graphics GPU and 8GB of RAM. It’s part of Intel’s Core Mobile Series 1 lineup and is a Raptor Lake refresh chip rather than a new Meteor Lake component. Or, to put it another way, it’s an overclocked Core i7-1365U.

It’s a 10-core CPU with two performance cores, a maximum clock speed of 5.4GHz and, in the case of the Galaxy Book4, a TDP between 12W and 28W. In our standard 4K multimedia test, the Galaxy Book4 scored 193 points, comfortably over the 150 mark, indicating that most users will encounter no performance issues.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 reviewThe Galaxy Book4 does well in basic computing tasks thanks to impressive single-core performance, outperforming the Huawei Matebook X Pro we tested recently (2,720 vs 2,336 in the GeekBench 6 test). However, when all cores are pulled in for duty, the Huawei has the Samsung well-beaten, at 9,005 vs 13,545 in the same test.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 reviewThose numbers are high enough to guarantee brisk dispatch of day-to-day computing jobs, which is fine given this laptop is designed for general light duties rather than more intensive tasks like content editing or 3D modelling.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 reviewThe basic Intel Graphics integrated GPU – previously known as Iris Xe – doesn’t bring much to the party. It ran our Serious Sam 4 gaming benchmark (at 1080p and fairly low quality settings) at 44.8fps, but not reliably. More often than not, the system froze midway through the two-minute run, requiring a reboot.

The laptop’s 512GB SSD, meanwhile, is sourced from Taiwanese OEM SSSTC rather than Samsung. With sequential read and write speeds of 2,910MB/sec and 1,891MB/sec, it’s middling when it comes to performance, well behind the Acer Aspire 7 and Huawei MateBook D 16. Given the Galaxy Book4 is not aimed at creatives or gamers, however, those speeds are acceptable.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 reviewFinally, battery life is solid. In our video run-down test, a full charge of the 54Wh battery lasted 9hrs 24mins, which is sufficient for a full day of work with juice to spare for the commute home.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 review

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Samsung Galaxy Book 4 review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Book 4 is a stylish and well-made laptop with a decent keyboard, good battery life and a surprisingly competent audio system, but it’s all undermined by a low-quality display, which has no place in an £899 laptop. Even in a £749 laptop, it isn’t good enough.

For similar money, you can buy a laptop with a discrete GPU such as the Acer Aspire 7, a more powerful CPU such as the Huawei MateBook D 16, or a better display like the Lenovo LOQ Gen 9. You could always buy something similar, like the HP Pavilion SE, for a lot less. With an OLED screen, the Galaxy Book4 would have a place in the world at its current price, but as it stands, it needs to be much cheaper.

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