Is the ecosystem worth it?

SAMSUNG GALAXY BOOK2 PRO with phone and earbuds closed

Adam Birney / Android Authority

When you hear the name Samsung, you usually don’t think of laptops; you think of foldables, smartphones, or even their watches and TVs. Samsung as a brand has a strong legacy, so much so that one university of mine recently made a case for why it deserves to be the “face of Android.” As the company has grown in popularity, so has its portfolio of devices and the interconnection between them. The Galaxy ecosystem is growing.

I’ve had Samsung phones since the Galaxy S8 and only bought my first pair of Galaxy Buds last year, but I never expected to use a Galaxy laptop. The Galaxy name carries high hopes, but the promise of a portable PC that could serve as the central hub for my Samsung products was appealing. At the end of my experience, I found that the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro is a reliable work machine that has quickly become the central job of my Galaxy devices.

Welcome to the Galaxy Ecosystem

SAMSUNG GALAXY BOOK2 Pro Phone with Buttons

Adam Birney / Android Authority

From foldables to watches and home appliances, Samsung’s Galaxy of products and services is thriving. But for people to go all-in on the Samsung brand, the cross-integration between those devices must be seamless and provide a comprehensive experience across multiple software platforms and third-party product types. So far, Apple has led the way with such an interconnected ecosystem with its walled garden, but Samsung is quickly catching up as an attractive alternative – something exemplified by the addition of the Galaxy Book 2 Pro.

Samsung’s Galaxy of products and services is growing.

Let’s start by looking at seamless connectivity. Setting up the Galaxy Book 2 Pro was quick and easy, and as soon as I signed in with my Samsung account, all my paired devices popped up right away. After I gave them permission to communicate via Quick Connect, I soon noticed notifications from my Samsung phone – a Galaxy S21 Ultra – popping up in the corner of the laptop screen. Saved data, such as pictures taken with my phone or the last song I listened to on my earbuds, was also immediately available.

To put these startup features in perspective, I could start writing an email on the Galaxy Book 2 Pro in the Samsung Email app and type the email on my phone while listening to the same song through my Galaxy Buds Pro. Likewise, if I started watching a YouTube video on my Galaxy Book 2 Pro, my Galaxy S21 would pause the music and my earbuds were recognized by the Galaxy Book 2 Pro so I could hear the video.

SAMSUNG GALAXY BOOK2 PRO fast connection

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Gone are the days of scrolling through Bluetooth menus to pair devices too; just flip open the Galaxy Buds case and click connect. Since Samsung knows what devices I’m using, it will switch accordingly, saving me a ton of time and troubleshooting. And with Auto Switch, you can seamlessly switch device connections between Galaxy devices using the same Samsung account. It’s pretty much the same as Apple’s AirPods ecosystem, which automatically switches between devices based on what you’re doing.

To be fair, I can sync my Galaxy Buds Pro to any PC running Windows 10 or newer by downloading the Galaxy Wearable app. However, you will not get audio in game mode on non-Samsung devices and must pair via Bluetooth. In addition, newer versions of Galaxy Buds, such as the second-generation Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, offer exclusive features such as seamless codec, high-bitrate audio, spatial audio, and more, which are only compatible with Samsung products. We expect this trend of brand-only benefits to continue.

While you can connect the Galaxy Buds to any device, if you lose them, you won’t be able to find them easily. This is where Samsung’s SmartThings Find comes in handy. If you lost your Galaxy phone or earbuds, you can use your Galaxy Book 2 Pro (or a compatible Galaxy phone or tablet) to determine where the device was last seen on a map. You can even ping it to broadcast audio to help track where it is when you’re close. If you want to track personal items other than Samsung electronics, you can invest in getting a few SmartTags, which are tracked the same way with Samsung SmartThings Find.

How ‘exclusive’ are Samsung’s features?

SAMSUNG GALAXY BOOK2 PRO with phone and earbuds

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Samsung and Microsoft have a long-standing partnership, which means they share certain features and create apps tailored for Galaxy devices. At its core, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro is still a Windows 11 laptop, meaning you’ll get some nasty bloatware like Meta and McAfee at first, but they’re easily removed. What interested me was the Galaxy Book Experience app which has multiple tiles and tutorials that introduce everything you can do within the Galaxy ecosystem.

At first glance, it looks like an impressive library of features, but when I dug a little deeper, I found that, as with the Galaxy Buds’ auto-connection, not everything here is exclusive to Samsung products. Samsung apps like Notes, Gallery, and Flow, for example, are great for syncing and sending my files between devices to the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, but they can be downloaded on any Windows PC and work just as well with a Galaxy phone. The only real advantage here is that they come pre-installed.

The Galaxy Book 2 Pro is a great ultraportable laptop for everyone, but Samsung users get the best experience.

Some nice cosmetic features include Live Wallpaper, which uses wallpapers and themes that match the weather and time of day. It’s more customizable than the simple desktop wallpaper rotation you get with Windows. Think of it like Galaxy themes, but for your laptop, where you can buy many dynamic themes for free or relatively cheap from artists.

Other pre-installed Samsung apps that were exclusive didn’t quite feel like they met unmet needs. For example, Samsung’s quick search is just another way to do exactly what Windows’ native search does. Likewise, Samsung’s File Tracker feels redundant in light of Windows’ familiar file system. Still, I found some unique and useful ecosystem gems.

Quick Share Samsung Galaxy Book to Galaxy Tablet

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Quick Share is arguably the feature Samsung users will find most useful if they own a Galaxy laptop. Quick Share avoids the frustrations of Google’s Near Share, which requires you to approve each file transfer on both devices for security reasons. As long as you are signed in to the same Samsung account, you can simply send something from one device and see it appear on the other. It’s similar to Apple’s AirDrop, which sends files directly between devices within the app. AirDrop is one of Apple’s most loved features, so it’s nice to see a solid alternative that works just as well on Galaxy devices.

Using a Galaxy Tab as an extended display with my laptop was one of the most enjoyable productivity features. If your Galaxy Tablet One has UI 3.1 or later, you can use Samsung’s Second Screen feature, which allows you to drag applications across both screens or see text you type on the Galaxy Book 2 Pro appear on your tablet. You can technically use Second Screen on any computer running Windows 10 or later with a Galaxy tablet, but it will be less productive without Multi Control.

Multi Control is Samsung’s version of Apple’s Universal Control, exclusive to Galaxy devices. This allows you to use the trackpad and keyboard of the Galaxy Book 2 Pro with your Galaxy tablets, among other things. It’s completely wireless, so you don’t need cables to connect the devices. You can also use your Galaxy phone to control your Galaxy Book if you want to pull something up to get ready on your screen.

A central job around your Galaxy or devices?


Adam Birney / Android Authority

Samsung has made a name for itself by providing reliable hardware coupled with feature-packed software. The Galaxy Book 2 Pro does not disappoint in that regard. However, it is easiest to recommend to anyone in need of a new laptop who already owns multiple Samsung devices. If you’re not a Samsung user yet but are thinking of becoming one, rest assured that they make good computers too. As a daily work machine, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro allowed me to focus on my tasks without constantly checking my phone for notifications (since they appeared on my laptop) and instantly sharing photos and files between devices.

Samsung is working on providing exclusive benefits between its devices, while still remaining open enough to work with other Android devices and accessories. If you haven’t been a fan of Samsung smartphones and just want an undamaged, barebones software experience on the go, then the ecosystem may not appeal to you. But I found the Galaxy Book 2 Pro to be the best of both worlds – a centerpiece of a collection of devices that work in synergy without completely closing the door on integration with third-party products.

This is the closest thing to Apple’s closely connected ecosystem in the Android arena.

If you decide to buy the slightly more expensive Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360, you’ll have the added benefit of an S Pen and a touchscreen display for writing on, perfect for digital artists. This might be a better option if you also have the latest Galaxy S22 Ultra, as it’s a nice bonus to keep using the same S Pen to continue your handwritten notes from your phone to the laptop’s touchscreen. Apple has yet to use a touchscreen on their laptops, so Samsung’s interoperability with its touchscreens is a win over Apple’s ecosystem configuration.

Samsung is building a cohesive ecosystem around its entire future lineup. If you’re like me and don’t want an iPhone, but are looking for all the interoperability that Apple’s product portfolio offers, then Samsung’s offering is itching. Apple has been the gold standard of the tech ecosystem, but it has also had the advantage of creating its own software with iOS, macOS, iPadOS, and so on. On the other hand, Samsung has to rely on its One UI platform on top of Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows, which makes it quite impressive that they have managed to make an ecosystem work so effectively. Integration between devices really makes life easier and will only improve over time. In terms of non-Apple ecosystems, Samsung Galaxy devices are leading the way, drawing more products and people into its orbit.

Samsung 15.6-inch Galaxy Book 2 Pro laptop

Samsung 15.6-inch Galaxy Book 2 Pro laptop

Light and compact design • Incredible screen display • Strong hardware performance

Samsung delivers an incredibly powerful and compact Windows laptop.

The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro in its 15.6-inch version offers the features of the Galaxy Book line with more screen space to improve the user’s productivity. A balance of powerful hardware and a fast-charging 68Wh battery should keep you computing all day long. To satisfy those looking for efficiency and comfort, Samsung upgraded their laptop with a brighter screen with AMOLED technology and a 1080 pixel camera to offer the best experience, all in a super light and compact design.