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    Can the Galaxy Book 4 360 be a better tablet than the Tab S9 Ultra?

    Opinion
    By 

    Last updated: February 27th, 2024 at 16:08 UTC+01:00

    The new Galaxy Book 4 360 and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra are very different devices. Stating the obvious, one is a convertible laptop powered by Windows 11, and the other is a premium Android tablet. Even so, there's some overlapping between the two, as the Book 4 360 has a convertible design with a touchscreen, and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can be used as a laptop alternative through Dex.

    So, I've been wondering if, in the right hands, Samsung's 2024 convertible laptop could be a better tablet than the Tab S9 Ultra. The laptop costs $1,099 and up, and for this money, you get an Intel Core 5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a 15.6-inch AMOLED touchscreen with S Pen support (purchased separately).

    Comparatively, the 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage costs $1,199, and it doesn't come with a keyboard attachment. So, if you were to use it as a laptop replacement through DeX, you'd have to pay more than $1,199.

    Can Samsung's new Galaxy Book 4 360 be a better Tab S9 Ultra?

    At first glance, and considering prices, you might be tempted to say that buying the Galaxy Book 4 360 is a better choice than picking the Tab S9 Ultra, as long as you don't want to use the S Pen. But what about Android app compatibility? How can you use a Windows 11 convertible laptop as an Android tablet if it can't run Android apps?

    This is where things start falling apart, yet could still be salvaged by a subset of prospective users who don't value out-of-the-box user-friendliness as much and might be willing to get their hands dirty with emulation and similar solutions. So, let's explore this scenario a bit more.

    Enter Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA). This tool allows users to run Android apps in Windows 11. The downside is that the system works only with Android apps that are available in the Amazon Appstore. It doesn't work with the Galaxy Store or the Play Store. And that's a pretty big limitation that's holding back the potential of the Galaxy Book 4 360 as an Android tablet.

    Aside from WSA, there are also third-party solutions like BlueStacks. The latter lets Windows users with a bit of know-how emulate Android in a Windows environment. It's not a solution for everyone, but it is doable and can be versatile and powerful.

    So, let's imagine that, one way or another, the app situation is addressed for the most part. With the right combination of software tools, you could run Android apps on your Galaxy Book 4 360 and use the convertible laptop as an Android tablet and an alternative to the similarly-priced Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. The ultimate question is:

    Would you?

    Neither can fully replace the other

    Here lies the biggest question. Would you, really, want to use a convertible Windows 11 laptop as an Android tablet full-time? Because, as interesting as it may seem to be using the Galaxy Book 4 360 as a Tab S9 Ultra replacement, there are things to consider. Comfort and the overall experience are among them.

    Simply put, the Galaxy Book 4 360 in tablet mode doesn't feel as premium, comfortable, or even portable as the Tab S9 Ultra. The laptop's keyboard on the back panel — in tablet mode — isn't a pretty sight. This unavoidable design is one of the things holding convertible laptops back and keeping them from becoming true tablet replacements.

    Furthermore, the Book 4 360 isn't nearly as comfortable to use as a tablet because it is 13mm-thick and weighs a little over 1.4 kg. In contrast, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is as thin as 5.5mm and weighs about half as much as the Samsung laptop, tipping the scales at 732 grams.

    Another thing you should consider is that the Galaxy Book 4 360 has an FHD (1920 x 1080) display. It is AMOLED but doesn't match the pixel density of the 2960 x 1848 AMOLED panel of the Tab S9 Ultra. Not to mention that the latter has a 120Hz refresh rate, whereas the laptop's touchscreen tops out at 60Hz.

    In conclusion, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is a much more elegant and comfortable tablet with a vastly superior display and an S Pen included in the box. Oh, and it's dust and water-resistant, unlike the notebook. The tablet is a superior multimedia device, but it's not as good as the Galaxy Book 4 360 if you intend to use it in DeX as a laptop replacement for productivity.

    Conversely, the Galaxy Book 4 is still a laptop, first and foremost, and even though it's hard to recommend it as a Tab S9 Ultra replacement, it can work as a part-time Android tablet in the hands of the right user. That's something worth keeping in mind if you're split between buying a Windows 11 Samsung laptop or a Galaxy Tab. That is, as long as you're willing to tinker with emulation software or you think Microsoft's WSA is good enough for your tablet needs.

    So, then, which one is better for a similar price? Well, ultimately, that's up to you. But I'd say that the Galaxy Book 4 360 might offer more software versatility and has a higher potential for productivity applications than the Tab S9 Ultra. Windows 11 is a great desktop environment, and the Book 4 360 is more of a jack-of-all-trades device than the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

    However, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offers the best possible Android tablet and portable multimedia experience, all backed by fantastic build quality and superior comfort. It has an S Pen and a touch of laptop-grade productivity if you're willing to use DeX and buy a keyboard attachment.

    But, in the end, just like the Galaxy Book 4 360 can't quite match the Tab S9 Ultra's tablet qualities, the Tab S9 Ultra can't quite become as versatile as the Galaxy Book 4 360 is. It's still limited to Android OS, while the Galaxy Book 4 360 runs Windows 11 and, in the right hands, can dabble with Android OS.

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