I have noticed a very depressing trend in recent years where manufacturers have slapped the word ‘pro’ at the end of laptop names despite offering a display of the original name.
When talking about the ‘Pro’ laptop, I personally think of the choice of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which showcases a powerful GPU Which can handle professional workloads such as 4K video editing and animation.
However, a growing number of manufacturers are now adding the word ‘pro’ to the end of the laptop name which does not even have a discrete GPU. Samsung is one of the most recent defectors, limited to Intel’s integrated Iris X graphics with the launched Galaxy Book Pro. Such specs are nothing to sniff at, but are still not really powerful enough for professionals working with 4K videos or creating complex animations.
I am not going to blame all the blame on Samsung though, as there are plenty of other manufacturers using this misleading naming convention. Huawei with the MateBook X Pro, Microsoft with the Surface Pro 7 and Apple with the 13-inch MacBook Pro which are only slightly more powerful than the MacBook Air.
You could argue that Pro’s perceptions have changed over time. If we are accepting the marketing terms used by these laptop manufacturers, the Pro now refers to ‘more premium’ laptops in a range with additional features, a more luxurious design and specs than the basic model. Collides. This is very similar to how smartphones now work.
This is not the first time the term laptop has evolved. The term Ultrabook used to be an Intel-only trademark, but is now used to refer to any laptop that is particularly lightweight and thin.
However, contrary to the new meaning of Ultrabook, I personally feel that changing the definition of ‘Pro’ in the laptop space is misleading. It’s not really helping the customer – it’s just a marketing ploy to make a laptop sound more extraordinary.
I understand that Samsung wanted to use the word ‘pro’ to highlight the fact that the Galaxy Book Pro is a more premium option than the standard Galaxy Book, but slapping on the Pro is not the solution.
So what is the alternative? The likes of Acer and Dell have carved out their own brand names to differentiate the laptop range. The Acer Swift range is made up of ultra-portable laptops, while the Acer Aspire laptops prioritize affordability above all others. Meanwhile, Dell’s most premium consumer laptops fall under the XPS umbrella, with more affordable options labeled as Inspiron.
The drawback of such a strategy is that not everyone is aware of such a classification. Acer and Dale certainly get away with it because they have built a strong reputation over time. But starting afresh could be a big risk for the likes of Samsung.
However, other laptop manufacturers have made that leap with some very clever branding. The LG Gram series is an excellent name, as it immediately tells you the main strengths of the laptop. I also like how Razer has used the likes of ‘Stealth’ and ‘Blade’ for their gaming lineup, but has adopted the term ‘book’ for their productivity-focused portables. Perhaps Samsung could follow suit and reserve ‘book’ branding for Ultrabooks instead of every single laptop.
I can see why the likes of Huawei and Samsung adopted the term for laptops, as people already understand that ‘Pro’ means better than the standard model for the smartphone market. But since laptops are a large segment of the market that caters to professional content creators, using the word ‘pro’ to refer to laptops without discrete GPUs does not make much sense.
And if Samsung decides to one day launch a laptop with a discrete GPU that is powerful enough to challenge the 16-inch MacBook Pro? Is it being called Galaxy Book Pro Pro or Galaxy Pro Ultimate? Neither option matters much, and just highlights how its current naming conventions are confused.
Hopefully, the likes of Huawei and Samsung will learn from their mistakes in the future, and use more appropriate naming conventions in the future. Or maybe I’m wrong and still clinging to the old meanings of a word.
Eventually, the emergence of powerful integrated graphics has blurred the lines so much that it is proving difficult to separate the two laptop categories. Certainly, the Galaxy Book Pro is not a good option for those who want the most powerful laptop, but it is still very capable of editing photos and playing casual games.
I know what you think Twitter. Are laptop manufacturers misleading people using the ‘Pro’ moniker, or does it make sense to embrace smartphone terminology for laptops?
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