Thursday, January 12, 2012

CES 2012: Hands on: Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

We sure have seen some Ultrabooks this CES. Samsung has had two major computing launches at CES 2012. Firstly there was the new high-end Series 9 and then there's this – the new Samsung Notebook Series 5 Ultrabook.
Powered by an Intel Core i5 procesor, the Series 5 differentiates itself from many of the other Ultrabooks on offer at the show by packing beefed-up graphics in the form of an AMD Radeon HD chip inside the bigger 14-inch model. It also has something called an 'optical disc drive' – we're pretty scared that disc storage seems like such an outdated concept.

The Series 5 is available in a 13-inch too – it's interesting that the sizes aren't more different - but both size variants have the Intel Core i5-2467M processor and up to 8GB of memory.

The 300nit HD LED SuperBright screen is lovely and bright and is anti-glare, though this didn't seem to help on the show floor at CES.

So let's talk about the 13-inch. It's between 14 to 17.6mm thick and weighs a measly 1.38kg – a fairly standard Ultrabook weight.

As is generally the case with Samsung laptops, the keyboard seems great, while the trackpad buttons are definite and well designed.

As well a 128GB SSD or 258GB SSD, there is also an option to go for higher capacity by using a standard hard drive – up to 500GB.
Samsung says the 14-inch can be configured with up to 1TB of storage – an incredible amount.
However, this creates a problem – SSD storage is fast. So the Series 5 includes a tech to boost the speed of the standard drive - ExpressCache by Diskeeper. This uses a small 16GB iSSD to speed up the system. Samsung cites a 20 second boot time and 2 second resume from standby, which is only a little slower than many other Ultrabooks featuring SSDs.
The only area the Series 5 13 disappoints is in battery life – Samsung cites 6.4 hours. This pales in comparison to the 8-9 hours promised by many other Ultrabooks.
The 13" model also has a full-size HDMI port along with one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, a 4-in-1 multi SD card slot, an Ethernet connection and webcam.
The 14" model offers full-size HDMI, VGA, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, a 4-in-1 multi SD card slot, Ethernet and built-in webcam. It's 20.9mm thick and weighs 1.84kg

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