Samsung’s doing a relatively good job with their ultrabook series with plenty of experience in crafting slim, powerful laptops; but unlike the stylish and impressive high –end series 9 models, the Samsung Series 5 Ultra appears to be a device which can be used. It is made to be affordable by everyone and is available in two models:
A 13.3-inch model, the NP530U3BI which is priced at £799.99 in the UK
Or $879.99 and a 14-inch model, the NP530U4BI Costing around £849.99
“AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE” takes in to consideration the retail on most of the ultra books. If you pockets aren’t too deep than the Samsung series 5 is a very attractive proposition.
Both these models come with a mid-level Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6Ghz)CPU, 4GB of memory and a 1366×768 screen resolution coupled with a storage one-two combo of a 16GB SSD and 500GB HDD. But, and this bit is impressive, the 14 inch model is equipped with an optical drive as well as an HDD which can be upgraded to an Impressive 1TB of storage space.
If you are a hardcore gaming buff do not expect any hardcore gaming on the series 5, however, with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip you will find streaming movies or using editing programs easier with this device.
On the other hand, if you’re graphic conscious, then the 14inch Series 5 packs an AMD Radeon HD 7550M GPU and 4Gb of RAM which is enough for the task this machine is set for. Though all the models in the Series Ultra 5 range have the option of being expandable to 8GB if you so desire.
The smartest move made by Samsung is pairing the iSSD with the Express Cache; the combination of a 16GB iSSD and 500GB HDD built in the Series 5 Ultra means it can boot up in just 20 seconds and waking up from sleep in about 2 seconds. The Ultrabook very intelligently, loads the OS and the most commonly used Apps from the ISSD which is much faster than the HDD and it certainly stands up against the other Ultrabooks. The extra storage space is an added bonus.
External HD’s nowadays will not cost us a huge fortune but buying one to go along with your Ultrabook means carrying excess baggage but if you’ve got a large media library, documents or programs, you definitely will be thankful to Samsung for the extra space that has been provided.
However the HDD has its drawbacks as well, manufactured with a slightly bulkier chassis, at 20mm thick and weighing 1.5kgs (which ofcourse, though not back breaking in size) is certainly larger than the rest of the razor thin designs being offered by Acer, ASUS, and indeed in the higher end Samsung Models.
The design certainly is attractive, with the plain silver coating, brushed metallic finish that does not take smudges as other reflective surfaces would. Ofcourse when you look underneath the Ultrabook that’s when you’ll notice the option of including a 500GB HDD alongside a fast booting 16GB SSD, hence the speed with storage duo.
The keyboard and the touchpad, which is certainly large enough, go well with pudgy fingers like mine. The arrow keys look decent enough in size although the numerical keypad’s been excluded. The touchpad is fairly responsive and generously sized too with two individual left and right mouse buttons rather than an annoying single, integrated one. The Series 5 Ultrabook also supports multi-touch gesture inputs which may not be quite as responsive or extensive as one would find in the Apple notebook, but gestures like pinch-to-zoom and two finger scrolling work well enough and I found myself using them quite often.
The available connections is an eye catcher which ofcourse is an advantage when you’re dealing with a slightly heavier Ultrabook; you get a full-Sized HDMI-out port which is quite rare in the slim models which usually require a mini-HDMI adaptor, a speedy USB 3.0 Socket and 2x USB 2.0 Ports. There’s also a 4-in-1 Multi Card Slot for SD,SDHC,SDXC and MMC as well as a full-sized Ethernet Port. A 1.3MP webcam while the 3W stereo speakers sound very clear, refraining from distorting at high levels
The Screen is sharp enough with its 1366×768 resolution and bright at 300 nits leads, but the colors go flying off all over, they look washed out and even with tweaking only certain improvements can be made, which is disappointing, although there are anti-reflective screen coatings which can mute colors slightly, but the problem here is severe. Especially, when you seat it right next to the Series 9 ultrabook
The battery life on the Series 5 Ultrabook will not amuse you at all, as quoted by Samsung, a regular use on a single charge, with care, can manage 6.4 hours which is sufficient enough for an entire day at office. But most users would like to see the ultrabook score over 200 minutes. We managed to squeeze 191 minutes from it running with a looped 720p high definition video in the background
So, the final verdict would be that Samsung Series 5 Ultra is a great laptop, very affordable, with a spacious keyboard and comfortable touchpad. The inclusion of a 500GB HD and the weight being kept down to 1.8 kg adds to its virtues. Although the sacrifice has been made with battery and power life, the Series 5 Ultrabook with the given price range is particularly attractive and gives this machine a real chance to stand up against its matched competitors.