Today we’re going to take a look at the Samsung notebook. This is the Samsung Series 7 Chronos a 15.6-inch notebook that’s thin light relatively speaking at 5 pounds but packs a pretty powerful gpu. So this is the Samsung Series 7 Chronos notebook computer. Samsung series 7 encompasses several sizes. There’s a 14-inch for example as well but we’re looking at the 15.6-inch model with the Chronos moniker today.
And this is a very well-equipped notebook that competes in terms of specs with the MacBook pro 15 inch but for almost half the price. This sells for around eleven hundred dollars and the comparable MacBook pro with a high-res mat display and a larger hard drive would cost about twenty-one to twenty-two hundred dollars.
So this is the box usually we don’t pay much attention but right now it’s kind of hard to find this notebook and because there are different Samsung series 7 models out there I want to help you be able to visually id and make sure you get the Chrono series seven.
This is the 15.6 inch and this is the 700 z5a model 15.6 inch. And this is what the box looks like. It’s a very minimalist-looking notebook. As you can see they’ve got this metal aluminum deck here. The lid is also aluminum we’ll take a look at that. Very clean and simple look. Very kind of euro chic. In fact, Samsung’s been selling notebooks to Europe for quite some time.
They left the us market because it came very cutthroat and competitive and we’re glad to see they came back. That’s a very clean looking machine. Now we can see one design element that they did rip off the mac and that’s this nice little sculpted cutout to make it easier to lift up the latchless lid. Otherwise, i personally don’t see this much as being a MacBook pro compared to the nv15 for example or the dell XPS 15z.
You have an sd card slot and comes with a blank which is what’s in here right now. Nicely finished everything goes together well. Vent holes over here. And on this side we’ve got the optical drive and slot loading. You’ve got a usb 2.0 port here. And again nice clean simple lines. Fairly thin too. Less than an inch thick. And looking on the side here you can see this is where most of your ports are.
On the left hand side so they don’t get in your way I guess if you’re using a mouse plugged in on this side. You’ve got a combo mic 3.5-millimeter jack. This is a micro VGA display port. If you want to use VGA in some markets the adapters include in the box and some it isn’t. Two USB 3.0 ports with charging while sleep capability. Full-size HDMI port we have an ethernet gigabit ethernet port right here or the drop-down door because the notebook is actually too thin to accommodate the size of that port.
There’s your power port right here and there’s your lock slot. Look at the bar back here you see the hinge nice sturdy long hinge design. And yes there are some vent holes back here. That is sort of like the MacBook pro sucking in air from here. And on the bottom that’s your speaker grill right here. It’s supposed to have stereo speakers and a subwoofer built in.
And this is your rams door slot. You can get this with six gigs and that means you’ve got one slot available to you here. You can upgrade that two gig dim to a four gig dim to get up to eight and some some also ship with eight gig pre-installed. So you can see the battery is not removable. It’s about eight thousand milliamp battery which is a lot of battery power.
And Samsung claims that they’ve used some technology to actually extend the life of the batteries you have to worry about kind of crapping out after a year and not taking much of a charge anymore. They claim it’s good for up to 1500 charges before it starts to degrade. Got rubber feet here stop it from sliding around. And the bottom is plastic.
I don’t have an issue with that you know why it doesn’t burn your lap it doesn’t get egg frying hot like a macbook pro dissipates heat and it’s pretty sturdy stuff too. The power adapter is reasonably compact and fairly light too so you’re not going to be dragging around a humongous brick when you’re traveling with this.
So inside we have a 15.6-inch matte display. Yay don’t you wish you could find that option on more notebooks. No glare you can use this thing outside. 300 nits brightness which Samsung calls a high bright display. And that is brighter than the average 200 maybe 250 nit on some displays that you see.
And it’s pretty sharp as a TN panel so your viewing angles are not going to be ips wide. Lateral viewing angle side to side if two people want to watch a movie together those are pretty good actually. You can definitely sit side by side and still see. But with TN panels you have that usual thing about tilting it forward or tilting it back. If you tilt it forward then you start to lose your contrast and your colors.
And if you tilt it back a little bit just beyond the 90 degrees you get your best contrast. So we’re not talking super duper high-end display here. But then for the 1100 price tag it’s a pretty good display matt is just wonderful. And this is 1600 by 900 pixels which is nice. Not that usual 1366 by 768 which you know you can’t see much but one word document on your screen when you’ve got that standard resolution.
You pull up to 1600 by 900 you can see two documents side by side. Maybe have a youtube window running something like that no problem. Now you can get 1080 dpi displays and some competing products notably the XPS 15z and the hp envy 15 both of which are going to cost you more.
But the thing is i mean the envy has a nice ips display some color issues perhaps with reds. But that’s a real high resolution 15.6 inches. And well you guys know I’m not 19 anymore and it’s a little hard to read text see icon see everything.
So I think this is really an excellent comfortable balance for those who are actually going to be carrying this machine around using it with the internal panel not hooking it up to a monitor so. I have no issues there and then if you want higher resolution no problem just plug in the hdmi cable and you can use your external monitor with this at a higher resolution.
Speaking of that in terms of graphics one of the nice things about this machine is it has both intel integrated graphics as HD 3000 which are actually very capable integrated graphics that can handle playback video accelerate that and have some 3d acceleration. And all that kind of thing. But you also have AMD Radeon HD 6750m dedicated graphics with a gig of VRAM.
And that’s a pretty good graphics CPU. That’s a little bit faster than the NVidia 540 gt that’s bomb little a lot of multimedia gaming 17-inch notebooks say like the sony Vaio f series good performance. AMD is lagging behind Nvidia for the switchable graphics software. And I know some of you have complained about that. It has auto switching it senses what you’re running it accelerates anything that uses DirectX for example but OpenGL not so much. This means adobe products like photoshop.
Now it can be really hard to tell because the way it works is it’s always running the intel graphics adapter to a certain extent. Even if you’re running on the Radeon graphics what it does it copies the display buffer over to the intel and then out to your display panel or HDMI. So applications will always show the intel graphics whether they’re actually using them or not or using the Radeon it can be a little bit hairy.
But I can tell you that experientially it has figured out all the games that we’ve played so far without me manually telling it. But if you do need to manually tell it. Right-click on the desktop your graphic properties and you get the AMD management panel rather than intel’s and if you configure switchable graphics. You can see I’ve got recent applications here and i can choose power saving or high-performance power saving means using intel integrated high performance means using the Radeon graphics.
And not a sign means I haven’t actually picked something for that one and nora has it particularly. So it’s as simple as that. So of course I wanted pcmarkvantage to run high-performance mode so i went ahead and told it. For 3d mark 06 it knew for fear 2 it knew. Now if we fire up photoshop this is a 64-bit version of cs5 extended it’s going to say that we’re using intel hd 3000 graphics. Is it really probably i don’t know.
Because this is OpenGL-based. So again if that really bugs you and you really want to make sure that you’ve got a dedicated GPU to work with photoshop and other adobe products you might have to look at Nvidia right now. So you can see for yourself right here detective vio cars is Intel HD graphics.
And it’s enabling opengl because it actually supports that for intel HD 3000 graphics as well. Experientially i work with 20 meg raw images i do transforms all sorts of complicated stuff this machine has absolutely no trouble doing that in a expedient fashion. And one of the reasons for that is because this has an intel core i7 CPU. That’s a quad-core eight-thread CPU.
And it’s the 2675 qm CPU clocked at 2.2 gigahertz and it can turbo boost up to 3.1. So you’re talking a very fast cpu here. This is basically a desktop replacement in sheep’s clothing. It weighs five pounds it’s relatively compact as you can see. So pretty pretty amazing stuff there in terms of what you can do with this. Our 3d marco 6 score on this was 98.47. Very impressive indeed.
And we’re gonna have a separate gaming video so you can see what this is like playing some of the latest 3d games. And i can tell you it’s pretty nice. We’ll be testing on call of duty modern warfare 3 Skyrim fear 2 and stuff like that. So definitely come back and look for that. Now taking a look at the deck here. You can see we have a very large track pad nice and it’s offset.
That’s because they’ve squeezed in a number pad here. Which is not that common on a 15-inch 15.6-inch notebook. And it’s really great for gamers obviously to have this or number crunchers besides. And there’s plenty enough room i don’t feel like the keyboard is cramped as a result of this being here. Especially because they brought it all the way out to the edges.
But it means that you’re going to be typing off to this side so you have to get used to that. And you’re right at the edge with your left palm when you’re resting here but so far i’ve loved it. This is a very nice keyboard very tactile good travel good size keys. Absolutely enjoying the heck out of it. Some people have had trouble with their space bars on this we have no trouble with the space bar on this.
Trackpad is made by elan and it supports multi-touch and gestures and all that kind of thing. Two finger gestures like scrolling that works pretty well. Three finger gestures not bad either. And has things like drag lock that kind of stuff which actually drive me crazy. I find that when i was tapping on things i was actually dragging them around all the time so i disable that feature.
And you can enable and disable all the multi-touch features. So as pc track pads go it’s pretty good. It’s not going to compete with a MacBook Pro which has the best track pad on the market and software to go with it but it’s it’s pretty darn usable. You’ve got your power button over here moves and clicks. Usual indicator lights up here.
And then you’ve got all your fn keys for controlling screen brightness display output your wireless you’ve got a control right there. This has both wi-fi 8011 bg and it’s broadcom in this model right here but encountered in some other countries you might get intel. Either one seems to work pretty well we had very good throughput in range with the broadcom solution in this. Bluetooth as well. And this is a backlit keyboard.
We’re going to switch over to a dark environment you can use so you can see it because boy this is a really nice backlit keyboard. And you can adjust the levels too. By the way this is ambient light sensors for the display and for the backlit keyboard. They’re on by default.
Ambient light sensor it’s kind of like Samsung’s smartphones they’re great phones but man it can drive you crazy. It’s very sensitive so it changes all the time. So i ended up turning that feature off and just adjusting the brightness to suit myself. So here we are in a darkened environment now so we can show you the keyboard backlighting.
Really very nice and you can see that the keys themselves are lit and it’s also edge lit. Nice white and you can adjust the brightness level of the back lighting as well. So you have to worry about glaring at you all the time or running when it’s in broad daylight. But really very even very nicely done. Besides being able to control your keyboard back light up here too.
By the way, there’s a fan symbol here unless you can switch to quiet mode if you want. And it’s going to slow down the performance so it can keep the fans running slow. So for those times when being quiet is really important to you that’s an option there as well. But in terms of noise you can hear right now that at idle certainly in launching photoshop and a few things like that it’s fairly quiet.
Playing youtube videos the fan kicks up but it’s it’s not very loud. If you’re playing something like fear two or skyrim you’ll hear the fan it keeps going you know but it’s not as loud to say as our first generation envy which sounded like a vacuum cleaner.
And really that’s pretty impressive because with the notebook this slim there’s not a whole lot of room for heat dissipation. And then barely managed to keep the performance up this thing does not throttle down you’re playing games for example. It doesn’t CPU throttle as some Asus notebooks do in order to let you use the GPU you get all the power there.
And on the bottom it gets warm but not hot gently speaking. This area directly below on the bottom side is where you feel the heat the most if it’s if you’re doing something playing games for example. And the keyboard deck does not get hot.
Even though this is metal over here which can transfer heat and there’s really nothing here that does get hot. In fact the battery is mostly what lives in this section. Then we’re going to test out a 1080p movie trailer. But before we do i want you to notice that up top you’re going to see it’s switching to movie mode. This has several color balance settings built in. We’re just running on standard right now.
There’s a movie mode that jacks up contrast and color saturation somewhat and then there’s what they call sharp mod which really jacks up the colors in typical Samsung fashion and increases the contrast. And that’s at the expense of losing some fine details. So if you’re a graphic artist and you’re working with photoshop images you probably don’t want to be running in that super high vibrant mode because you may lose some very fine detail.
But looks awesome for watching movies. So here we have a 1080p MPEG-4 trailer we’re going to test out. So here we go. Now watch up here see movie color on automatically enhance the color. And of course if you don’t want it to do that you can turn that feature off too but i don’t know why you wouldn’t want it. I’ve got nothing against your friends i like your friends no things have obviously changed for us. No problem playing this video.
I have to help charles finishes nice screen too. Not the world’s best screen by any means but a pretty nice screen for the money. And the lack of glare is just enchanting. It’s responsible. So we’re testing youtube my back and we’re gonna go up to 720 because that’s the highest the internal panel supports. It pops down to full screen.
Also plays NetFlix beautifully. I can tell you i watched a two-hour movie last night using this absolutely no problems with Netflix. And the speaker quality is pretty good too. Thanks to the you got three watts of speakers here for stereo plus that supposed woofer subwoofer in the base of the unit. Pretty nice separation landfill and there’s various stereo effects you can set to increase separation. For built-in speakers and a 15-inch, these are pretty busy.
This also has a front 720p video chat camera. Works with skype in fact skype is pre-installed. Speaking of pre-installed there’s not too much bloatware. There’s a lot of Samsung easy settings like the Samsung software manager. Easy settings actually is pretty cool it’s shortcuts to a lot of settings. And there’s something like that the os 10 launcher bar that they have as well.
So here’s easy settings you can control your express cache. And express cast is interesting so we have this turned on. This has an eight gig SSD drive in there now that’s not for you to store your files on what it does is it preloads windows files to speed up boot times and pre-loads applications that you use frequently and monitors that and updates the express cache.
So the machine boots in about 20 seconds or so which is what Samsung claims and that’s a lot faster than the average 45-second boot time for today’s core i7 machines. And you’ve also got quick access to your power management wireless network all that kind of stuff right here. Pretty nice comes with office 2010 starter edition or you can put in your office key and then turn it into whatever edition that is you paid for for office 2010.
And it comes with a Norton anti-virus 30-day trial and Norton backup as well. The first thing I did personally was remove those and switch to the free Microsoft security essentials because Norton is just kind of resource intensive. But you know how many threats you encounter in the day traveling around your notebook and you can decide what antivirus solution you want on it.
So that’s the Samsung series seven Chronos the 15.6-inch model. Again our configuration sells for 10.99 and it’s one i recommend. You get windows home premium 64-bit six gigs of ram is upgradable to eight a 750 gig 7200 rpm hard drives. That’s nice you get the fast hard drive you also get the eight gig express cache feature and you get the switchable graphics intel hd 3000 plus the Radeon 6750 mobile. Graphics.
Wi-fi Bluetooth the webcam and the 15.6 inch 1600 by 900 matte bright this 300 nit brightness display. That’s pretty good for the price it’s like I said about a thousand dollars less than a competing MacBook pro. And there is another edition that’s a little bit more expensive and that just gets you windows professional 64-bit.
Is at least 100 more so unless you need that well don’t get that. And there’s also a cheaper version available that omits the express cash feature. I’d say get the express cash feature though. Another big selling point for this is it’s very thin and light.
You rarely find something that’s basically a desktop replacement and 15.6-inch form factor that weighs only 5.05 pounds and is very thin and very portable. In that way, it kicks the pants off of the envy 15 which is almost a pound heavier for example. And it’s lighter than the 15-inch MacBook pro too.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 15.6-Inch