Review Samsung Series 7 Ultra

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Reviews Performance Samsung Series 7 Ultra + Price Specs - The Samsung Series 7 is one of my favorite across Samsung's laptop and Windows tablet line: it offers higher end amenities with a lower price tag than the spendy Series 9 models. You still get a well made product with a metal casing and good looks, it's just not as excruciatingly sculpted or light as the Series 9. In trade, you get some very useful features that in my book count for more than best of breed looks: a touch screen, readily upgradable internals and more ports.

Reviews Samsung Series 7 Ultra


What you Get
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra isn't an everyman laptop at a budget price, rather it's a part of Samsung's premium collection. At $999 for the model with an Intel Core i5 CPU and Intel HD 4000 graphics, it's by no means cheap, but you do get that classy aluminum chassis, a full 1080p HD touch screen, lots of ports by Ultrabook standards and upgradable RAM and SSD parts. But we do love those ports: gigabit Ethernet (no dongle required, that's a rare treat on Ultrabooks), 3 USB ports, a full size HDMI port, 3.5mm combo audio and a full size SD card slot. The Series 7 Ultra is just a few ounces heavier than the Zenbook UX31A Touch, and weighs about the same as the Dell XPS 12.  Sweet. And to be fair, $1,000 is the going rate for name brand Ultrabooks with an Intel Core i5, touch models still command even more of a premium. The Samsung Series 7 Ultra weighs 3 lbs. 9 ounces, and that's fine by 13.3" Ultrabook standards but heavy compared to the 2.5 lb. Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook and the 2.9 lb. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A (non-touch). The touchscreen adds about 200 grams of weight as do the upgradable internals, and the added ports take their toll.


Design and Ergonomics
This is a very good looking Ultrabook with clean lines and an understated and fingerprint resistant aluminum casing top and bottom. Folks in our office said "nice looking notebook!" when they first laid eyes upon it. It looks classy and not too flashy, though it lacks the Samsung Series 9's chiseled profile or the Asus Zenbook Prime's tapered, swirled and razor-edged wow factor. In trade you get a more affordable price, particularly compared to the Series 9 full HD model, and an easily removed bottom panel that grants access to internals and those added ports.


Full HD Touch Screen

This is a superb display. The laptop uses the same CMN1343 IPS panel as the Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD and UX31A (non-touch) models. Black levels are excellent, contrast is very good and it nearly covers the Adobe sRGB color gamut. It is a gloss display, typical of touch panels, and that means glare. Lots of bright ambient light can reduce perceived contrast and it's a bit more reflective than the competing Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch Ultrabook. In fact, in our comparison video, you'll note that the Samsung seems to have less contrast, but that's a result of glare captured by the camera. In person, it has equally good contrast and blacks.


Keyboard and Trackpad
Samsung Series 7 laptops leave us baffled: we've yet to love the keyboard but we always type extremely well with it. The Ultra is no exception: the flat keys don't have a lot of travel and the feel isn't great but we manage excellent typing speeds. Leaving perception aside, this is an effective keyboard. There's little in the way of key dampening unlike Lenovo ThinkPad and the latest Zenbook Prime keyboards, but we managed equally good and in some cases better typing speeds.


Performance and Horsepower
Currently in the US there's just one Samsung Series 7 Ultra model and it has Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics with no dedicated graphics and a touch screen (overseas models are available with and without the touch screen and have low-mid range dedicated graphics suitable for light gaming and video editing). It ships with the 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U ULV CPU, which is a minor refresh of the third generation Ivy Bridge 1.7GHz CPU common on Ultrabooks for the past several months. It has a Samsung PM841 128 gig SSD drive, which is the mSATA counterpart to the excellent SATA Samsung PM 840 SSD drive that's available aftermarket.

Reviews Samsung Series 7 Ultra spcs


Wireless
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra has Intel Centrino 6235N dual band WiFi with WiDi wireless display and Bluetooth 4.0. This is a very good wireless card and reception was excellent at close, medium and long range from our Apple Airport Extreme wireless router. Data transfer speeds were consistent and we managed max transfer speeds for our service (25Mbps up and down) at distances up to 30 feet with a wall between.


Speakers Worth Listening To
Sound doesn't often figure prominently in our Ultrabook reviews because 13" Ultrabooks almost uniformly have unimpressive speakers with low volume and tinny audio via the built-in speakers. The stereo JBL speakers (2 watts each) are a wonderful exception, and they sound noticeably louder and fuller.


Great Battery Life
There's more good news here. The beefy 57 Watt/hr Lithium Ion 4 cell battery delivers excellent battery life. Samsung designed it with the dedicated graphics option in mind, and dedicated graphics are battery hungry.


Specs:

  • Display: 13.3", 1920 x 180 IPS display with 10 point capacitive multi-touch. 350 nits brightness. Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Full size HDMI and mini VGA port (adapter to full size VGA sold separately). Has Intel WiDi wireless display for wireless streaming to AV gear.
  • Battery: 57 Watt/hr Lithium Ion 4 cell rechargeable. Battery is sealed inside.
  • Performance: 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U ULV CPU. 4 gigs RAM (16 gigs max), DDR3, 1600MHz, 1.35v. 128 gig Samsung PM841 mSATA SSD drive.
  • Size: 12.76 x 8.82 x .74 inches. Weight: 3.6 pounds.
  • Camera: 720p webcam with mic.
  • Audio: Built-in 2 watt apiece JBL stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo combo headphone/mic jack.
  • Networking: Integrated Intel 6235 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. Gigabit wired Ethernet jack.
  • Software: Windows 8 Home Premium 64 bit. Norton Internet Security trial, Samsung's S Camera, S video player and image viewer, Samsung Recovery and Samsung Update.
  • Expansion and Ports: 1 SDXC full size card slot, 3 USB ports (one 3.0 port and two 2.0 ports), full size HDMI, mini VGA, 3.5mm audio and RJ45 Ethernet.
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Price: $999
Website: www.samsung.com
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