Samsung Series 5 Review: AMD at its Best

by Reads (201)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 7
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 7
      • Usability
      • 7
      • Design
      • 7
      • Performance
      • 8
      • Features
      • 8
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 7.29
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Excellent AMD price/performance
    • Nice keyboard
    • Impressive battery life
  • Cons

    • Plastics are too thin in some spots
    • 1366x768 resolution screen
    • Slow HDD artificially limits performance

Quick Take

An overall impressive AMD-based ultrathin laptop that just needs an SSD to really blow you away.

The Samsung Series 5 is an ultrathin notebook that offers the look and performance of an ultrabook with better graphics, at a lower price point than others in its class. It comes in both a 13-inch model and a 14-inch model, and can be equipped with an Intel Core i5 or an Intel Core i7 processor. Its AMD graphics technology is what makes it an ultrathin notebook rather than an ultrabook, but on the outside, it looks identical to the Series 5 Ultrabooks. Overall, NotebookReview found it delivered on most aspects, even gaming, but the features may not be worth the price when compared to other notebooks in its class.

\"SamsungThe Samsung Series 5 13-inch and 14-inch have a plastic chasis, which reviewers at NBR found to be acceptable. NBR also noted that the choice of plastic over aluminum alloy keeps the ultrathin notebooks lighter. As far as the casing goes, Samsung made it easy for users to upgrade the utlrathins… RAM, hard drives, and wireless cards; but the battery is integrated, and if the battery needs to be replaced, it will need to be sent directly to Samsung. NBR was impressed that \”although this 14-inch laptop meets the dimension requirements for an Ultrabook, this laptop still has room inside for a DVD drive.\” NBR reviewed the 14-inch model and found that its LED-backlit HD display was \”average\”, touting a 1366 x 768 resolution with a poor range of viewing angles. It has two 2W speakers, located above the keyboard, which makes for a good listening experience for users. Although the location of the speakers works, the placement of the speakers is 3-inches apart, which NBR notes can give \”almost a false monophonic sound effect.\” Its battery life lasted 6 hours and 27 minutes in testing, which is in line with most other Intel-based ultrabooks.

The Samsung 5 Series 14-inch ultrathin notebook comes with a 750GB 5400rpm hard drive, which offers a great amount of local storage, but NBR found it also dramatically reduced the performance of the notebook. When swapped out with a $100 128GB Samsung SDD, it \”immediately became much faster; almost doubling the PCMark 7 benchmark score.\” While easy to swap out the hard drive, it should be noted that this will increase cost in the long run of the notebook. Ultrathin notebooks and ultrabooks are not generally thought of as gaming notebooks, but NBR was surprised to find that the Samsung Series 5 14-inch ultrathin notebook delivered a decent performance when gaming, thanks to the ultrathin\’s AMD A-series discrete graphics card.

While the Samsung Series 5 ultrathin notebook has some great features, it would be hard to recommend at its retail price of $849.99, at the time of review. However, NBR notes that the laptop has been seen for prices around $649.99, at the time of review, a price that would make it a much better deal for those looking for an ultrathin laptop. The only caveat might be the cost of swapping out the 750GB hard drive for something that will not bog down the machine. Swapping out the hard drive increases the cost of the machine, making other machines such as the ASUS UX32 a better deal when comparing price and performance.


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