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Posted on January 8th, 2013 by Tim Danton

Samsung Series 7 Ultra review: first look

Samsung Series 7 Ultra at CES 2013Have no doubt: the Samsung Series 7 Ultra is a premium laptop. Indeed, Samsung slam-dunks this point by including the phrase “Samsung Premium” on the Ultrabook sticker here at CES 2013. It needn’t have bothered: the feeling of quality is obvious as soon as you pick up the solid aluminium body, with no plastic underside to spoil the effect.

Samsung Series 7 Ultra keyboard close-upThere are some nice little touches to enhance this first impression. A silver power button that sits in its own recess, a stylish black accent to the screen surround, and a cleverly designed hinge all add to the effect.

The screen continues the high-end theme, boasting ten-point multitouch and a 350 nits brightness. Its key specification is the resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 on a 13.3in screen means pinpoint definition compared to standard screens.

That has practical benefits, too. We’re typing this on the Series 7 Ultra and have Word sitting on the left-hand side and Excel 2013 on the other, and even from two to three feet away it’s easy to see what we’re typing on-screen.

We suspect that, when we finally get a Series 7 Ultra into our Labs for testing, it will race through the benchmarks. This confidence stems from a dedicated graphics chip in the form of AMD’s Radeon HD8570M, and the choice of a Core i7 or i5 processor.

For now, we’ll have to take Samsung’s word on the battery life – it claims eight hours. Also note that when Samsung claims 15 seconds boot times, it’s referring to SSD-based options. The mechanical hard disk sample we used took 20 seconds.

Samsung Series 7 Ultra keyboard and trackpadAs with most Samsung laptops, the touchpad is huge, which is great for gesture controls. It may be a little overkill on the Series 7 Ultra, but you can have no complaints about responsiveness.

We like the keyboard too. While the keys don’t have a huge amount of travel, they have enough feedback to make it obvious that you’ve made contact, and the only concession Samsung makes to size is to reduce the height of the function keys.

Samsung Series 7 Ultra left-hand portsWe’re pleased to see a full-size HDMI port keeps its place, and if you buy the optional adapter you can hook up a traditional VGA display via the mini-VGA port. There’s only one USB 3 port, with two USB 2 ports keeping it company.

There will be a non-touch model as well as a touchscreen version, and this makes a difference to weight: the touch Ultra weighs 1.65kg, non-touch 1.46kg. The touch layer adds 1.4mm to the height as well, but at 18.9mm thick it’s hardly a terrible compromise.

It adds up to a powerful, lightweight laptop. We can’t wait to get a sample into our Labs for full-scale benchmarking.

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Posted in: Hardware, Windows 8

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12 Responses to “ Samsung Series 7 Ultra review: first look ”

  1. Darryl Godden Says:
    January 9th, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Finally a PC laptop we can get excited about and leave dreadful resolutions behind.

    Be interested to see the price when it launches.

     
  2. Steve Says:
    January 9th, 2013 at 11:30 am

    This looks like my new commute dev machine. Well done Samsung! I guess that is why they have a 90% rise in profits in Q4 2012! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20942121

     
  3. The Megamale Says:
    January 9th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Now this is got my attention, the fact they managed to cram a HD8000 GPU in it is quite a feat. This could very well be my next laptop as well. Will eagerly wait for the review.

     
  4. Tom Says:
    January 9th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Finally it looks like we have a powerful 13.3″ laptop with a nice screen. I’ve been waiting 4 years for this moment! USB3 connectivity is the only thing that lets it down and the lone port looks like it’s on the left-hand side. Crazy as it sounds, the placing of this port is pretty much a deal breaker for me! I’m still pleased though as this offering is hopefully a sign of things to come from other manufacturers.

     
  5. anon Says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    is the keyboard metal ?

     
  6. Grunthos Says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Agree with everyone. This finally looks like the laptop to tick all the boxes.

    Lovely device.

     
  7. Katsu999 Says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Laptop screen resolutions – why is it taking ages to go to higher-res’? Even small cheap Android tablets have better resolutions than most laptops!

     
  8. Richard Says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    This is just what I want – but will it be avaliable in the UK?
    The Asus Zenbook UX31A with FHD screen has been available in the USA for months but not in the UK, unless you can put up with an import with US keyboard.
    I would have bought one if I could have.

     
  9. Alan Says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    But will it have 3G built in? Why do none of the current unltrabooks have 3G built in?

     
  10. Sander Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Alan, good question! My old Dell D420 has built in 3G… Why not a premium ultrabook! Seems such a logical addition to a mobile device…

     
  11. Doosh Says:
    February 5th, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I hope Samsung wont make the same mistake as Sony with their old TX1XP. Silver keyboard is useless in some circumstances, victory of a design over common sense. Even in your shots keyboard is not readable.I hope there will be a version with black/grey keys.

     
  12. GK Says:
    October 30th, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I really like the Samsung Ultrabooks, I own a 730U3E. I thinks especially the Series 7 are great. Sadly, the Ultrabooks manufacturer dont release many new ones.

     

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