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Samsung 700Z Chronos review

Verdict

Great looks, stacks of power and a superb screen: a great, cheap alternative to a MacBook

Review Date: 3 Nov 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Stevenson

Price when reviewed: £845 (£1,014 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

When it comes to dislodging the excellent-value Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 from the A-List, manufacturers have their work cut out – Lenovo’s good-looking machine is a snip at less than £600 exc VAT. Enter the stunning Samsung 700Z series: a range of 15.6in high-end laptops. Can Samsung’s handsome new range tempt us to part with £400 more than Lenovo asks for its Core i5 everyman?

It’s a very good-looking piece of kit: the dark, brushed-aluminium chassis not only feels like it will withstand all but the most serious misuse, but it’s positively gorgeous as well.

The keyboard is beautifully constructed too. There’s no flex beneath the widely spaced keys at all, and the number pad to the right of the main keys gives the 700Z some extra appeal for spreadsheet users.

Samsung 700Z Chronos

It’s an absolute pleasure to type on. It’s also backlit, which lends the machine a touch more glamour while making it arguably more practical, for typing on overnight flights for example.

The trackpad has grand ideas, and will attempt to detect multitouch gestures. A double-fingered drag down scrolls down a document, and pinching your fingers either together or apart is interpreted as “pinch to zoom”, although without proper support in Windows, how well it works varies enormously from application to application. It’s horribly implemented in web browsers such as Chrome, and it’s hard to see it getting much day-to-day use.

Samsung 700Z Chronos

The lack of any apparent mouse buttons looks good, but produces some irritating behaviour: if you want to click and drag something, it makes sense to click with one finger and drag with another, but on a trackpad whose entire surface is a button this is liable to annoying misinterpretation, as selecting text or dragging icons around the desktop becomes infuriatingly hit and miss.

There are other gestures: a four-fingered swipe down produces Windows’ Flip 3D task switcher, while a four-fingered swipe up performs the equivalent of Windows-D, sending you back to the desktop. Neither gesture works reliably or usefully compared to the grace of the Apple system Samsung is aping. Luckily, head to the Control Panel and you can turn most of it off.

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User comments

Screen quality

Great review. In the review here http://www.notebookcheck.com/Test-Samsung-Serie-7-
700Z5A-Notebook.65085.0.html
Screen quality is described as bad. They state that the panal model number is LTN156KT068. Could you check if the unit reviewed here uses the same panel?

By sorenba on 3 Nov 2011

Any news on the Z4A version?

Samsung's release talked about a 15 inch screen model, but they seem to be launching some versions of this only in selected countries. Not being an accountant, I dislike the keyboard and trackpad being offset for the sake of a numeric keypad, and the smaller version didn't have that.

Any more detail on the trackpad would be appreciated, I know pinch to zoom is rubbish but how smooth is the scrolling, and how about swiping forward and back a page like Apples? I'd almost buy a Macbook just for the trackpad.

By ChrisH on 5 Nov 2011

Discontinued !! ??

I'd like to buy the model you reviewed here, 15.6in Core i7 around £1,000 but this is already listed as discontinued on a couple of major websites and is not available anywhere. The only options around seem to be the slower core i5 version or a much higher spec/price i7 with 17.3 inch HD screen, 1.5 TB Hard Drive, and £1,500 price tag!

So have Samsung now decided not to release a competitively priced 15.6in i7 version of the 700Z ?

By Jeremy321 on 6 Nov 2011

Available for sale at John Lewis...

Link here:

http://www.johnlewis.com/231395837/Product.aspx?so
urce=63258

By SashaMuller on 8 Nov 2011

... or is it....

I had seen that, it was the only site that had it, but if you check the model number John Lewis give NP700Z5A-S02UK that is the Core i5 model. I fear JL may have made a mistake and have been selling i5 laptops which they've listed as i7

By Jeremy321 on 8 Nov 2011

How about Dabs.com...

http://www.dabs.com/products/samsung-700z5a-core-i
7-2675qm-8gb-ram-750gb-hdd-windows-7-home-premium-
64bit-15-6--laptop-7SD1.html?q=700z5a&src=3

By SashaMuller on 9 Nov 2011

Returning mine - the trackpad is horrendous

I love absolutely everything about this machine... apart from the fact it doen't have trackpad buttons. The trouble with this is this: If you are like me and you navigate your way around with your right hand on the trackpad and use your left hand to click the trackpad button then this will infuriate you. If you don't move your left hand away from the usual button area (bottom left) after every press you may accidentally brush against this area causing an unwanted click! I've tried making it less sensitive but the lightest of brushes from your left hand will cause an unwanted click, whereas if it was a good old fashioned button you could rest your finger on it for the next time you really wanted to click.... It wound me up for normal web browsing but most of all I trade currency and within one second I had accidentally traded three unwanted trades of 1/2 million euros in less than one second! Later the same day I accidentally traded two additional trades and had to close the unwanted one - hence this had to go. Put buttons back on and it's amazing.

By John_F_R on 5 Dec 2011

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