Samsung 700Z Chronos review
Great looks, stacks of power and a superb screen: a great, cheap alternative to a MacBook
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.
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£845|
|Price inc VAT||£1,014|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||362 x 239 x 24mm (WDH)|
|Weight with extended battery||2.3kg|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2720QM|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,600|
|Resolution screen vertical||900|
|Resolution||1600 x 900|
|Graphics chipset||AMD Radeon HD 6750|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||673GB|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8A7AS|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Below keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.0mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 8min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 39min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.78|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.78|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|