Samsung 700Z Chronos review

3 Nov 2011

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

Price when reviewed 
1,014
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £845
Price inc VAT £1,014
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 362 x 239 x 24mm (WDH)
Weight with extended battery 2.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-2720QM
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 6750
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 750GB
Hard disk usable capacity 673GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk Hitachi
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8A7AS
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Below keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

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
Responsiveness score 0.81
Media score 0.82
Multitasking score 0.72

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Software supplied None