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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

Still, if Samsung has been over-ambitious with the trackpad, there’s a lot to like elsewhere. The screen, for instance, is a matte, 15.6in panel, and is superbly bright. The lack of a glossy finish is a distinct bonus, and although the resolution isn’t good enough to play Full HD content, 1,600 x 900 is easily good enough for most work, including multimedia tasks such as image editing.

The system’s storage has a few points of interest as well, not least the 8GB SanDisk SSD, used by the 700Z’s ExpressCache system. Diskeeper claims ExpressCache can knock 40% off a system’s boot time, and tests against a stopwatch suggest around a five-second speed boost with ExpressCache turned on.

Samsung 700Z Chronos

Unfortunately ExpressCache isn’t very configurable. You can’t, for instance, install an application of your choosing there. Standard storage is supplied by a Hitachi 750GB disk – more than enough storage for most, and a spin speed of 7,200rpm to keep power users happy.

Build quality and looks aside, your money goes a long way with the 700Z. Our review unit came with a Core i7-2720M running at 2.20GHz; the closest specification you can currently buy has a Core i7-2675QM instead, running at the same core speed.

There’s 8GB of RAM and the 700Z fairly screamed through our benchmarks. Four physical cores, each with Hyper-Threading, means you’ll make light work of even high-end applications: this is a very good system for power users, with a final benchmark result of 0.78.

The 700Z’s fruity inspiration doesn’t end at the looks or trackpad: in an effort to make the best use of space, the battery is a sealed unit, and replacing it involves undoing a series of screws in the machine’s base.

Samsung 700Z Chronos

Still, you shouldn’t have to get friendly with a screwdriver too soon: Samsung claims the battery will deliver at least an 80% charge for 1,500 cycles, and those with an eye for eking every last electron out of the cell can opt for it not to charge beyond 80%, in an effort to prolong its life. Allowed to charge to 100%, the 700Z ran for 5hrs 8mins in our light use test, and 1hrs 39mins in our heavy use test.

At a shade under a grand, the 700Z is well worth a look. If you’re after a decent-looking, lightweight 15-incher, the next best place to looks is the likes of Apple’s 15in MacBook Pro, for which you’ll pay nearly £600 more, and which comes with less RAM and a smaller hard disk. Aside from the over-ambitious trackpad, there’s an awful lot to like here.

Author: Dave Stevenson

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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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