Samsung Series 7 Gamer review

22 Feb 2012

Packed to the gills with power, features and with a big, beautiful screen, this is the best entertainment laptop we’ve seen

Price when reviewed: 
1,430(£1,430 inc VAT)
5

Whatever your opinion of the technology, there’s no doubt that 3D is here to stay, with a stream of 3D-ready TVs in the shops, 3D films in the cinema and even 3D sports coverage from Sky. And the technology is slowly infiltrating other aspects of tech as well, as the latest entertainment laptop from Samsung proves.

This beast of a machine comes with a pair of active-shutter 3D glasses in the box and couples that with an AMD Radeon HD 6970M mobile graphics chipset. Combined with TriDef’s software and 3D drivers, this allows you to play games, watch 3D movies and even convert 2D DVDs into 3D.

Samsung Series 7 Gamer - front view

It isn’t the first 3D laptop we’ve seen, but it is the most convincing. Although the TriDef system requires a little setting up before games work properly – games’ executable files need to be launched from within the TriDef Ignition application and a game profile selected from a list – the 3D is very effective indeed. The jungles of Crysis seem almost to brush against your face as you bushwhack through the jungle, and scenes seem to leap right out of the screen.

For 3D movies the laptop does a good job too. A copy of Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 is also included, which makes a better stab at converting 2D movies to 3D than the TriDef software, and this will also play 3D and standard Blu-ray discs. The slim, light Samsung-branded glasses included with the laptop are the most comfortable we’ve used in any 3D system.

Samsung Series 7 Gamer

What’s most impressive about this laptop, though, is the 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 screen. With our X-rite colorimeter, we measured it at a maximum brightness of 360cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 923:1, which is plenty enough to offset the darkening effect of the 3D glasses, and when you’re not watching in 3D it looks gloriously crisp and colourful.

The 3D is by no means this laptop’s only strength. It has a big, beefy quad-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU, backed up by 8GB of RAM, and storage is about as comprehensive as you’re likely to see on any laptop. The Series 7 is equipped with two 750GB hard disks, plus an 8GB SSD which is used in Samsung’s ExpressCache system. The latter is aimed at speeding up application and Windows launch times, although our tests indicated only small improvements of a second or two at most.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,192
Price inc VAT £1,430
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 410 x 285 x 84mm (WDH)
Weight 4.000kg
Travelling weight 5.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-2670QM
Motherboard chipset Intel HM65 Express
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 2
SODIMM sockets total 4

Screen and video

Screen size 17.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 6970M
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 750GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi Travelstar 7K750
Optical disc technology Blu-ray drive
Optical drive TSSTcorp TS-LB23D
Battery capacity 5,900mAh
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 hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
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 yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset AMD HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 2hr 50min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 8min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 135fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.84
Responsiveness score 0.81
Media score 0.89
Multitasking score 0.84

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Partition
Software supplied Microsoft Office Starter, CyberLink Media Suite Blu-ray