Samsung Series 7 Chronos review

25 Jun 2013

Great performance, build quality and excellent battery life make Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos a laptop to be reckoned with, but it’s not quite the match of the Retina MacBook Pro

Price when reviewed: 
1,300(£1,300 inc VAT)
5

In a market dominated by Ultrabooks and stick-thin hybrids, Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos gleefully bucks the trend. With a powerful quad-core processor and high-powered AMD graphics chipset crammed into a stylish metal chassis, it’s no average desktop replacement – Samsung is gunning for the likes of Apple’s MacBook Pro.

The latest Chronos is an update to last year’s machine, and although Samsung hasn’t tweaked the design, it’s still lovely to look at. It’s built almost exclusively from brushed aluminium, and the understated, elegant design is dotted with pleasing touches. The Scrabble-tile keyboard is inset slightly into the brushed metal keyboard surround; the trackpad is a featureless slab of silky smooth metal; and only a couple of unobtrusive logos and tiny status lights disturb the minimalist metal design.

Attractive looks go hand-in-hand with sterling build quality. There’s hardly any give in the wrist rest or the base, and the touchscreen and lid feel reassuringly solid. To be fair, it’s what we’d expect, given the Samsung’s bulk: at 2.5kg, it’s half a kilo heavier than the latest MacBook Pro, and its 30mm girth – including rubber feet – is substantially thicker than the A-Listed Apple’s 18mm body.

Sit down with the Series 7 Chronos, however, and it’s a pleasure to use from the off. The keyboard is superb: the base is solid and, while there’s not much travel in the keys, their action is comfortable and consistent. It’s backlit, too, with a light sensor beside the webcam fading the lights up and down, and there’s room for full-sized keys and a number pad. The touchpad is similarly impressive, due to its responsive surface and full support for Windows 8’s touchscreen gestures, and it depresses with a light, crisp click.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

Up front, Samsung’s equipped the Series 7 Chronos with a 15.6in, Full HD touchscreen. The touchscreen itself supports 10-point multitouch, and the smooth, glossy surface responds accurately to the lightest of touches. Thanks to the relatively wide bezels either side of the screen, Windows 8’s edge-swipe gestures work well, too.

Image quality is well up to par. Unlike many touchscreens we’ve seen, there’s no hint of graininess to the panel coating, and wide viewing angles are matched with excellent colour accuracy. Put to the test with our X-Rite colorimeter, the Samsung’s panel managed an average Delta E of only 2.5 – not far off the 1.5 scored by the more expensive MacBook Pro 17in. The LED backlighting reaches a modest maximum brightness of 254cd/m[sup]2[/sup], but the contrast ratio of 806:1 makes for punchy, solid-looking images. It’s one of the better screens we’ve seen on a laptop, but if you’re hoping for Retina-beating clarity or colour accuracy, you’ll be disappointed: the MacBook Pro’s display is brighter, its colours are more accurate, and its Retina resolution of 2,880 x 1,800 makes it sharper still.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,083
Price inc VAT £1,300
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 376 x 250 x 30mm (WDH)
Weight 2.500kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-3635QM
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 8870M
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
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
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 8hr 36min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 88fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.90
Responsiveness score 0.87
Media score 0.94
Multitasking score 0.89

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8