I have never had an Ultrabook before, so this was my first time trying one out officially and it happened to be a Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch. This Ultrabook has a touchscreen interface so Samsung USA decided to name this the “UltraTouch” and says so on the US store (not here in NZ though..).
At first glance when taken out of the box is how sleek the Series 5 UltraTouch is. Thanks to its classy silver aluminium cover that makes it look sleek and sort-of shiny when it is not made dirty… It weighs 1.69kg so it is not the lightest kid on the block or the thinnest but it is able to be carried around easily without breaking your arms to do your daily work.
This Ultrabook is also known as the model NP540U3C-A01AU and has an Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.70GHz with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. The hard drive has 500GB and is a hybrid-drive, which means a small bit of space is considered as a SSD and is where the most used programs and the OS is installed. Samsung call this the ExpressCache and this space only has 24GB.
Even though it has 24GB reserved as a SSD for fast boot-up times, starting up from sleep wasn’t really that quick after a few “sleeps”, so we occasionally had to restart the Ultrabook to give it a nice “refresh”.
The keyboard on the Samsung Ultrabook is nicely spaced out so that you can type without making too many unnecessary errors. Too bad it isn’t back-lit or else it would have made a great “island-type” keyboard!
Talking about errors, when I first started typing with the Ultrabook, it would suddenly jump from where I was typing to somewhere I had already typed. This was because when I was comfortably resting my palms, it was hitting the (kind-of) sensitive trackpad which made the cursor click on somewhere else. The issue was really persistent and annoying at first but afterwards I decided I had better “give-away” the comfort of resting my palms in order to successfully type without it jumping from place to place. In the end, I decided to use my Logitech Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mice to control the Ultrabook.
The screen is a nice bright 13.3″ LED display thanks to its SuperBright technology which has a 300-nit brightness. It does reflect when outdoors, and it is kinda hard to see as well. When viewing at angles, colours were a little bit washed out. But one thing that Samsung did disappoint us with was the screen resolution. I mean, Ultrabooks these days should have a minimum resolution of 1600 x 900 if not a full-HD 1080P screen. The Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch has a screen resolution of just 1366 x 768 which is just the norm for ‘notebooks’ these days. This means that text will not look as sharp, becomes more “blocky” than if on a higher-res screen.
Speaking of screens, the Ultrabook’s 10-finger touchscreen is extremely responsive. It does keep fingerprints on the screen and attract dust though so when you lift up the Ultrabook’s screen into the light you can see the fingerprints and dust.
On the left side of the Ultrabook there is the power, Gigabit ethernet, a USB 3.0, HDMI, a speaker/mic and a mini-VGA adapter ports.
On the right side of the Ultrabook there is a 3-in-1 memory card reader and 2 USB 2.0 ports. I would’ve liked if they had did the opposite with the USB ports – 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0, or all of them being USB 3.0. It does say it supports “Sleep-and-Charge” but it doesn’t seem to work when I shut the lid… not sure if it is something wrong that I did, or it just didn’t work.
For wireless connectivity, there is 802.11abg/n WiFi card and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has Wi-Di (Wireless Display) support to wirelessly stream your Ultrabook’s screen to a TV via an adapter.
For video chatting, the Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook offers a 1.3 megapixel HD webcam plus an internal mic.
The stereo speakers are actually not that loud even when you turn the volume up to the max. Compared to my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (with Dolby HomeTheatre sound) the Samsung Ultrabook has a quieter sound than it.
Now this is the part where everyone is most likely waiting for, the battery life of this Ultrabook. I can’t really say that it gives me a “full day’s use without recharging”, because I simply can’t. Currently I have 42% remaining, (that is equal to 1hr and 22min according to the Ultrabook) after two hours of deleting files (it’s gotta go back this Monday) and web-browsing. So in total just less than 4 hours of battery use. Now imagine how fast the battery would drain if I was watching a streaming movie on iTunes?? Pretty damn fast I’d say! But to be fair, most notebooks’ battery life is also about the same, and this ultrabook had a 4-cell battery (52Wh); not many have actually lasted for 6-7 hours non-stop!
But I do like that it doesn’t have a huge-as power brick! In fact, it’s one of the smallest that I’ve ever seen! In the pic above you can even compare how small it is with Lenovo’s laptop charger.
To conclude this review, the Samsung Series 5 Touch Ultrabook has plenty to offer with its good-sized HDD and RAM, but it could improve on some small areas to make this a great ultra-portable notebook – lighter body, screen resolution being improved etc. But it is good enough for the average notebook user wishing to move around a lot while being able to be productive.