What We Think
The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a laptop that transcends business and play and comes with plenty of power in a solid chassis. It’s not extremely exciting, but it does do what it sets out to quite well.
Samsung have released a flurry of attractive looking notebooks of late and the DeLorean like Series 7 Chronos is certainly one we’ve been eager to get our hands on for a while. The high end 15incher looks the business on first glance and with i7 technology at its core it may well just be the MacBook for PC users but for under a grand.
Coming in at a healthy 2.3kg, its certainly eaten its vegetables, though looks every inch a good looking machine, those in the professional classes will be happy to use. It’s the attractive side of serious and will look perfectly at home, well…on your kitchen table, as much so, as in the office.
Samsung have certainly taken styling cues from Apple with this product and it has the tidy, clean style of a MacBook and fortunately the sturdiness also. The Series 7’s gunmetal grey finish is a mixture of aluminium like material and aluminium painted plastic – saying that it’s a sturdy machine and both materials are of high quality, as you’d expect, though we’d have liked to have seen a unibody chassis ala the MacBook Pro.
The clean lines follow right through from edge to edge and its quite sleek in its appearance, which will please the minimalist loving. Inside it comes with the expected island keyboard, as well as a numeric keyboard – all of which is well sized and more importantly nice to use.
The backlit keys don’t offer as much depth as you’d expect from a laptop of 25mm high, but it was the sharp edges which caught our wrists with prolonged use that we were more worried about. The addition of a self loading DVD is also a nice tidy plus, which we always commend. It’s not as stylish as the Dell XPS 15z, or as sturdy as the MacBook Pro, but it’s a good machine nonetheless.
Samsung’s touchpad is a mixed bag and the Series 7 is certainly of this variety. The keyboard is offset to the left, like the keyboard and is a smooth device, with multi touch gestures. It works quite well but there are the common niggles of cursors moving here and there when you click the buttons – which can irritate when you see the arrow leap across the screen.
We love a sharp, clear display and the Samsung’s is close enough to make us happy, though not flu 1080p at 1600x900p, it’s a quite good 15.6in panel and nice and bright. Colours are bright and realistic and there is no gloss on the screen.
Black levels however are a little greyish and viewing angles were a little lacklustre. The gloss free finish meant the display is pretty good in brighter conditions. Samsung have also added software, which you can put to auto to create the best display settings for the sort of image you’re watching, which is quite a cool addition and certainly makes a visible difference in video playback.
There’s the addition of a 1.3mp camera as well as 2x 1.5w speakers, which provide good clear sound at all levels. This feature’s added to by a subwoofer and what’s known as Sound Alive Software, which is used to create a better sound for films, which of course play smoothly in HD on the Intel run machine.
Samsung’s kitted the 7 Series out with an i7 2675QM chip and a future proof 8GB of RAM, meaning this device is one for the next half decade. The i7 Sandy Bridge chip is in fact the same one used in the higher spec MacBook Pro 15 inch and comes with both Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz – which means it’s pretty fast. Of course, it also comes with Intel HD 3000 graphics, to aid the visual side.
Samsung has gone a step further and again like the MacBook has included the same GPU – an AMD 6750 chip and you have enviable power. This allows for the playing of most new games and certainly HD movies. We found little problem with HD films on the Samsung – just as we’d have expected. It also took care of photo and video editing with little issue. Gaming was also quite commendable and you’ll get away with most modern games at a middle of the range setting, thanks to the AMD GPU, though for those looking for something more gaming orientated than business HP’s Envy stable is also an option.
The 750GB hard drive is of the new hybrid style and comes with flash memory to ensure it has some of the performance of an SSD. This technology utilises Samsung’s Express Cache software to decrease boot up times to sub 35 seconds, which is quite useful for the impatient.
Connectivity is provided by three USB’s, two of which are of the newer 3.0 variety, a HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, SD card reader and the usual range of 3.5mm jacks. While battery is very good and in our rigorous Battery Eater 05 test it managed a commendable 197 minutes. Essentially this test means it will last for over 4 hours performing the hardest of grafts before conking out. You can also expect to get 6.5 hours or close to an average day’s work. As it includes a lithium polymer battery you’ll also manage to charge 80 per cent of the battery in around half an hour – all good so.
In all the Samsung is a pretty well catered for machine, with a clean design, good display, decent battery and a lot of horse power. It’s also priced quite well and for those looking for a MacBook in PC clothing, it’s a contender without doubt.Other PCs such as the Dell XPS maybe more stylish, and Lenovo’s Y470 is also an option – but the Samsung is up there.
There are a few problems with the wrist slicing edges, plastic chassis and misfiring touchpad, but overall this is a good machine and one we certainly liked and though not astounding by it we recognise it as a solid, well capable machine for those looking for the best mix of work and play.