The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is that rare breed of 15" laptops that have the power of multimedia and gaming 17" systems. It keeps company with the 15" MacBook Pro, late 2011/early 2012 HP Envy 15 and the Dell XPS 15z. The Chronos is the lightest in the group, and it seems Samsung's ability to make extremely thin and light devices doesn't just apply to their Android smartphones. While their smartphone lose weight with the help of lots of plastics, the Chronos has an aluminum lid and deck. The underside is plastic but we're totally cool with that because plastic is durable and dissipates heat well. This notebook won't burn your lap or make the fellas worry about their fertility.
There are several Samsung Series 7 notebooks, ranging from 14" to 15.6", and we're looking at the upscale Chronos model NP700Z5A with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 2675QM 4 core CPU, switchable Intel HD 3000 and AMD Radeon HD6750M graphics with 1 gig VRAM, an internal DVD burner, 6 gigs of RAM and a 7590 gig 7200RPM hard drive. Beware the Best Buy version that downgrades the dedicated graphics and adds WiMAX.
That's quite a power punch for a 5.05 lb. notebook that's only 0.94" thick. The Samsung Series 7 Chronos can play the latest 3D games at medium settings or higher and it can play older games on high settings. It scores an impressive 9847 in 3DMark06. We'll post a gaming video review later today so you can see the machine handling Skyrim, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and FEAR 2.
We really love the matte 1600 x 900 15.6" display. Samsung calls it a high brightness LCD since it has 300 nits brightness, and that brightness plus the lack of glare make it viewable outdoors and in bright rooms. Even in average indoor lighting the lack of glare is much easier on the eyes. The drawback? This is a standard TN panel and not IPS, so while side viewing angles are decent top-bottom viewing angles are limited. You'll have to angle the display slightly back to get good contrast and colors. Blacks aren't terribly deep and contrast isn't very high (two things that gloss enhances).
The notebook has the best backlit keyboard we've ever seen, with adjustable backlight brightness. The letters illuminate, as do the edges of each key. There's a number pad (rare on 15" notebooks) and all sorts of little creature comforts: the wirelesss on/off key is always illuminated as is the mute button when mute is on and most ports are on the left so you righties won't bump into cords when using a mouse.
Ports are good with 2 USB 3.0 ports (sleep and charge), 1 USB 2.0 port, HDMI, gigabit Ethernet and a mini VGA port (the adapter is included in some markets). It has an SD card reader and a combo mic-headphone jack as well a 720 webcam with mic. The Samsung Series 7 Chronos has WiFi 802.11b/g/n (Broadcom on ours, Intel in some other markets), an oversize and offset trackpad, Bluetooth 3.0 HS and stereo speakers plus a "woofer" on the bottom. It has an 8 cell battery that's sealed inside and we've averaged 5.5 hours on a charge doing office tasks (not gaming!).
All in all, this is a lot of notebook for $1,099. That's less than the new HP Envy 15 (granted you don't get the Envy's 15" IPS display) and almost half the price of a comparable 15" MacBook Pro. And yes, we'll be doing an Envy 15 review very soon, as well as a Samsung Series 7 Chronos vs. HP Envy 15 comparison smackdown.