No doubt, Samsung products are on fire, and the Samsung Series 7 and Series 9 laptops are no exception. While the Series 7 Chronos gathers the most attention for the Series 7 line, the Series 9 has been the Ultrabook champ. That just might change with the new Samsung Series 7 Ultra, a 13.3" Ultrabook that offers upscale design and features at a friendlier price than the Series 9.
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra is just starting to pop up at Best Buy locations in the US for $999. This is Samsung's model NP740U3E-A01UB, and it has the latest third generation Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5 1.8GHz CPU with 4 gigs of RAM and a Samsung 128 gig SSD. Like most laptops, it has Intel HD 4000 graphics, but there's a version available overseas with AMD Radeon HD8570M dedicated graphics that competes with the Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD. Will the version with dedicated graphics come to the US? Samsung hasn't said yet. In this video review, we look at the US Best Buy model.
There's a lot to like here: an aluminum casing top and bottom with the Series 7 understated styling, great build quality and a full HD 1920 x 1080 display with multi-touch. That display and touch feature outpace the more expensive Series 9 Ultrabook, and our tech tools ID it as an IPS rather than PLS display (both are good and have very wide viewing angles). This is a fantastic looking display that competes well against the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A display, though the Samsung's super high gloss is at times distracting. We love the rich colors, deep blacks, 350 nits of brightness and fairly wide color gamut, and it's a very close race with the also excellent UX31A Touch.
Most Ultrabooks have everything expect the SSD drive soldered to the motherboard. We're absolutely thrilled that after removing 10 Philips head screws on the bottom cover we have access to two RAM slots, a standard mSATA SSD connector and the Intel dual band WiFi 6235 card with WiDi wireless display and Bluetooth 4.0. The notebook can house up to 16 gigs of DDR3 1600MHz RAM, and if you find the SSD too small, you can always upgrade in the future. Nice.
The Ultrabook weighs 3.64 pounds, so it's not the lightest kid on the block. In fact, it's a pound heavy than the welter weight Samsung Series 9 13.3" Ultrabook. But we'll take the added weight that a touch screen and upgradable internals add. The beefy 57Wh, 4 cell battery contributes to weight and also very good battery life of 6 hours. The machine runs Windows 8 64 bit, which is more pleasant with a touchscreen.
Ports are relatively abundant for an Ultrabook with 3 USB ports, a full size HDMI port, full size SD card slot, gigabit Ethernet (no dongle required), mini VGA (dongle required but sold separately) and a 3.5mm combo audio jack.