Review: Samsung Series 5 (14
The Ultrabook usually consists of several features (as deemed by Intel anyway), and optical drives and integrated graphics are the first to be sidelined to meet the slimness requirement. In review is Samsung’s offering which joins a select few, Ultrabooks that let you live a little. Enter the Series 5.
The Series 5 is Samsung’s mid-range offering, after its brothers the Series 7 and 9, and above the Series 3. Despite being the middle child, the Series 5 still packs quite a punch. The notebook (or Ultrabook) follows common aesthetics that comes with the Ultrabook moniker - the lid is aluminium while the base is plastic. Because of its thinness, there will be slight flexing when you deliberately (emphasis on “deliberately”) apply pressure on it, but for daily use, you won’t notice a thing.
A 14-inch screen adorns the top half of the Series 5, packing the rather common 1366 x 768 resolution. But it differs from the competition in that Samsung managed to put in a matte display instead of the usual fingerprint magnets we’re all so used to. This is a definite boon when you’re bringing the Series 5 outdoors. The keyboard is your standard island-style, though backlighting is absent. Keys are evenly sized and spaced, and typing this review on it proved to have no issues whatsoever. If you look to your right, you’ll find that the Series 5 packs something that is rare among Ultrabooks - an optical drive. Yes, the Series 5 has a DVD+-RW drive, so you don’t have to encode all your movies just to be able to watch them.
Now we proceed to the question of what powers the Series 5. Well, quite nifty specifications, to be honest, especially on an Ultrabook. An Intel Core i5-2467M is the brains of the operation, which in itself is a common low-voltage mobile processor found in ultraportables. The Series 5 comes with 6GB of DDR3 RAM, making for a rather speedy combination. The notebook does not skimp on storage either, with a 16GB SSD on top of a 1TB notebook drive. It’s rare to see notebooks that get you 1TB of storage, moreso on something so slim, so it’s nice to see Samsung providing the user with ample space to put their media. As for graphics, an AMD Radeon HD 7550M provides the eye candy, which should be OK for light gaming sessions.
The Samsung Series 5 managed to produce some rather impressive scores when put through our usual gauntlet of benchmarks. In PcMark, the Series 5 performed rather well, but the SSD-hard drive combo takes the cake - with a score exceeding 10,000. The Graphics Score does reflect that the 7550M is no high-end pixel-pusher, but you still can get away with some light gaming.
In terms of battery life, the Series 5 managed to last 374 minutes, or slightly more than six hours. Again, do note that battery life highly depends on what task you’re on, but if you’re just typing documents and preparing spreadsheets, the Series 5 should last you for quite a while.
The Series 5 is not lacking in terms of connectivity either. Besides the usual WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, the Series 5 interestingly enough swaps the number of USB ports - you now get two USB 3.0 ports and just one USB 2.0 port. Samsung also hasn’t forsaken the VGA crowd either, as the notebook comes with a VGA port on top of a HDMI port. This means no more fumbling around to find adapters when you need to plug it into an older projector.
Do note that there is a 13-inch variant of the Series 5, that offers slightly lower specifications, and is available for RM 2699. In conclusion, the Samsung Series 5 is a well-rounded performer that comes in a nice, slim package.