Samsung Series 5 14in (530U4B) review
If you’re sold on the idea of an Ultrabook but don’t want to give up your optical drive, Samsung’s 14in Series 5 might be the laptop for you. It’s only 20mm thick and weighs just 1.8kg, but it still manages to squeeze a DVD re-writer in to a stylish silver chassis and it won’t weigh you down when you’re mobile. It's essentially a slightly larger Samsung Series 5 13in.
We don’t think the extra screen space makes a huge difference in everyday use because both the 13in and 14in models have the same 1,366x768 resolution. However, the 530U4B has a very bright 300nit screen, so you should have no trouble using it, even in bright sunlight. The screen also has a matt finish, which helps reduce light reflections even further. We had no trouble finding a workable viewing angle, but colours still looked a little washed out unless we sat directly face-on to the screen.
Like its smaller brother, the 14in Series 5 does away with an SSD in favour of a larger mechanical hard disk and a small amount of flash memory. Samsung calls this Express Cache, although it’s based on Intel’s Turbo Cache technology. We noticed that it improved start-up times by almost 30 seconds, but its performance still fell behind that of a dedicated SSD. Thankfully, it didn’t impact battery life significantly, with the 530U4B lasting almost six hours in our light-use test.
Its main components, such as its dual-core Intel Core i5-2467m processor running at 1.6GHz and 4GB of RAM, are similar too. The CPU can use Turbo Boost to reach 2.3GHz for extra performance in certain situations, such as our multimedia benchmarks, helping it to score 34 overall. That score isn’t remarkable, but the 530U4B should speed through common tasks such as web browsing and word processing.
Unfortunately, its larger chassis still doesn’t have room for a dedicated graphics card, so the processor’s integrated GPU is assigned rendering duties for 3D games. It can’t manage a playable frame rate in modern titles, as its average frame rate of 13.4 in our Dirt 3 test shows, but you’ll still be able to watch high definition video on the 530U4B’s screen or an external display.
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