Samsung Series 7 Chronos review

Powerful hardware, massive battery life and a good graphics processor make this the Ultimate laptop

Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
1,300
inc VAT

Specifications

15.6 in 1,920x1,080 display, 2.5kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3635QM, 8.00GB RAM, 1,000GB disk, Windows 8

The new Samsung Series 7 Chronos has changed quite a lot since we saw the 2011 model. It’s a little bigger and heavier than before, and is an extra centimetre longer in width and depth, but the slight increase in weight makes it feel sturdy and well built. It’s powerful, too, thanks to a quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3635QM processor that can turbo boost to 3.4GHz and 8GB of RAM. It whizzed through our multimedia benchmarks, scoring 90 overall. This is just 10 points shy of our reference processor, a desktop Core i5-3570K, so it shouldn’t have any problem handling multiple applications at the same time, or those that require brute force processing.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

It has a 1TB mechanical hard drive rather than a faster SSD, but the mechanical drive makes much more sense in a laptop such as this, as it provides enough storage for many applications and a large media library.

GAME TIME

The Chronos has dedicated graphics in the form of an AMD Radeon HD 8870M graphics processor, and it performed very well in our Dirt Showdown benchmark test, producing a very smooth 51.4fps at a resolution of 1,280x720 with graphics quality set to High. It could even run the graphically challenging Crysis 2 at the same resolution and quality setting, providing a comfortable average frame rate of 43.4fps. Sadly, it could only manage an average frame rate of 20fps at Ultra quality and a higher resolution 1,920x1,080. Evem so, the Chronos is a fairly capable gaming laptop, even if it isn’t intended to be.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

Whether you prefer to play games, watch movies or employ your creativity with video-editing softare, you’ll love the Chronos’s stunning 15.6in Full HD touchscreen. Its glossy finish is a little reflective, but it really helped primary colours look rich and vivid in our solid colour image tests; blacks were deep and lit evenly across the screen. Whites looked ever so slightly grey, but this wasn’t particularly noticeable in everyday use.

The display’s main highlight, though, is its 10-point touch support. It’s not particularly well suited to playing multitouch games, as simply using the onscreen keyboard made it wobble quite a lot, but it’s very responsive and easy to use. We had no trouble using it to display the Windows 8 Charms bar, switch between individual windows or open individual links and files. Occasionally, it failed to register our touch towards the outer extremities of the screen when switching internet tabs, for example, but on the whole it was very accurate and precise.

We found typing on the Chronos very comfortable. Its full-sized Chiclet-style keys provided lots of tactile feedback, and we like its numberpad. The edge of the Chronos’s keyboard tray dug into our wrists slightly, which proved irritating, but there’s ample room for adjusting your typing position thanks to the generous size of its wrist rest.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

We liked its large all-in-one touchpad, too. It felt like it was positioned a little too far to the right at times, as our hand often hovered dangerously close to its top corner, but we never found ourselves brushing it accidentally while typing. It was very accurate during everyday use and although it doesn’t have physical buttons, we found the clickable touchpad easy to use. It also provided a surprising amount of grip and control when using multitouch gestures as well, which made tasks such as pinch-zooming and two-finger scrolling very easy to perform.

IMMORTAL CHRONOS

One of the Chronos’s most impressive features is its huge battery life. In our light use tests, with the screen set to half brightness, the Chronos lasted a very impressive 9 hours and 36 minutes. This is one of the longest battery scores we’ve recorded, so you should get a full day’s work out of it before you need to recharge it.

It has two USB3 and two USB2 ports. One USB3 port acts as a PowerSave port that can charge devices when the laptop’s switched off. It also has a VGA and HDMI port for connecting it to an external display, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card reader and a combined headphone and microphone jack.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

Unusually, we didn’t feel the need to use a pair of external speakers, with the Chronos, as its internal 4W JBL speakers are some of the best laptop speakers we’ve heard. Despite being located underneath the main chassis, they provided lots of volume and the bass was surprisingly rich in our test tracks.

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a hugely impressive laptop. It’s expensive, but with near desktop levels of performance, a competent graphics processor and a massive battery life, it’s also great value. It truly deserves its Ultimate award.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core i7-3635QM
Processor clock speed 2.4GHz
Memory 8.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 12GB
Size 23x376x250mm
Weight 2.5kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad and touchscreen

Display

Viewable size 15.6 in
Native resolution 1,920x1,080
Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 8870M
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 2,048MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 1,000GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 4
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/b/g/n
PC Card slots N/A
Supported memory cards SD, SDHC, SDXC
Other ports headphone out

Miscellaneous

Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 8
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included N/A
Optional extras N/A

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £1,300
Details www.samsung,com
Supplier http://www.pcworld.co.uk

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