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Samsung Series 5 Ultra Notebook Review

By on May 28, 2012
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A notebook that tries to masquerade as an Ultrabook.

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Good: SSD makes for snappy boot times, good screen, range of connectivity options
Bad: Weighs more than a real Ultrabook, plastic is alarmingly easy to snap in places, average battery life and performance
Price: AED 3,900
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Specifications
The Series 5 Ultra has some decent specifications, but won’t floor you over with its performance as you’ll see in our benchmarks.

The notebook comes bundled with a trial of Microsoft Office and Norton Online Backup, as well as Cyberlink software, WildTangent Game Console, and a collection of Samsung software. While the notebook didn’t seem to slow down because of these programs, I recommend removing most of them anyway.

One of the things that make the Series 5 Ultra rather interesting is that it includes an SSD as well as a traditional 500GB HDD. The SSD is used to quickly load the operating system upon bootup, and we were able to go from a complete power-down state to desktop in just under 32 seconds. Closing the lid puts the computer into sleep mode, and resuming took about four seconds, which is very impressive. The included HDD is big enough for additional storage, but also adds weight to the device. Samsung were nice enough to allow users to easily upgrade the RAM and HDD by accessing a cover at the base of the unit that’s secured by a single screw.

Benchmarks
The Series 5 Ultra came up with a score of 4.4 on the Windows Experience Index, but for a more in-depth look, I fired up some of our regular benchmarks. First up was PC Mark 7 which scored a paltry 1051, well below the score of other similar Ultrabooks from the likes of Dell and Toshiba. Results continued to disappoint with Geekbench reporting a score of 3267, again falling short of expectations. 7-zip benchmarks came up with a score of 4671, which was fairly decent.

So the Series 5 Ultra certainly won’t blow you away with its performance at times – games should be able to run at average detailing, but cranking things up with result in anything between 12 to 27fps, so don’t try to consider this as your gaming fix on the go.

Battery Life, Heat and Noise levels
Samsung claims that the Series 5 Ultra can clock about 6 hours of use, though I was able to get about 4.5 hours with medium brightness and Wi-Fi on. It might be okay for the executive who moves around the office with their laptop, but for the mobile warrior the battery life may be a bit of a concern. When idle the unit registered a temperature of about 37C, and even during extreme benchmarks only hit about 40C. The fans are barely audible, and you never hear any loud noises from the HDD, which is great.

Conclusion
The Series 5 Ultra is a decent notebook, but it’s certainly not an Ultrabook. The unit may be sleek, but it’s not Ultrabook-sleek, despite what Samsung claims. The device also feels much heavier than other Ultrabooks, in part due to the included optical drive and HDD. If you’re in the market for a decent notebook that offers a number of connectivity options and acceptable performance, then this is the one for you. If you’re shopping for a genuine Ultrabook, then there are much better options to look at.

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About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

Comments
  • pet

    Does anyone know how much ram can support the motherboard? 8GB? 12? 16? Thanks

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