Samsung has today released four new laptops and they are branded as Series 7. Lets see the specs straight away:

Samsung Series 7
Model NP700Z5A-S02US NP700Z5A-S01US NP700Z3A-S01US NP700Z5B-W01UB
Screen size 15.6" 15.6" 14.0" 15.6"
Resolution 1600x900 1600x900 1600x900 1600x900
Processor Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB) Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB) Intel Core i5-2430M (2/4, 2.4GHz, 3MB) Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6750M AMD Radeon HD 6750M

AMD Radeon HD 6490M

AMD Radeon HD 6490M
Memory 6GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 6GB DDR3 6GB DDR3
Storage 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm
Ports 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA
Battery life Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours
Weight 5.05lb 5.05lb 4.30lb 5.05lb
Price $1149 $1299 $1099 $999.99
Availability October 2nd

All models are built from aluminum, which seems to be in right now (e.g. Dell XPS z15, ASUS UX21 and Macs). This isn't a bad thing at all and at least I prefer aluminum over the regular plastic case. Another interesting detail is the screen and bezel: The bezel is very thin. Unfortunately we don't know the dimensions so we can't make comparisons of the form factors, but Samsung is claiming that the 14" model is actually the same size as most 13.3" laptops due to the size of the bezel. The extra 0.7" should be handy with such high resolution (and hence high PPI). At least the 15.6" model has a numpad and matte screen too, which should both be good news. DVD drive is present in all models as well, but the specs and option for Blu-Ray are unknown.

When looking at the other specs, there are a few intriguing things. First, three of the four models come with an 8GB SSD. This is most likely soldered onto the motherboard, and Series 7 seems to be the first laptop with such configuration. The SSD works as a cache, similar to Intel Z68's Smart Response Technology (SRT). We don't know what Samsung is using to enable this but it doesn't seem to be SRT because it requires at least 18.6GB SSD. Samsung claims boot time of as low as 19 seconds and up to 60% gains in web browsing with Internet Explorer. Obviously, these numbers should be taken with grain of salt and as with all caching, the performance gains are only achieved when the data is in the cache (in this case in the SSD). The SSD isn't the only component that has been soldered because 4GB of the RAM is also on the motherboard, thus making it not upgradeable. There still appears to be one slot for regular SODIMM with either 2GB or 4GB pre-installed, so not all upgradeability has been taken away. 

As for the other specs, there isn't anything out of the ordinary. What should be noted is the similarity of specs between Series 7 and Apple's 15" MacBook Pros. The CPU and GPU in the $1149 and $1299 models are exactly the same as in the $2199 MBP. When you take the aluminum body into account, it looks like Samsung is clearly targeting 15" MBP buyers with Series 7. Okay, you don't get Thunderbolt but you get USB 3.0 in exchange. You can also get almost two $1149 Series 7 Samsungs for the price of one similar 15" MBP. The 14" Series 7 should also be attracting to 13" MBP buyers, especially for those who are after higher resolution screen and better graphics performance. 

All in all, Samsung's Series 7 should offer a great bang for buck. It even beats Dell's XPS 15z easily (you get quad core CPU and SSD cache for the same $). The SSD cache sounds promising and should definitely bring some healthy performance improvements without costing a ton. Right now, SSDs are still too expensive for mainstream (at least as sole storage) so a hybrid solution is the only affordable way to get rid of the hard drive bottleneck. It's surprising that we haven't seen setups like this before in other than desktops, but hopefully other companies will follow Samsung. 

Source: BusinessWireEngadget




View All Comments

  • michael2k - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    If you remove the ODD and replace it with a HDD bay, you get the effect of a super fast SSD cache, lower weight, better battery life, and large storage.

    So you tack on a $200 premium for a 128gb SSD, but a cheaper 5400rpm HDD for massive storage.

    It is, after all, a BTO option for their current generation of iMacs, and would work perfectly transparently on a MBP.

    And, yes, the hybrid solution would justify the premium of a MBP because you get the same 1s sleep/wake, storing the OS and apps on a 60gb SSD partition for faster application performance and app state saving, and the ability to sleep the HDD while most of the system runs off ram and SSD.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    You don't get better battery life. With an HD, you only have the HD spinning, the ODD only uses power when you actually stick a disc in it. However, with HD+SSD combo, you have two drives sucking power constantly. Okay, the HD can be put into sleep mode but that means it will take several seconds before the files can be accessed (and the HD might randomly spin up, at least my external does).

    I still don't see how adding a $100 SSD would justify paying over $1000 more. You could get a 512GB SSD for your PC and still save money compared to MBP. PC OEMs will definitely offer hybrid solutions for less $ too, so that wouldn't make MBP any special.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    You misunderstand. When Apple releases a new architecture they tend to be price competitive with the current state of the art, so the $200 premium would mean a $1700 15" with SSD+HDD, and $100 cheaper than the base current 15" MBP. Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Pretty impressed by these laptops. The specs for the price is certainly good and the hardware on a whole seems great. SSD caching is something that should be on many other laptops by now, it makes sense. And to top it off these laptops look nice, well built and have a decent screen res.
    I also like the thin bezel which also gets the size down. Samsung seem to have put a lot of thought in to these. Might actually get one...
  • yibrushn - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    From the review you guys did earlier with the 20 gig Intel cache ssd it seems like the benefits from an 8gig cache will be marginal. It's too bad the cache ssd isn't use upgradeable. Reply
  • Anubis - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    sigh Reply
  • yuriylsh - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Oh my, they finally got the screen resolution right. If I haven't bought ThinkPad T420 with 1600x900 couple months back, I would be very interested in those. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Good to see companies putting some effort in following Apples fashion focus in marketing, but at a more reasonable cost to interested consumers.

    The next question is.....could this run Apples OS? I'm not a fan of Apple, but would love to see other options made available to Apple consumers.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Hackintoshing should be possible as the hardware is so similar. Hacks have their pros and cons though and I wouldn't use one as my main computer (or it must have Windows at least). Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Looks like a great notebook, aside from the off-center trackpad and mangled arrow keys anyway.

    Unfortunately I find the lack of quad options and better graphics rather disappointing, as I'd rather have the 14" which is lighter and eschews the pointless numpad.

    Considering the pricing of these I'd feel cheated by choosing the 14" model though.

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