Samsung has updated its 530U3B ultrabook in line with the new Intel 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture, taking advantage of the significant boost to graphical oomph from the overhaul of Intel’s IGP to HD4000.
The new Samsung Series 5 530U3C features the exact same shell as its Sandy Bridge forerunner, and the connectivity options are unchanged still a slender 18mm in thickness, with the same matte 13.3-inch 1366 x 768 pixel screen, albeit better able to display output thanks to the 30% improvement in graphical processing from the HD4000 jump.
The Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook still uses a hybrid storage solution, with an identical 500GB mechanical hard disk, but the SSD housing the OS and any crucial programs has been expanded from 16GB to a roomier 24GB. And just as importantly the price remains unchanged at $1000.
The Samsung Series 5 is done out in light titanium silver, or in pink or brown for an extra $120.
That unmodified port selection comprises VGA and HDMI interfaces solitary USB-3 port, pair of USB-2s, and a card reader. Net connectivity is enhanced, and now supports the 5GHz band thanks to the inclusion of an Centrino Advanced N6235 WiFi chip, and Bluetooth 3 is passed over in favor of higher speed and lower voltage Bluetooth 4. Though buyers should remember that few peripherals yet support Bluetooth functionality as yet. There’s a LAN socket for wired internet connectivity, but still no sign of any UMTS module for 3G/LTE syncing anywhere. Included with the Series 5 machine in the box is a useful recovery DVD, but no VGA adapter – now users will need to buy their own cable for hooking up with old-style external displays. But considering the lack of an optical drive, a USB stick with the recovery files might be a better idea.
The Samsung 530U3C is running Windows 7 Home Premium for its OS. A 24-month warranty is standard, including a guarantee that the power pack will retain 70% of full capacity after three years or 1500 recharges…that should set users’ minds at rest.
The roomy chiclet keyboard remains unaltered, with the same dedicated mouse buttons as the predecessor, which may or may not appeal, depending on your preference.
I personally find click-pads preferable for browsing, but discrete mouse buttons easier for fiddly stuff like Photoshop or hardcore dragging-and-dropping in software. The keyboard offers the usual good typing experience we’ve come to expect from Samsung, although a backlit keyboard would have been a significant upgrade.
The matte screen puts the Ivy Bridge update Samsung Series 5 in an exclusive club with the Toshiba Satellite L830 and Asus Zenbook UX32VD – the rest of the current crop offer super-rich but super-reflective glossy displays.
That said, Samsung might compare resolutions across the Ultrabook offerings before patting itself too heartily on the back – Asus’s ultrabooks generally feature higher, sharper resolutions on their ultrabooks, even the 11.6-inch versions. Average brightness levels of 307 nits is very good, and compensates for the pitiful 2.47 candela black value, which combine for a sub-par 130:1 contrast ratio. But it’s a consumer device rather than a machine for professional artists, so no real problems.
The largest difference between the old Sandy Bridge Samsung Series 5 and the new Ivy slickness is in performance – the new dual-core i5-3317U CPU is clocked at 1.7GHz, complete with all those tri-gate transistors and and 1600MHz chipset – faster RAM, – still 6GB – that larger SSD, improved on-chip graphics – all help the new Series 5 outperform the old by 25%, even more in highly demanding programs. A 7200rpm HDD would have improved matters further, however… But because of the lack of a dedicated GPU, the Series 5 isn’t suited to current gaming at high or even medium settings, or to graphically-demanding programs such as video editing suites.
Bass and deep notes were underrepresented by the pair of 2W speakers. Flat-out battery flogging gave above two hours’ service, or 5 hours of moderate WiFi-surfing. The Samsung Series 5 Ivy Bridge update presents a moderately well powered ultrabook that delivers a solid $1000 ultrabook experience. Unless you’re a power user or fancy a spot of gaming with the latest titles, it’s a good choice. Samsung has a 17-inch gamer for the gaming enthusiasts.
Check out notebookcheck for results of benchmark tests for Samsung 530U3B Ultrabook.
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