Lenovo’s chic and reasonably-priced IdeaPad Z570 represents one of the best notebook deals on the market…until now. Enter Samsung 700Z Chronos 15.6″ laptop. Yes at $1185
Samsung 700Z is priced around $500 more than the Lenovo IdeaPad but it justifies the extra outlay. Its dark, brushed-aluminium chassis is not only rugged but very good-looking. Comparable notebook of 15.6-inch would be Toshiba Satellite R850 which is also priced in the same bulk park.
The matte 15.6-inch display of 700Z Chronos with 1600 x 900 pixel resoliution is fabulous. OK so it isn’t full HD but it will suffice for image editing and other multimedia use. Blacks are true and brightness is excellent. The 1.3MP camera captures images with acceptable quality for videoconferencing but not much more.
The keyboard of Samsung 700Z is well constructed too, with widely-spaced keys and a number-pad qualifying the Chronos for office use. Very little keyboard flex means banging away at your documents is a pleasure, and the keyboard is backlit for extra effect, or perhaps for dashing off notes in dimly-lit presentations. The trackpad brings multitouch functionality, albeit with a couple of slight hiccups. The 700Z Chronos lacks dedicated mouse buttons, as with Apple’s renowned trackpad system. This takes some getting used to – users wishing to click and drag something expect to click with one finger and drag with another, but bad timing will lead to misinterpreted gestures. You can opt to switch multitouch sensitivity off for mission-critical tasks, and spend an hour or two getting up to speed one evening instead.
For storage space the 700Z Chronos features an 8GB SanDisk SSD, utilized by the Chronos’s ExpressCache system, which is claimed to shave 40% off boot times, and it helped the Chronos boot from cold in around 20 seconds with a few tweaks, though it’s not very customizable – you can’t install specific applications to the ExpressCache partition for speedy launch. The rest of the storage space is provided by a snappy 7,200rpm 750GB hard disk.
Portwise there are two USB-3 sockets and one USB-2, a 4-in-1 card reader, and audio jacks. It’s equipped for WiFi/n and Bluetooth 3.0. Ports are distributed as per pictures below:
The test unit of 700Z Chronos featured a Core i7-2720M throbbing at 2.2GHz; it’s helped along by a very respectable 8GB of RAM, and not surprisingly it cruises through benchmark tests. Four hyper-threaded physical cores breezes through even heavy applications; demanding users won’t be disappointed with the 700Z Chronos. In short Samsung has done its utmost to compensate for the lack of a dedicated graphics card, which would have added greatly to cost and weight and would have seriously shortened battery life, all for a feature necessary only for hardcore gaming.
Samsung 700Z Chronos sits squarely in the category of desktop replacement, so battery life is never going to be very good, but anyone thinking of splashing out on second power unit will have to contend with Samsung’s space-saving strategy of sealing the battery with a bunch of screws. One interesting selling point is Samsung’s claim that the battery will deliver a minimum of 80% charge for 1500 cycles. That’s a heck of a lot of charges.
The Chronos is only capable of handling the latest games at reduced resolutions, but for the price 700Z Chronos is a very good-looking lightweight 15-incher, and it stands up well in benchmarks to Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro, which costs around $600 more despite offering a smaller hard drive and less RAM. In short, we find the Chronos for a price of $1185 a very appealing package.
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