Life & Style | Gadgets & Tech

Gadget review: Neither here nor there

Samsung's Series 5 qualifies more as a laptop than the Ultrabook it has been billed as

  • Bhavishya Kanjhan
  • Published: 00:00 May 26, 2012
  • Tabloid on Saturday

  • Image Credit: Supplied

So, we've covered a few Ultrabooks here already, and it seems manufacturers just won't stop the production lines. The Series 5 Ultra is Samsung's entry into this segment. No stranger to ultra-portables, Samsung has released beautiful slim devices such as the Series 9. However, unlike the Series 9, the Series 5 is a more affordable and less glamorous unit. It features two options — one with a 13.3-inch screen and the other with a 14-inch screen. We'll be reviewing the latter.

The first thing you notice about it is the weight. Unlike other Ultrabooks that are sleek and light, the Series 5 weighs 1.78 kilos and is 20.8mm thick.

It seems the weight would be necessary to feature a large screen and an optical disc drive, which aren't found in other Ultrabooks.

Built in a grey aluminium-esque frame, the design sits between jaw dropping and drab. Open the screen lid to reveal the chiclet keyboard, which is standard for Samsung laptops, and the large track pad, which is one of the better ones in the segment. It's spacious, offers distinct buttons and allows you to move smoothly across it. The keyboard is not backlit, though.

The screen is great, with a resolution of 1366 x 768. It is bright and has a matte finish, which kills glare.

Now here's the kicker — unlike others that feature an SSD, the Series 5 has a 500GB HDD (running at 5400 RPM) with 16GB flash memory. This hybrid hard drive stores the bulk of the data on the 500GB drive while placing the most frequently used files on the flash memory. This dramatically improves boot times and application start-up times over a regular HDD but it still seems to fall short when lined up against an SSD.

All this eats into battery life; with regular use it's around the five-hour mark while others have been about six hours.

What you will enjoy is the selection of ports — three USB ports (including two USB 3.0s), Kensington lock slot, memory card reader, full HDMI, Ethernet, headphone/mic port and full VGA. Not bad at all.

In conclusion, the Series 5, bear with me here, barely fits the Ultrabook segment. It actually is closer to a regular laptop.

However, priced at Dh3,999, the Series 5 is cheaper than all other Ultrabooks. At its price point, the Series 5 is a bargain laptop that delivers decent performance at the cost of portability.

            Bhavishya Kanjhan is a digital marketing professional and an early adopter of all things digital. Follow his tweets on @bhavishya

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