The Samsung Series 7 'Chronos' is quite the killer portable powerhouse we were expecting but it is a great multi-media buy
The Samsung Series 7 'Chronos' is the latest Sandy Bridge-powered entertainment machine from the Korean heavyweight. While this laptop isn't nearly as slender as the sexy Samsung Series 9 ultraportable, it certainly packs in the power and is surprisingly portable too, with impressive battery life considering the specs.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Design
While the name would be more fitting for a megalomaniac cyborg that plays football with human heads, the Chronos is actually a tame-looking beast. We were hoping for a gorgeous slimline chassis like the Samsung Series 9, and while the 25mm body is still slender enough to slip into almost any rucksack, it’s definitely more Susan Boyle than Suzi Perry. Check out the Dell XPS 15z instead if you want a mid-price laptop that looks the business.
Still, the sleek silver lid is solid at the edges to keep the display from bending, and even the centre is surprisingly firm to protect the screen. Inside, the metallic motif continues. However, the palmrests are less sturdy than the lid, flexing under even light pressure. Certainly nothing too concerning, but it further dampened our spirits.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Usability
At least the backlit isolation-style 'chiclet' keyboard stretches the width of the interior, making for well-sized keys while leaving enough room for a numeric keypad. Typing is a smooth experience, although the keys don't travel far when hit. The arrow keys are once again crushed into a single row, but we could find them without looking thanks to their wide design.
However, it isn't all good news. After typing for a short while, the sharp edges of the chassis began to slice our wrists. We found it was worse when slumped in your chair, so at least the Chronos encourages good posture.
We were also less than enamored with the touchpad, which uses annoying integrated mouse buttons. You have to push the bottom corners to simulate left and right mouse clicks, which quickly frustrates as the cursor jerks each time. We quickly gave up and started tapping the surface instead, which occasionally doesn't register but is still a lot less annoying.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Display
The 15.6-inch display stretches almost to the edge of the lid, with only a slender bezel in place. A sharp 1600 x 900 resolution keeps images crisp and clean, whether you're browsing embarrassing Facebook pics or enjoying an HD movie. There's no glossy coating either, so you can use the Chronos outside or in brightly-lit interiors without squinting through pesky glare.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Performance
The Series 7 Chronos might not be a looker, but it makes up for it with some serious brains. A Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7 2675QM processor is in charge, backed up by a generous 8GB of memory. You can run any software imaginable, and should be able to for some time to come. If you want future-proofing, the Chronos lays it on thick.
Gamers and multimedia fans are also catered for, thanks to the dedicated AMD graphics card. While the latest games won’t run with full graphical settings, they still work fine on medium detail levels, while movie fans can enjoy the latest films in HD quality.
The major manufacturers seem to be embroiled in a desperate race to create the fastest booting laptop, and the Chronos is already a front-runner. The Windows desktop pings up just 20 seconds after hitting the power button, while the laptop also wakes from hibernation in just two seconds. Impressive stuff if you’re desperate to check your Twitter account.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Battery Life
Despite all this power, we were highly impressed by the Chronos' excellent battery life. We put our laptops through a tough test, playing HD video on loop with performance settings turned to max, until the battery is drained. Most laptops last a mere three hours before keeling over, but the Chronos powered through four hours of video before the screen faded to black.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Features
If you need a machine to keep you entertained on the move, the Chronos' spacious 750GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for your games, movies and music. A slot-loading DVD drive has also been packed into the slender chassis (although we’d have preferred a Blu-ray drive to enjoy the latest HD movies). If you'd rather use this laptop as a home entertainment machine, an HDMI port can be used to hook up televisions or monitors, and you have three USB ports for attaching peripherals, two of which are zippy USB 3.0 connections.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Verdict
The Series 7 Chronos isn’t as desirable as competitors such as the Dell XPS 15z, and we were hoping for some of the sexy style of the Series 9. However, if you need a portable entertainment machine that can run anything you throw at it, the Chronos is well worth considering.
The Series 7 Chronos availability: Out now
The Series 7 Chronos price: £999