The keyboard with number pad on this Samsung Series 5 550P7C is a little special. While layout retains the typical chiclet format with relatively small keys spaced just a little far apart, they offer more travel than any non-Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard we’ve seen on a laptop in quite some time. As such, feedback is truly excellent, with a nice click to go along with those ‘deep’ presses.
No, it’s still not up to the best Lenovo has to offer, but it comes close. Our only niggle is the lack of backlighting, which we would just about expect at this price point.
You also get a rather traditional touchpad with actual buttons. The large multi-touch pad is very pleasant, and its individual buttons also offer no reason for complaint. Overall then, the Samsung 550P7C is great to use.
As expected, the 17.3-inch screen is of the TN variety, with all its inherent disadvantages. However, it’s also better than average in quite a few regards. First off, rather than the 1,366 x 768 pixels still found on some 17-inch laptops, the Series 5 550P7C sports a nicer 1,600 x 900 resolution, even if we would have preferred Full HD.
Backlighting is also superbly even, with virtually no sign of bleed. Meanwhile blacks are fairly dark, and we’re big fans of the screen’s anti-reflective matt finish. However, viewing angles are at best average, with contrast shift from the sides as well as vertically. The deep blacks also come at the cost of dark detailing, meaning you may miss detail in gloomy movies and games.
Did Samsung make a secret deal with Dr Dre’s Beats? The up-facing JBL speakers and subwoofer on this Series 5 550P7C laptop don’t just manage loud volumes and a credible amount of bass, they do so at the cost of high end and mid-range.
Explosions and bass-heavy tracks will come across with far more punch than the average large laptop, but forget about subtle detailing with any presence or clarity, where it’s present at all. If that’s the way your ears like to roll, the 550P7C rocks. Us, we’ll stick to a decent set of headphones.