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Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A - Performance, Battery, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Unlike manufacturers offering customisable configurations like Dell, Lenovo and (in the US) HP, with Samsung you have to choose a pre-built model. Our specific Series 3 is the NP300E5A, which decides its chassis and screen, while the A01DX affix means our £399.99 configuration has a 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i3-2330M CPU at its heart. This processor doesn’t support the hyper-threading or turbo frequency of its more expensive Core i5 and i7 siblings, but should still cope with daily work and (graphically undemanding) play. It’s backed by 4GB of RAM which is plenty for Windows 7 Home Premium to get along with, and a fairly generous yet slow 500GB, 5,200rpm hard drive.

Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A

With Intel’s integrated 3000HD graphics taking care of your gaming needs, you’ll need to limit yourself to older or undemanding titles at medium resolutions or detail settings. At 720p and on medium detail, the NP300E5A managed only 43.6fps in TrackMania Nations Forever, while Stalker: Call of Pripyat (which is more indicative of the requirements of modern games) staggered along with an unplayable 16.6fps average. It’s worth noting that even when under load while running gaming benchmarks, the NP300E5A stayed relatively quiet.

Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A

Battery life is the last ingredient for Samsung’s affordable Series 3, and matches the company’s quoted five and a half hour figure exactly. Its removable 4,400mAh/48Wh unit managed five hours and 31 minutes with screen brightness at 40 percent and wireless radios turned off, though this will obviously vary depending on usage.

Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A

Finally we come to value, and here the 15.6in NP300E5A doesn’t fare nearly as well as Samsung’s 17.3in RV720. This is simply because there is no shortage of 15in laptops offering similar specifications to the Series 3 around the £400 mark, and the NP300E5A suffers from a few more flaws than its larger brother.

One alternative we reviewed recently is the £430 Acer Aspire 5750, which, despite sharing a similarly mediocre screen, at least offers USB 3.0. On the down-side though, it doesn’t last as long away from a socket.

Verdict

In terms of productivity, Samsung’s Series 3 NP300E5A is a great budget laptop, thanks to its low price, excellent usability, reasonable specifications and rugged lid. Unfortunately its potential as an entertainment laptop is hindered by its sub-par 15.6in screen, and with plenty of competition, the NP300E5A simply doesn’t stand out enough.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 6
  • Value 8

djon

December 5, 2011, 4:33 pm

Sounds like a bargain but in future could you please give an assessment of a laptop's potential for users of image editing software like Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Gimp?

apollo

December 5, 2011, 6:20 pm

I'd like to see a comparison between this and the Asus EEE Transformer, which won this site's laptop of the year award. Since the Asus is cheaper, better built, much better screen and award winning on top, what's the point of this one? Just the larger screen? Thanks

Keithe6e

December 6, 2011, 1:47 am

Well the Transformer is an Android device, this is a Windows 7 laptop, comparisons would be a little odd.

Steve Church

July 15, 2012, 1:54 pm

I wonder if I'm alone in this. I've been using my new NP300 for a few days now and I seem to have a major problem - the front edge is sharp and, after prolonged use of the touchpad, my outer palms are getting impossibly sore. My previous laptops have had a softer, rounded front edge and it's never been a problem. I can't believe the ergonomics guys didn't test this aspect. Maybe I've just got delicate hands (!), but I'm going to have to seriously adjust my hand positions if I'm to carry on without causing lacerations and bruising.

William

October 24, 2013, 6:47 pm

Still a great machine. I don't use heavy applications like any of the adobe suite, but I do regularly use Visual Studio with ease. The screen resolution does leave a bit to desire, but for the price and longevity this machine has provided much more than expected.

antz

January 4, 2014, 10:25 pm

dont have any problems with mine, picture could be a bit better, but this laptop is easy to use and so forth that its only used for internet and word anyways, nothing fancy, so i reckon it was a score when i brought mine over a year ago.

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