As already mentioned, this Series 5 has an AMD processor at its heart. Specifically, you’ll get a dual-core A6-4455M which runs at 2.1GHz, along with AMD graphics.
Unfortunately, as we already saw with the HP Envy 6-1006ea which uses the same AMD chipset, the processor part of this equation isn’t the strongest on the performance front and you’ll find that even an Intel Core i3 outperforms it regularly. Of course, you are paying less, and it’s important to remember that the A6-4455M is still good enough for daily performance and productivity.
Samsung also generously backs this CPU with 6GB of RAM rather than the usual 4GB. For storage, meanwhile, the Series 5 535U3C-A01 relies on a plain old 500GB, 5200rpm hard drive rather than one that enjoys some hybrid SSD love. This is probably the most limiting factor where everyday performance is concerned. The good news is that, unlike your average Ultrabook, this ultraportable is upgradeable. A simple flap at the bottom gives access to the RAM and hard drive, so it’s easy to swap in a pure SSD on the cheap.
On the graphics side of things there’s an integrated AMD Radeon HD 7500G, which no longer walks all over Intel’s integrated efforts as it used to. In fact we found it to win marginally in only a few cases over the HD 4000 you’ll find in Intel’s third-gen chips, meaning it’s just as ill-suited to ‘proper’ 3D gaming.
TrackMania Nations Forever (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
Our test model comes with Windows 7, and most of the models you’ll find for sale at the moment are likely to offer the same OS. To be honest that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Windows 8 loses a lot of its appeal without a touch screen.
So far, the Samsung Series 5 535U3C-A01’s specs are completely identical to those of the 15.6-inch HP Envy 6-1006ea, which is harder to find but can be had for as little as £400 online.
Unfortunately, the Series 5 535U3C doesn’t match the Envy 6-1006ea’s battery life, but then it’s smaller, thinner and lighter so there’s less room for a battery. This Samsung Series 5 ‘only’ lasted five hours and 20 minutes. While that’s not terrible by any means, it does leave price as the Series 5 535U3C-A01’s only advantage over similar Intel models.
(40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity)
You can find the Samsung Series 5 535U3C-A01 for around £470 online. Frankly, Samsung is its own worst enemy here, as you can get a similar 13-inch Series 5 with an Intel Core i5 processor, same RAM and hybrid SSD hard drive for only £100 more. Still, if you really can’t afford the extra this is a decent buy if you’re after this kind of device.
On the other hand, if you’re after a basic laptop with a 12-14-inch screen, it’s also worth considering an affordable Windows 8 device with touch, like the Asus VivoBook. Sure it might not be as slim and the screen isn’t as good, but it offers better performance and Win 8 goodness.
The 13-inch Samsung Series 5 535U3C-A01 is a great little Ultrabook competitor that manages to keep its price low thanks to AMD innards. It’s slim, sleek, light and very well-built. It offers a great user experience and its screen is a cut above most budget laptops. However, mediocre performance and average battery life mean you may be better off looking at pricier alternatives, especially those offering Windows 8 and touch.