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Samsung Series 7 Chronos 700Z5A – Performance, Battery, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Samsung’s Chronos certainly doesn't slow down when it comes to specs. Though a Core i5 model is available, our 700Z5A-S01UK version of the beast rocked a quad-core Intel Core i7-2675QM processor, which supports up to eight virtual cores and turbo clocks from its default 2.2 to 3.1GHz. In other words, this mobile powerhouse will run anything you’d care to throw at it, especially as it’s supported by a whopping 8GB of RAM.

700Z5A

Graphics performance is also nothing to sniff at, since in addition to the usual Intel integrated solution, there’s a discrete Radeon HD6750M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated RAM. While not a member of the League of Extraordinary Gamingcards (like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M found in the Medion Erazer X6831), it nonetheless manages respectable results even in somewhat demanding titles. This is demonstrated by a smooth 39.2fps average in Stalker Call of Pripyat at the screen’s native 1,600 x 900 resolution, albeit at medium detail.

700Z5A

Last but not least on the specs list is the Series 7’s storage, and here we have yet another powerful solution. Rather than forcing you to choose between a speedy-but-low-capacity SSD or a slow-but-roomy moving parts hard drive, Samsung tries to give you the best of both worlds with Diskeeper’s ExpressCache system.

This pairs an 8GB SSD with the generous 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive. Your most frequently used files will be cached on the SSD to speed them up, while the traditional drive means you still have plenty of storage. A significant advantage of this system over hybrid hard drives is that you can still (in theory) replace the hard drive with a larger model without losing the SSD.

In practice, ExpressCache results in faster boot times and quicker loading for most of your applications. Samsung’s claims of 20 seconds boot hold up nicely, as our 700Z5A-S01UK took just under 21 seconds to get to a working Windows desktop from a cold start. That’s about a third faster than your average hard drive-only laptop. Resuming from stand-by, meanwhile, took under three seconds.

The only real dent in the Samsung’s spec armour is the lack of a Blu-ray drive, which is an unfortunate but not unusual omission, as it’s shared by both the Dell XPS 15z and Apple MacBook Pro 15in.

700Z5A

Battery life is top of its class, with the non-removable battery in the 700Z5A managing over seven and a half hours before giving up the ghost in our light battery test (productivity at 40 percent screen brightness and with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled) – more than adequate to power you through a day of light use. It’s worth noting that, like many laptops these days, Samsung incorporates battery conditioning – which it calls Samsung Power Plus – to ensure your battery will last for years. The claimed figure is 80 percent of original capacity for up to 1,500 charges.

Finally we get to value, and here the sub-£950 700Z5A also kicks some serious laptop rear ends. For example, a similarly-configured 15in MacBook Pro will set you back a whopping £1830. And that’s without the ExpressCache SSD system, with a lower screen resolution, no matt screen finish and no number pad. Only in style and build does the MacBook Pro win out, and even here the Samsung is lighter. In other words, there’s little justification for the extra £880, no matter how much you might prefer OSX (which can also be installed on a regular PC laptop, after all, though you would be entering a bit of a grey zone).

A more relevant Windows rival is the Dell XPS 15z, and here it’s a less clear-cut win for Samsung. Dell will charge you £100 more for a machine with a slower dual core Core i5 processor, less memory and no ExpressCache, but it will give you a Full HD screen. However, the 700Z5A also offers superior ergonomics in a lighter package that remains quieter under load, so it gets our vote all the way.

This is not to say you can’t get a more powerful laptop for the money, as the award-winning Medion Erazer X6831 goes to show. However, in its field the Series 7 700Z5A has few rivals.

Verdict

Samsung’s sleek, metal-clad 15.6in Chronos laptop is the most impressive MacBook Pro rival we’ve yet seen, offering a lighter machine with better specs for nearly half the price - even if it’s not quite as attractive or well-built. A quad-core Core i7 CPU, innovative SSD and HDD hybrid storage, discrete gaming-capable graphics and a matt, high resolution screen are but some of the highlights of this portable powerhouse. And with good ergonomics and battery life thrown in, we have no hesitation in giving it our wholehearted recommendation.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Value 10

Red FX

November 11, 2011, 4:28 pm

Great review. I was seriously contemplating getting this after reading up on it and this review certainly backs up it's hype.

Where did you see it at £946.80? I can't seem to find anyone in the UK having it in stock.

Gk.pm

November 11, 2011, 6:32 pm

Good stuff, seems like good value for the cost.

Just shame Samsung didn't include dual band Wifi (5Ghz) on it, my 2.4Ghz band is way too crowded with gadgets (and neighbours) for serious laptop use.

Btw take care when you order and check if its a grey import, read some comments that the German version is plastic, not aluminium.

ps : slight bug in the review, when you say "with a lower screen resolution, no glossy screen finish and no number pad" think you mean "no matte screen finish".

Craves

November 11, 2011, 6:35 pm

ANyone know if I would be right in thinking that there is a 13/14 in version coming in the near future? I've had a play with this and it looks great, but is a little bit too big...

Red FX I think you can get it from Dabs right now...

TechVegan

November 11, 2011, 8:59 pm

@Red FX:
Thanks, glad you liked it :)

As to the price, I believe it was at Dabs as @Craves mentions. PCWorld also sell it but don't have stock, though they do sell the cheaper model.

Gk.pm:
Thanks for pointing that out - fixed as soon as cache refreshes.

@Craves:
You are indeed right, there should be a smaller model further down the road. At the moment it's only been confirmed for the US though...

interestedineverything

November 12, 2011, 2:47 am

It appears Trusted Reviews are running two reports on essentially the same item.

http://www.trustedreviews.com/samsung-series-7-700z-700z3a_Laptop_comments - also refers and contains comment.

I have just posted there that the Dixon Group (Dixons Currys and PC World) appear to be advertising all three models at an alleged £200 discount. Unfortunately their previous, alleged, pricing period seems to predate the model's release date. I await their reply to my enquiry which I will post in both these reviews.

Cliff

November 12, 2011, 3:31 pm

Thanks for your comment. This was an oversight by us. Normally we run a hands-on, or first look review and then update it and republish with a full review when we have taken the time to fully review the product. In this case that didn't happen and can see how this might be confusing. On the plus side, just this time, you can see our first impressions AND the full review. :/

Luan Bach

November 12, 2011, 8:10 pm

Cliff, I prefer to have separate previews and reviews articles.

p.s. Why can't we post Reply to replies ?

IWONDER

November 12, 2011, 10:09 pm

The introduction of these products has been weird to say the least. The Samsung website did say that the i-7 was in stock at PCWorld and Currys but clicking to go to the store brought up the i-5. The Currys assistant said they had only ever had the i-5. The Samsung website now says that Dabs have the i-7 but Dabs say it is 'ordered upon request'. Ringing Samsung, I was told that a release date was unknown, as were specs. for the various models, even after they (the telephone contact at Samsung) had personally interrogated their sales and marketing staff on the subject!
I agree with your findings re. full price dates at Currys/PC World. What a mess! It is like a deliberately frustrating game to turn you off the brand!

Disgrace

November 14, 2011, 10:27 am

Matt screen? At last!

I don't know about others, but glossy screens are a genuine deal-breaker for me. I simply cannot use them, and matt screens really need to be more commonplace. I won't be buying this laptop for I have no need, but I'm glad to see some matt out there.

PGrGr

November 14, 2011, 3:05 pm

Having recently bought a MBP, I need to find ways to justify the massive price which I paid!

Does anyone know what the realistic lifespan of this kind of laptop is?

If my experience of desktop computers is anything to go by, the Mac will last a lot longer than the cheaper PC based equivalent, mainly due to Windows XP slowing down over time. However, is that an issue which has been solved with Windows 7 and later versions?

Glyn Martin

November 14, 2011, 6:03 pm

This sounds like the laptop I have been looking for. I am after a laptop rather than a desktop that is powerfull enough to cope with video editing 1080P/50p footage. Can anyone tell me if this is likely to be able to cope with this task? Would I have to get the more extensive i7 version?

Many Thanks
Glyn

Brian Carter

November 15, 2011, 2:37 pm

It's a good thing that the two reports are separate because then you know whether the comments are for the first report or the second. It's confusing to have the report change but not know which report the comments are for.

But then again, this is the next-gen TR so deaf ears will be found :(

Arctic Fox

November 15, 2011, 6:03 pm

@Bluepork

I've had three rigs running WP7 at home now since the os was first released and none of them (two on conventional hard drives and one on an SSD, the two former get defragged once a week and the latter gets regularly "trimmed" with Intel's "tool box") show any sign of slowing down. First time I have never had to do biannual clean installs since and including Win95. Oh, and I have never had a BSOD on any of them either.

Red FX

November 16, 2011, 2:39 pm

I am also looking to get this laptop for video editing. The i7 version should make editing HD content very smooth. What editing suite are you looking to use?

Red FX

November 16, 2011, 2:41 pm

Cheers for letting me know where it's available. There is a 14" version that packs in a 15" screen with the same i7 spec. I am not sure if it's coming to the UK soon though. The 15.6" isn't that big as it's pretty slim. The only annoying this is the off-centre trackpad!

neilson

November 16, 2011, 8:30 pm

Looks great but cant find anyone with stock - any one else find a supplier?

interestedineverything

November 18, 2011, 1:34 am

I have received a reply from KNOWHOW in the Dixon Group concerning my enquiry as to their pricing policy. (See above).

It reads "I have checked our systems and find that the laptop was entered into our price list first on 17/9/2011.
I believe that it would have been available for order from that point, even though we did not have stock of the item".

So the answer is, the Dixon Group could not have sold any during the period they allege the higher price existed.

That in my view, is illegal and I have forwarded a complaint to the BBC Watchdog series. Anyone actually induced by the advert perhaps ought to seek recompense.

Jlewis.co.uk have the i5 model in stock in their Nottm branch at £899 with a three year warranty. And very nice it is too.
The i7 spec'd item is available via their website (only) at £999. Pricing appears solid and, above all, genuine.

Enjoy.

BloodyMary

November 26, 2011, 6:43 pm

i bought it from PCWorld almost 4 weeks ago and the model is i5 7005ZA. My review: a FAB laptop. Beautiful, fantastic build quality, no noise at all, am on Samsung Eco mode and it gives me like 8+ hrs battery life no problem (altho there is a bug in the indicator - will give funny readings when you hover your mouse over the batt icon in system tray - like 200 hrs remaining!! on subsequent hovers, you get the real batt life). The one main disappointment I've had is that there is no keyboard backlights. According to the manuals the A models have no backlight while the B models do but I was led to believe that this series had backlighting, without exception... anyway other than that, the mousepad has been tricky, required a lot of finetuning before I'm now happy with the way it performs. The screen is amazig, it resumes from sleep in under 3 secs.

StuartH

December 13, 2011, 5:06 am

The review shows a backlit keyboard - but Samsung's own website does not say (or picture) that the keyboard is backlit. None of the retailer sites show a backlit keyboard. Did Samsung send a special 'prototype' version for review?!

StuartH

December 13, 2011, 5:32 am

I downloaded loaded the manual from Samsung's site and it says the opposite to a previous comment - the A models have backlighting, and the B models don't. It's on the page that explain the function buttons for varing the level of is an A model, so has backlighting. The B models seem to be the US ones. But I just have this feeling that if it did have backlighting Samsung would have featured it more prominently on their website!

TechVegan

February 27, 2012, 10:12 pm

Thanks for all the comments :)
Regarding the backlighting, I was given to understand that the A models had it, as per my review. @StuartH: the version we reviewed was not a prototype but supposedly the shipping model. I will try to find out further details.

As to stock, availability does seem oddly patchy but, just in case JL were to run out, it can still be found elsewhere, for example: http://www.stuff-uk.net/p-1012...

@Glyn Martin: either one should do relatively well, but the i7 will be faster at it and is probably the better choice if you can easily afford the difference.

kiwioh

July 30, 2012, 6:08 am

can anyone advise me
I am a Landscape architecture student and will be heavily using this laptop for 3D works such as Auto CAD and Sketchup and Archicad, I am debating between this (highest spec) and a 15" Macbook pro quad core 1gb now the samsung inc 3 b2b warranty and windows 8 will is around£1000 where as the equivelent mac with 3 year apple care @ cheapest I can find will be around £1500

any advice ? thanks

Omar Hamed

March 1, 2013, 9:40 pm

i advice u t buy this device... it's really amazing...

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