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Samsung Series 7 Chronos 700Z5A review

Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score


User Score


  • Matt, high-rez screen
  • Solid brushed metal chassis
  • Powerful and fairly quiet
  • ExpressCache SSD
  • Cheaper than rivals


  • No Blu-ray option
  • No eSATA

Review Price £946.80

Key Features: Brushed metal unibody-like chassis; 15.6in 1600 x 900 matt display; Core i5-i7, up to 8GB RAM; 8GB SSD with 750GB HDD; Radeon HD 6750M 1GB graphics

Manufacturer: Samsung

We’ve been awaiting Samsung’s metallic Series 7 Chronos laptops eagerly since we first previewed them. They’re beautifully designed, relatively slim slabs of aluminium with matt, higher-than-usual resolution screens surrounded by the thinnest of bezels. The frosted glass touchpads and backlit keyboards are classy additions too.

The Samsung Series 7 laptops are also stuffed to the brim with connectivity and performance, with innovations like the SSD/HDD hybrid storage of particular interest. The only thing they’re lacking is any obvious link to their mythological namesake, as they don’t seem to hold any particular affinities with time that we’ve discovered.

Are the Series 7’s worthy rivals to the likes of the Dell XPS 15z and the 15in Apple MacBook Pro, though? In our review, we look at the 15.4in 700Z5A to find out.

Let’s start off with its design. Unlike the black finish of the Samsung Series 9, the company’s Series 7 range sports a subdued grey finish that shows off its aluminium finish’s brushed pattern to better effect. It also makes unsightly fingerprints far less visible, less so than with Apple's MacBook Air. Aside from the raised Samsung logo the 700Z5A is smooth, with nicely rounded edges on the lid. However, Apple-esque sharp edges rear their pointy heads when you open the laptop up.

The screen bezel is aluminium, where many metal-clad rivals use plastic here. It’s also incredibly thin, a mere 7mm at the sides. That’s even slimmer than the Dell XPS 14z, which squeezed a 14in screen into a "13in chassis". The 7’s subtly integrated but sturdy hinge is also metal, as is the keyboard surround.

Oddly, the wrist rest is actually plastic, which Samsung claims to have used for the same reasons Dell choose magnesium rather than aluminium on its XPS z: it’s softer and warmer, and keeps the weight down. However, despite looking like the metal it does put a small dent in the otherwise premium feel.

Build quality is very good - if not quite on a level with the XPS 15z or MacBook Pro, as there is just the slightest hint of give and creak when pressing down on some parts of the panels. However, it still feels like it’ll weather some rough handling without injury. Unsurprisingly, the plastic palm rest feels like one of the least sturdy areas, but it’s also one of the least likely to get damaged. Hinge action, meanwhile, is reassuringly solid.

While not the most extensive we’ve seen, connectivity nevertheless covers all the bases and is very innovative. For example, as the Series 7’s slim profile doesn’t allow for a full-size VGA port, Samsung has converted this unsightly port to something that resembles micro HDMI, and provided the adapter in the box. This is an elegant way to get around the issue, and we don’t think anyone would complain about never seeing one of the old-school VGA connectors on a laptop again if they’re offered this as an alternative.

The Gigabit Ethernet port has also seen modification due to slimness. As with the ports on the Series 9, you’ll need to open a flap that partially covers it when not in use – an ingenious solution, though under rare circumstances it could prove a potential snagging, or even breakage, point.

This aside we have a regular HDMI port, twin USB 3.0 ports and a combined headphone/microphone jack on the left, an SDXC card reader at the front and the slot-loading DVD rewriter and USB 2.0 port on the laptop’s right side. Wireless bases are covered with Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 3.0. Overall then there’s everything you would need in a high-end portable PC, though if we’re being picky we would have liked eSATA and separate audio in- and outputs too.

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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.


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".


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...


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.

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

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...


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.


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 ?


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!


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.


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

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


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!


November 16, 2011, 8:30 pm

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


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.



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.


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?!


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!


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.


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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