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Samsung Series 7 Chronos - Speakers, Performance, Gaming and Battery Life

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Samsung Series 7 Chronos – Internal Speakers and Camera

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos has decent multimedia credentials. It offers plenty of power for a "style" laptop, and has branded speakers.

On the underside of the Chronos you'll find a pair of grilles for the 4W-power JBL speakers. They're set to extreme edges of the laptop, to ensure you don't cover the grilles entirely when resting the laptop on your legs.

The speakers' output is geared to compensate for the underside mounting too. Flip the laptop over and the sound is a bit treble-heavy, but this is to compensate for the amount of high-end sound that never makes it to your ears.

In a standard listening position, the sound is pretty well-balanced and detailed. Samsung claims to offer a "virtual subwoofer", which appears to amount to using the Series 7 Chronos's body cavity as a bass booster. It works reasonably well, giving the sound some body, but the Chronos still isn't quite up there with the best, and loudest, laptops.

Continuing with periphery features, there's a webcam and microphone mounted into the Series 7 Chronos's screen surround. It features a 720p sensor.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos – Windows 8 and Performance

While the high-end Intel Ivy Bridge CPU will attract the most attention from the tech crowd, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos's SSD storage is the key to its day-to-day performance.

It's this, alongside software optimisation that enables the quick start-up and recovery from sleep. In our real-world tests the Series 7 Chronos averaged a cold start-up in 35-40 seconds and recovery from Sleep in five seconds. This is a little slower than Samsung's claims, but recovering from a quick standby tap on the power button does take under two seconds. Most real-life cases will be a wee bit slower.

Any configuration of the Samsung Series 7 Chronos should be able to cope with any application you can throw at it. What's particularly worth lodging in your cerebellum is that this laptop uses a quad-core variant of Ivy Bridge, where most competitors use the dual-core type.

It's something that highlights the slightly odd positioning of the Chronos. It's concerned with the same things as super-thin Ultrabooks but has a load more power on tap - with a little extra chunkiness and weight being the cost.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos - Gaming, Heat and Noise

Aside from offering excellent productivity performance, the 2013 Samsung Series 7 Chronos also has a decent graphics card. It uses the ATI Radeon HD 8800M chipset, with 2GB of video RAM.

This is a brand new chipset for 2013, its hardware having only been revealed in leak form in late 2012. Its performance is admirable, especially in a laptop that is not an ostensibly gaming-obsessed device.

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos aced our classic STALKER benchmark, coming out with a more-than-respectable 67.7fps. Last year's version scraped by with just 52.2fps.

This kind of performance puts it in competition with some of last year's less OTT gaming laptops, such as the Alienware M14, and means it pastes any Macbook Pro that doesn't have dedicated graphics - the starting price for one of those machines being a cool £1500.

When put under significant strain, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos naturally gets a little hot, but this is largely kept to the plastic underside of the laptop. One benefit of using plastic is that it doesn't dole out the heat of the device's internals as quickly as metal. The main underside heat outlet is in the middle of the laptop's bottom, directing the fan's warm air output between your legs rather than onto them.

There's also a secondary air outlet for the fan. The entire length of the inner part of the Series 7 Chronos's hinge acts as ventilation, with an open grille. This is covered when the laptop's closed too, so there's no dust collection issues.

Test results:

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat: 67.7fps

PCMark 07: 3437

Entertainment: 3300

Samsung Series 7 Chronos – Battery Life

Power, practicality and good looks are all carefully considered in the Series 7 Chronos. One of the most important practical considerations with any laptop is battery life, and once again the Samsung comes up with the goods.

Samsung claims the Series 7 Chronos will last for up to 11 hours, but we found that will without disabling the dedicated graphics card, performance was a little more ordinary. In the PowerMark benchmark, designed to simulate everyday usage, the battery lasted for an impressive seven hours and forty-seven minutes. That's with brightness set at 40 per cent - a usable but hardly dazzling level.

To get closer to Samsung's states figures you'll need to ensure that the dedicated graphics card won't cut in, dim the screen brightness a little more and only partake in the least strenuous of tasks.

When putting the pedal to the metal, the battery life naturally dwindles away quickly. After 45 minutes of gaming, the battery status fell from 100 per cent to 75.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos – Value

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a premium laptop in every sense. Some might feel that the £1,199 price point is steep but the components are excellent with the specs and performance make a mockery of some pricier laptops and Ultrabooks. A similarly priced Macbook Pro will set you back well over £1,500 and won't give you anywhere near the gaming performance of the Chronos while the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon trumps the Series 7 Chronos in terms of performance we much prefer the aluminum finish of the latter.


The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a worthy update to last year’s recommended model. It keeps the top-notch construction, and brings every other aspect of the laptop right into 2013. It has a great touchscreen, a high-quality display, powerful innards and impressive battery life given the power on tap. It’s not a laptop to buy if you want something to take around with you day-in, day-out as it’s just too heavy. But as a semi-portable desktop-replacer, it’s top-notch.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

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


April 10, 2013, 2:01 pm

great review!! thanks....hope samsung updates it with haswell+pure ssd before september-october because thats when i intend to buy this beast!!!


April 10, 2013, 2:16 pm

How is this "not light"? It's a quad core CPU laptop with high end graphics and a touch screen, that kind of weight is impressively low.

Finding a con is not mandatory.


April 10, 2013, 2:26 pm

why doesn't it have display-port? increasing numbers of people use hi-res screens, and while hdmi can technically do 2560x1600 they are limited at imput and output to 1080p.
It kills me having a nice dell 27" monitor I can't use with my laptop, so certainly a requirement for the future.

Byron Hinson

April 10, 2013, 2:42 pm

Been looking at the i5 version - has slightly slower graphics chip too though. Still great laptop


April 10, 2013, 4:07 pm

This! It won't stop me buying it but it is a very VERY valid point. Why not use display port and bundle a VGA adapter?


April 10, 2013, 4:09 pm

Andy, any idea who's going to be stocking it?

Yiannis Demetriou

April 10, 2013, 5:51 pm

Where can we get this i7 for 1199 pounds? I searched everywhere. All I can find is the i5 version!

Niko Keček

April 11, 2013, 6:47 am

You can use a VGA cable to get those resolutions, the quality will be slightly inferior compared to a digital connection though


April 11, 2013, 11:42 am

no you can't you need dual-link dvi or display port or an uprated version of hdmi. While theoretically vga's analogue can stretch out in reality modern monitors aren't looking for it and windows doesn't want to output it, and additionally it would look shockingly bad which defeats the point of investing in high-end monitors and computers for graphics work.

Paul W Waby

April 11, 2013, 2:25 pm

Nowhere seems to be stocking this laptop at the moment, PC-world have a sales holder on the website but just give out of stock. trawled everywhere, no indication when it might arrive

David Gray

April 11, 2013, 4:46 pm

i5 variant was on sale in PC world for ages at £899, now it has gone back up to £999 I'm pissed off that I didn't buy it before. Will probably wait till it goes back down again. 8850m looks like similar silicon to 8870m but clocked lower, which tbh appeals to me cos it just means a bit less heat and it'll still be a massive step up from my current Nvidia 425m

Byron Hinson

April 11, 2013, 6:43 pm

If it helps anyone - Currys told me today that the i7 version is due to be a John Lewis exclusive now.


April 11, 2013, 9:37 pm

It's likely that we're just a bit too early at this point. I expect it'll be widely available through the usual suspects within weeks.

Samsung gave us a nice and early review sample this time.

John Chen

April 12, 2013, 9:48 am

the version on sale at john lewis does not have a touch screen.

John Chen

April 12, 2013, 9:57 am

in a few weeks we might as well wait for the haswell cpu update from intel.


April 12, 2013, 1:31 pm

Cheers Andy.

John Chen - it'll take 6 months (at least) for those to work there way in to top end laptops like Alienware. Probably won't see them in the main stream for at least 9 months (which will be in time for CES) and then another 3 months to market (like this Samsung has been). It's not too bad really - the performance differences won't be that big either.


April 12, 2013, 4:11 pm

Biggest problem with this machine is Windows 8! I would much rather have a MacBook Pro and OS X for "serious" work. Not many will buy this just as a gaming laptop, its market is really for users who will be using it for pro or semi-pro applications. Both better served in many cases by Apple and OS X. At least with the MacBook Pro, which is better built, you can always run Windows if you must.


April 12, 2013, 5:45 pm

It's on the PCW website but 'out of stock' - maybe they're expecting supply?


Byron Hinson

April 14, 2013, 12:56 pm

I have the i5 version and just be warned as it wasn't mentioned in this review - the laptop comes with Intel's Centrino 6235 wi-fi which is having major issues for many users. I wondered why my laptop was disconnecting from wi-fi every 30/40 minutes, but it turns out its been a known issue with the intel drivers/hardware for sometime. Just do a search on it for thousands of users of not just this laptop, but others that have the same issue.

One Tech Traveller

April 15, 2013, 9:04 pm

unfortunately I ended up with the 770 model rather than the 780 version with touchscreen. John Lewis have a pretty generous policy so I took the time to try out the laptop (using right now!) before I had it in later this week. Overall? A very lovely laptop - just waiting for the touchscreen version impatiently!

Matt Bickell

April 15, 2013, 10:52 pm

Pretty sure this doesn't have a hybrid drive - think this review is wrong!

Stephen Hinton

April 16, 2013, 3:18 am

This laptop does not has a 24gb ssd cache/hybrid drive as you state. I physically pulled apart the laptop when putting in an ssd and can confirm that the original drive is a samsung st1000LM024.

Byron Hinson

April 16, 2013, 5:12 am

Forgot to also mention - you say the laptop comes with a hybrid drive - the i5 version doesn't and I don't believe the i7 one does either. It's just a plain 1tb drive.


April 16, 2013, 6:24 am

Yup, 1TB 5400 rpm SATA2 in the US at least.

Although with SSDs dropping in price so fast, in 2-3 years one can get a 1TB SSD to put into this laptop for $250-300 as Crucial M500 960GB is now $600 USD.


April 18, 2013, 5:33 am

well the 2012 model has the hybrid drive...i bought it with 1 tb 2 weeks ago but i replaced it with intel 520 and its great :)

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