Samsung Series 5 Ultra Review

May 3, 2012
By Jonathan Cheah


At A Glance:

 
RRP: RM 2,999
Local Distributor: Samsung Malaysia
 
+ Lots of ports
+ Lots of storage
-  Thick and heavy for an ultrabook
- Battery is not removable.
 
03 May 2012 - The Samsung Series 5 Ultra is the Korean giant’s first Ultrabook, but not the first of the Series line of notebooks. There was an earlier Series 9 device before the advent of the ultrabook. There are two versions of the Samsung Series 5 Ultra, one with a 13.3-inch and one with a 14-inch screen.
 


Many reviewers complain about the size and weight of this device. It is certainly heavier and thicker than most of the ultrabooks we have seen. The thickness may be to accommodate the DVD-RW drive which most other ultrabooks do without.


Exterior


The Series 5 Ultra has a brushed-metal finish for the cover and around the keyboard. The bottom of the notebook is the same gray colour but is warmer to the touch so it is therefore made out of a different material, probably plastic. A webcam sits at the top of the screen in its usual place.


The power button is on the top right of the keyboard. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the left side and a USB 2.0 port on the right. The power and the Ethernet jacks are on the left side of the device, along with VGA and HDMI ports and a headphone jack. The USB 3.0 ports on the right are marked SS.

 


On the right of the device is something you do not see in many ultrabooks. A whole DVD-RW tray fits into the ultrabook there, and there is one reason for the additional weight and size of the device.


Hardware & Software


Our review unit drives Windows 7 Home with the Core i5-2467M running at 1.6 GHz. This is the same setup as the HP Folio 13 that we looked at last month. 


The Series 5 Ultra has 6GBs of DDR3 RAM inside and a 1TB Samsung HDD running off a SanDisk iSSD P4 16GB inside. Those are pretty serious specs, a lot better than most of its ultrabook rivals, and the HDD is the second reason for the added weight of the device. Most other ultrabooks have lighter SSD drives within.


It uses an AMD Radeon HD7550M graphics card, but apparently the graphics performance is not as good as that of its rivals, and the various benchmark tests have reported back with lower fps rates for this Samsung Series 5 Ultra.


The keyboard has large keys, but lacks tactile feedback. It takes some getting used to, but the keyboard works as it should. Backlighting would have been nice, but that feature is missing from the Samsung Series 5 Ultra.


Editor's Opinion


I would not say that this is an ultrabook. I opine that it is halfway between the super-thin ultrabooks that we have seen in recent times and the regular notebooks of before. However, with super thin ultrabooks you do not get as much storage, not yet anyway, and definitely not a built-in DVD tray. If you need those two qualities in abundance for your style of usage, then the 5 Ultra is worthy of some consideration.


Conclusion: Not for high-performance gaming, but comes with storage and DVD drive.



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