on 18 May 2014
If you want a relatively cheap ultrabook with an SSD (solid state drive), then this is a good choice. I've had this for 8-9 months now.
NOTE: If you get this laptop, I would definitely recommend that you uninstall a program called 'IntelliMemory' by Condusiv Technologies. It is a RAM hog; before I uninstalled, RAM usage was typically 80% when nothing was running, now it is 15%.
Thanks to the SSD, this laptop is blazing fast to turn on. Startup times are typically between 7-15 seconds to get to the lock screen, then another 3-5 seconds to log in. Apps load quicker than on non-SSD devices that I've used. In this sense, it makes my Surface RT feel a bit slow :( . It copes well with standard tasks (eg web browsing, Office etc). I haven't tried using Photoshop on this laptop, but if you're going to be photo editing, this laptop probably isn't for you (see Screen below). Resuming from sleep usually takes 1 second. SSDs are the future!
Also, just note that you'll be getting something like 56 GB on the disk. However, this is plenty for me. Also, you can make certain OneDrive folders offline or online-only, which means they'll be stored on the disk or just in the cloud. You shouldn't notice much difference between the two settings unless you don't have an internet connection. So if you need to free up space use online-only folders, but you won't be able to access those when you don't have internet.
The screen is where you compromise for this cheaper ultrabook. Colours aren't very accurate, dynamic range isn't very good, and the resolution could have been a bit better than 1366 x 768 to fit more stuff on. Having said that, this won't be such an issue for a lot of people. It is a matte screen, so is easier to use in a bright environment. But I would say look elsewhere if you're going to be doing photo editing.
Battery life is reasonable. It's not brilliant, but it'll do. I'm not sure exactly how long it lasts, but I can spend a good few hours programming in python and still have some left. The charger does have a power brick, but it's smaller than in previous Samsung laptops. I suppose I might be being a bit unfair, as my Surface RT has such a good battery life.
It's a good looking laptop. It is a bit heavy, but still quite portable. The build quality is not the best; it creaks a bit when picking it up, but what do you expect for this price? I once dropped a folder on the keyboard, causing the '3' key to come off. After looking on the internet, I was able to put it back on, and it works, even though a bit of plastic broke inside. Make of that what you will.
The keyboard is reasonably good. The touchpad is fairly spacious, but not great though. I have it on the fastest setting and it still feels a bit slow. However, I have got used to it after a while. Two finger scrolling works well most of the time, but can be a bit unpredictable when scrolling in multiple directions (ie left and right and up and down). Pinch to zoom kind of works, but it's not very smooth. You can swipe in from the left edge to switch to the most recent app, and swipe in from the right edge to bring up the charms (search, share etc). Swiping in the from the top and bottom edges brings up more options (the same as if you right click in a modern (metro) style app).
This ultrabook is great for normal work like Office, and internetting etc. It turns on really very quickly. You need to uninstall that IntelliMemory bloatware. It's just a few things that lose it the 5th star, such as the screen, and the touchpad. But at this price, for an ultrabook, it's pretty good. I think one question you have to ask yourself is do you want an ultrabook with an Intel Haswell (4th gen) processor, for the jump up in battery life (although the battery life in this isn't bad)?
on 25 January 2013
This is a great product... in the photos.
In reality, I'm sorry, it just looks and feels "cheap".
The first (huge) disappointment was with the SSD size. A 128Gb SSD isn't particularly big, but when I got it home and turned it on, Windows reported "55.8Gb free out of 91.6Gb". What ?! Yup, the backup partition uses up a chunk of the SSD space, leaving just 55Gb for your apps. Bare this in mind, when deciding if to buy this, or the 500Gb hybrid version.
Overall, it works as advertised, comes to life incredibly quickly, but, after using a Sony 13.3" non-Ultrabook laptop (which had a proper Quad-Core i5 processor), I found myself using this Samsung ultrabook reluctantly. The keyboard is useable, but the keys barely press down, and I soon found myself missing a proper laptop keyboard.
Ultrabooks are "cool", but I really regret going down this road. Unless you reeeeeeally need a very, very light laptop, seriously, go for a slightly heavier laptop instead. They're often cheaper, faster, easier to upgrade, and more suitable for long periods of work.