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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars W7 almost ultra book with a hybrid drive at a great price, 29 April 2013
By 
Mike L (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Samsung Series 5 530U3C 13.3-inch Notebook (Intel Core i5 3317U 1.7GHz Processor, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Windows 7 Professional) (Personal Computers)
I wanted a 13.3" ultrabook with Windows 7, and this fitted the bill.

First of all the hybrid drive really does work and the computer boots in under five seconds (once you have enabled "fast boot"). Samsung have built their own hybrid by placing 6GB of dedicated RAM in parallel with a conventional 500 GB drive, which is not partitioned into useless "program" and "data" partitions. The fast boot is important because it means one minds much less if your computer shuts down, and this extends the effective battery life.

Looks:

Aluminium case looks great. Weight of 1.5kg is good although not as light as a real ultrabook. The screen (1366 x 768) is bright and has a matte, non-reflective finish (unlike the Acer Aspire S3, Asus Zenbook UX31 or Dell XPS13) so is easy to use outdoors. However, the contrast ratio is not great; if you want something especially for watching films there are other choices which may suit you better.

Construction

The aluminium top / fibreglass bottom is strong and steady but the hinge has a bit of flex and does not fold back as far as some competitors. I am tall and found myself wanting to fold it back a bit further than it could go.
All the ports are very firm; I actually struggled to unplug the network cable. This firmness is of a piece with the keyboard and a different approach to Asus, who keep everything much looser.

Connectivity:

Very good, much better than most ultrabooks. 1 x USB3, 2 x USB2. There is an HDMI port but no VGA port (because of height). Samsung don't supply an HDMI/VGA adaptor cable as they did with the earlier 530U3B. The LAN port folds out, be careful with this as rough handling could break it.

Keyboard:

The travel is not deep but it requires a firm pressure. Once you get used to it it's really very good, even the small arrow keys, although the space bar feels a little odd when pressed at the left hand end.

Touchpad:
Large, with two separate buttons for left and right click. Excellent

Wireless Adaptor

The adaptor is the 6235 offering Bluetooth 4. Intel have had problems with this adaptor - read the forums on the Intel website. If you have problems, first disable power saving (in Device Manager), and don't update the drivers unless you need to. I don't use Wireless N myself and have had no problems so far.

Processor / Graphics:
i5-3317M: the "3" tells you that this is a third generation "Ivy Bridge" processor. Being an i5 it offers a turbo mode. It is a dual core ULV processor, an excellent choice, fast whilst only consuming 17W, although not much faster in real life than an i3. The processor also provides the integrated graphics, Intel HD Graphics 4000, which offers DirectX 11.

Benchmarks:
3D Mark Vantage: 8327
3D Mark 06: 2968
Cinebench R10 64 bit: 4569 (single thread) / 9247 (multi thread)
Cinebench R11.5 64 bit: 2.4 (multi-thread)

What do all these numbers mean? For an ultrabook it's a decent processor, and the graphics will be fine. This is a better choice than the model with the i3-3217U.

Windows Experience Index: 5.1 (limited by Graphics Card)

Noise:
Almost inaudible in normal use, increasing just a fraction under load.

Temperature:
It runs cool under normal use, and the temperature on the bottom of the case barely rises under load.

Battery Life:
The battery has a capacity of 46 Wh and under normal use you should get 6 hours. The battery can't be removed by the user, but Samsung guarantee 1500 charging cycles.

Summary: this is an excellent notebook, a bit expensive at list price but shop around and you can get a bargain. Only worries about the wireless card prevent it from getting 5 stars.
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