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on 27 November 2012
This laptop replaces my aging Samsung R730. Indeed, it can even use the same charger, which is a bonus. Thanks for that common sense approach Samsung, and other manufacturers (I'm looking at you here, Toshiba) please take note...

First things first, it has the best keyboard I have ever used on a laptop. It also has a nice big touchpad which works well. The only confusion for me was that the DELETE key had moved a few keys to the left, which caused a bit of a puzzle until I got used to it.

The laptop itself is fast, yet remains quiet and doesn't get hot. Photoshop loads large images (40x30 inches @ 300dpi) nearly three times more quickly than it did on the 730, which is why I had to upgrade in the first place, so I am happy about that. Also, USB 3 is a major plus. I bought a 320GB USB3 HDD on Amazon and I can copy files onto the laptop at speeds approaching 100mb/s (slower for smaller files). This wasn't 10X the speed of USB2, but it was fast enough to justify a PC upgrade on that strength alone.

Now, onto the elephant in the room. This laptop comes installed with Windows 8...

What do I think of Windows 8?

Its not as bad a I first thought, and I will eventually get used to it, but when the first thing you install is a utility to give you a START button again, then it shows that something is not quite right. Also, Windows 8 and Chrome don't seem to behave very well together. IE10 flies, but chrome has sever connectivity issues (pages not loading properly etc). There is a thread on the Chrome forums about this issue, so it seems I am not alone. One person has had a similar experience with Firefox on Windows 8. If I was being cynical I would say that this was a deliberate ploy by Microsoft, in the same way that Apple deliberately nobbled iTunes on the PC to encourage people to switch to the Mac. However, I am not cynical, so I won't suggest that.

In truth, the OS doesn't get in the way much, once you get down to actually using the PC in anger. There is a lot of undeserved negative press surrounding Windows 8, but for all its supposed faults, I actually find it fast and stable. If you truly hate Windows 8, there's nothing to stop you downgrading to Windows 7.

Incidently, if you are in to virtual machines, I can confirm that you can run OSX Mountain Lion on this laptop as a VMWare image and it works fine. Do a google and you will find all you need to know. The process is MUCH easier than it was even a year ago.

Wrapping up, a lovely laptop, and you shouldn't be put off by Windows 8. Its nothing to be afraid of!
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This is the top-end version of this model and includes an AMD Radeon graphics processor with its own video RAM. The full complement of 8GB of RAM fitted is not therefore needed to supplement the video memory and the machine is therefore going to be fairly fast. The hard drive capacity has been boosted to a full 1TB. With an i7 quad core processor on board, the laptop is not going to be troubled by any software thrown at it. Although quite well featured, a touch screen is not part of its line-up although Windows 8 almost demands one or a substitute (see below).

The PC is slim when closed and the lid/screen much slimmer than is normal, although not quite to the level of the current MacBooks. The more basic model Samsung 350E7C 17.3-inch Laptop (Black) - (Intel Core i3 3110M 2.4GHz Processor, 6GB RAM, 750GB HDD, DVDSM DL, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8), is not the lowest-specced in the range and shares many of its components but uses internal graphics rather than a dedicated GPU. The 15.6-inch 350V5C range is a smaller version and Samsung 350V5C 15.6-inch Laptop (Silver) - (Intel Core i3 3110M 2.4GHz Processor, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVDSM DL, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8) was reviewed in some detail and is broadly similar other than in dimensions.

The keyboard is an excellent island design and is one of the best used by Samsung. The touch-pad is unduly large but not any larger than on the smaller 350V5C range. However, common to it the touch pad supports relatively few of the touch gestures recognised by Windows 8 and users wishing to better avail themselves will need to consider a peripheral. Currently, only Microsoft and Logitech offer touch gesture devices with varying degrees of support. Only one, Logitech's T650 touch pad offers full gesture support.

Falling within the important under £750 barrier (at Dec 2012) but certainly under £800, it is a moderately high-end laptop that could be used as a desktop replacement for those looking to replace an older PC.

Fully equipped with two each of USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI video output, Ethernet and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth, headphone and microphone sockets and a multi-card reader, it should support most users' needs. The only major thing missing is Blu-ray playback or recording capabilities which would raise the price, but external Blu-ray drives are relatively easy to obtain, some slimline and a good match for this laptop. Audio quality is reasonable but not outstanding and is an area that demands improvement, whether by a Bluetooth audio system, an amplified speaker system connected via the headphone socket or for the best performance (and probably highest outlay) a good 2.1 or higher speaker system connected via a USB audio/digital adapter.

Recommended for the more serious user or those with deeper pockets, but still well-priced and excellent value.
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on 26 February 2013
I purchased this laptop at £720, with cashback from quidco.

I looked to see a month later it was down to £675, and considered buying another for the wife, as after detailed browsing I decided the price for the hardware was excellent. Was at £720, and is even better now. There are some things you do have to get used to, and remember, you are buying a Samsung Laptop, not a build it yourself PC, so get ready to have to play around a bit to get the best performance from the laptop.

Build - The casing is gun-metal black, the Samsung logos are white, as is the lettering on the keys. The battery and power lights on the front are blue, red, amber depending on what status, and the clam shell comes together nicely. It is a 17" laptop though, so it is getting towards the hefty side of laptops, but still considerably slimmer the the XPS, and Alien ware builds. I like the case, it fits in the bag I used for my 15" laptop.

Processing Power - The processing power of the I7 is excellent, its a 33630 quad core at 2.4Hz, I took out the RAM from day 1, sold it on, and replaced it with 16GB of geil memory. Just a personal choice really, I had the extra £15 it cost me in the end once I had wheeled and dealed the Samsung memory away. It was the easiest install I have had to do, a black plate comes off the back and it accessible right away. The HDD is there too, I had a spare SSD so I replaced that also with a Samsung 840 pro 256GB. I also installed a fresh version of Win 8 Pro so RAM allocation of the 16GB was better, and away I was. I didn't sell the 1tb I removed I put that in a rack, but the 256GB could be exchanged without cost, depending on if you want the quick boot up and read and write speeds over the extra storage.

Graphics - The ATI HD7670M graphics card is mid-range at the moment, search for graphics card comparisons on Toms Hardware for charts and full details on that. I play shogun, quake live and counter strike generally which all run great. Shogun does not run at full max on everything, but is still very visual and epic. Do not expect to max out BF3 or Crysis 3, the fps will not be great, but if you look closely at prices for laptops with better cards, then you're starting to look at few hundred pounds extra. There are laptops advertised in the £900's with this card, not in the £600's! Take that money and spend it on a tower pc graphics card if you want to max the newest games out on high resolutions. Downside to the graphics is the switchable graphics where you have to tell the laptop to use the ATI card, or it defaults to power saving and doesn't use the extra graphics adapter.

Screen - Screens nice, non reflective, but appears bright and vibrant. Downside is that its not natively 1920 x 1080, so if you are connecting it to a HD TV, then you need to set up a profile, and switch to that when you dock in.

Battery - Batteries good, haven't measured it, but as you would expect from a new laptop.

Win 8 - The install on this machine has some useful, and some not so useful bloatware. You obviously have to understand that the new start menu is not going to be setup how you like, and you will have to play around to get it configured to your taste. I advise doing this first, then taking a Samsung recovery, so that you can restore back to your happily configured point.

Overall I really like the laptop, if you use it for sitting on your lap and browsing, you may find that the 17" and weight are a bit heavy so do consider if you really want a bigger laptop. If you want to use it for multiple purposes, where it won't struggle with graphics design, gaming, HD films etc then it's a great choice for the price.
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on 21 February 2013
I purchased this laptop to replace another Samsung which my wife now uses. Obviously I chose another Samsung as that worked well and still does. This laptop is much much better for the simple primary reason that it has a non-reflective screen which is a boon. (Why oh why is there this need for computer screens to act like mirrors??). It's appearance is sombre, business-like and up-market. It's light and at first felt a bit placky but has certainly proved robust. Delivery was quicker than quoted and very little fuss to start the machine and to get everything working. This i7 processor 's speed is remarkable and Windows 8 works a dream and within a couple of hours I was zapping back and forth between the Start Page and Desktop and loading Apps! I love it to bits! Only one substantial initial difficulty and that is the Windows Mail version which is standard on Windows 8. It's incredibly basic and won't allow to create subject folders in which to store your emails for reference so I had to download Live Mail from the Microsoft site then import all my emails and then recreate my folders. No massive hassle but a once-off nuisance!

Order this laptop you won't be disappointed!
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on 5 April 2013
I was looking for a desktop replacement and found this to be reasonable. Got it delivered and really very pleased with it. Updating was a problem at first, but you get that with any machine. What I really like is the bottom of the machine where it clearly tells you what is where e.g. the hard drive/memory etc. I will be increasing the RAM as soon as the bank balance allows, only bcause of the ease of doing this. As for opertion, fantastic, took a little time to figure out Windows 8 but liked it after a few hours use. Very good purchase.
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on 4 April 2013
I do like this laptop all the specs are great and it runs well however it is let down by Windows 8, first thing I did was download the classic look with start button so I could actually use it in a logical way.

Good points- The keyboard is superb, the fan is quiet and the screen is good no glare at all but still bright.

Niggles- Touch pad is a tad too sensitive but is only a minor thing, the F5 button doesn't always work and the processor is slower than I thought an i7 would be.
I'm not a big PC gamer but the few I do have played fine you do have to switch from HD Intel to the Radeon don't ask me how its was one of those where I had no idea how I did it... lols.
The Blu Ray is a strange one it does play the discs but the crispness of the resolution doesn't seem to be there.

The Bad- Nothing apart from Windows 8 obviously not Samsung's fault, got nothing against trying new stuff but it just wasn't doing it for me I'm sure it would work a treat on a touch screen.

All in all a great machine
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on 16 July 2013
I wanted a new laptop with a larger screen, didn't really want windows 8 but I think we are being forced into that choice as even after using it at work the first thing we did was use the third part menu programme that's available to give you the start menu back. Well, good on you Samsung, you've realised this and through the desktop have provided their own "Start Menu". It's much quicker than my last laptop having the i7 processor against the i5 a larger hard drive. I'm getting used to W8 now, but generally still use the desktop for mist of my activities as I still fervently hate the fact you can't customise the windows tiles to your own programmes or directories, e.g. email, photographs, music etc. and take it from me it's even worse when you work in a distributed environment across a network when everything is stored on shared drives. But I digress, this is a great product and great value for money, the only downside is the drive spin speed at 5400rpm whereas my last laptop, an HP was 7200rpm and you do notice this.
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on 29 May 2013
I couldn't find a laptop with as good a spec at this price so was a bit dubious to purchase it but I am happy to say that it has been a good buy.

Great Spec, great price, quick & free delivery, pc loads up around 20-30 seconds, no problems so far = 1 happy chappy
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on 25 June 2013
I used to have a desk top and a lap top. I have replaced them both with this. It had become expensive keeping the desk top up to date. I did my academic and serious stuff on the laptop, surfed Facebook etc. on the laptop. Now I do it all on here.
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on 13 January 2013
You get a lot for your money with this full-size widescreen laptop which performs exceptionally well and has a base Windows Experience Index of around 5 to 6. For general computing, including accessing and processing multi media, the experience is by and large smooth and quick. There is a full size keyboard with separate number pad and the keys are very positive but they are not backlit and this is typical of the compromises that are noticeable to keep the price down.

The case top has a very pleasant brushed metal finish but the underside is plastic. The graphics performance is awesome supported as it is by an AMD Radeon processor but the built-in Web cam has a meagre 1.3 megapixel resolution which is insufficient to deal adequately with the large HD screen.

Over time the boot-up speed has improved significantly as the system has settled down but there have been numerous updates to install from both Samsung and Windows. Sometimes these have taken a long time to process and have once or twice left the system hanging.

Overall, this is an excellent machine but it does have some short comings to keep the price down. Also, it is quite weighty if you particularly want a very portable device.

It comes with Windows 8 preinstalled along with recovery partitions, and secure boot is enabled by default which means that the operating system is very robust. Indeed, if you want a machine which will boot other operating systems alongside Windows, you will have to disable secure boot - instructions on how to do this can be readily found, but you will still have to grapple with the problem of getting the UEFI (which replaces the BIOS on Windows 8 machines) to allow the display of a screen permitting you to choose which operating system to boot into.

Windows 8 is very much like Windows 7 in the way Control Panel works to make changes to your computer's settings but it is overlaid by the Start Screen which is basically a set of tiles, some of which are intelligently animated, to give access to popular programs (now of course called Apps). You can add, remove and reorder/resize tiles to your heart's content. There are also streamlined settings menus, accessed from the auto-hiding charms bar which pops out from the right hand side of the screen when the pointer is moved to top or bottom right and a simplified version of Internet Explorer accessed from the Start Page.

Microsoft also provides access to its very own Store from the Start Page, where you can browse for additional software (now called Apps) and install any that take your fancy, either free or paid-for. There are some interesting apps available but nowhere near the choice you get from Apple or Google although expansion is rapid.

I think Microsoft have done a very good job in devising an operating system which works just as well with the mouse and keyboard as with a touch screen although it has not been brave enough to ditch its iconic desktop completely.

In summary, this laptop and its operating system suit each other very well - for one reason or another, they both exhibit compromises which on the whole offer a range of excellent features but do occasionally let the side down.

You might want to check out this Lenovo laptop (Lenovo G780 17.3 inch laptop - Dark Bronze (Intel Core i7 3612QM 2.1GHz, 8Gb RAM, 1Tb HDD, Blu-ray, Nvidia Graphics, Windows 8)) before going ahead with this one - for about the same money you get a blu-ray drive and Nvidia graphics although the processor isn't quite as fast.
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