on August 1, 2012
Some of the factors why I choose this laptop: it has a matte screen (although the resolution is not great, 14" with 1366x768 is acceptable, viewing angles aren't bad but it is a TN panel), it is relatively thin, and it had an internal optical drive. The 13.3" version of this system doesn't have the internal DVD drive and the processor is quite a bit slower.
Ok - if you buy this spend $22 for an extra 4GB (get a SO-DIMM DDR3, I bought a Corsair 4 GB DDR3 Laptop Memory CMSO4GX3M1A1333C9). Note that the pre-installed 4GB is soldered on the mainboard. Some extra memory helps since the Trinity APUs can support dual channel memory access. The graphics on this laptop are much better than any embedded Intel graphics (it is significantly better than intel's HD4000). Overall the processor is plenty fast for almost everything you would want to do - to get better you would need an intel i7. The Trinity is also power-efficient, although the 4cell (non-removable!) battery that comes with this laptop isn't the biggest.
I installed a Samsung 830 SSD into the laptop and it is very fast -like 18secs to Windows trumpet sound from cold boot(the old HD was rated 5.9 on the windows experience, with the SSD it moved up to 7.6). If you install a SSD or simply want to get rid of all the bloatware with a fresh install, go to Arstechnica for an excellent guide (copy the windows/system32 folder beforehand so that you have all the drivers; Samsung's website has the drivers for the Intel version of this system mixed in). EDIT: If you do decide to replace the HDD with an SSD, make sure you do not get one that is too thick - I believe 2.5" SSDs come in two thicknesses - 10mm and 7mm. This laptop needs a 7mm thick SSD.
The look and feel are pretty nice - the case material is nice and doesn't pick up fingerprints. The laptop doesn't run too hot and the noise from the fan is pretty low. In terms of ports it has a nice set - 1 USB2.0, 2 USB3.0, HDMI, SD, VGA, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The LAN connector is quite sneaky - it folds up for a lower profile (it is better than the slide-out side connector style). The keyboard has no backlight, and the buttons are a bit shallow, but the keys are spaced well. The touchpad works well - normally I can't stand them but I am ok with this one. There's no latch for the screen, just a small tab to help your finger hold on to. The screen doesn't go all the way over - it only goes back around 135degrees. There are 4 LEDs - power, drive, wifi, and a charge indicator.
Overall, a solid laptop - I'd give it 4 1/2 stars, but it hasn't done anything poorly or wrong.
Update(9-5-12): Actually, I am liking the trackpad more and more. It is quite good. Also, sleep and wakeup are very fast. If you keep the laptop plugged in a lot, then there is a battery saver option which only charges up to 80%; in this way the battery will not wear out as quickly. I've also used this to watch several movies on my TV - the HDMI out works fine.
Update 2 (10-09-12): Wow, the price has dropped on this system. I think it is a fantastic deal at $650.
on November 10, 2012
Hi all, EyeOnComputers here.
Short Review here until I release my well-known ultra detailed review.
- replaced mechanical 750GB HDD with a Samsung 830 SSD 128GB (for $70)
- added Crucial (w/ Micron memory chips) 4GB DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM stick (for $18)
- installed clean version of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with SP1... no bloatware is the way to go
- Got this notebook for my girlfriend because she has always wanted a gaming rig, but with portability and on a budget. It normally goes for $800+, but when Amazon was selling it for $650.... I had to jump on it. I was looking for a notebook with good performance (gaming oriented), thermal design, not too bulky for her, and on a budget.
- The build quality is quite good considering what you are paying, the screen is more than enough for the typical user (only a few would care for a 1600x900 or 1920x1080 option). Yes, you can upgrade the screen to at least a 1600x900 LED LCD panel, the model of the screen is Samsung LP140WH1, which has the same connector as the LCD LED (Samsung LP140WD1) panel that comes with the notebook. It will just take a bit of effort to replace the panels, but its very straightforward.
Why go for an AMD APU notebook?
- its got great CPU performance for all the typical uses, most people will not even utilize the full quad-core CPU
- its got an amazing GPU (Radeon 7620G) for mid-range gaming performance that will outperform its competition in the same budget range.
Why did I choose this notebook for the thermal design?
- the APU (CPU+GPU) is a single low voltage chip that has a 25-watt TDP, which is quite low for the performance given.
- there is a single fan in the middle back of the notebook which would be ideal for those that like to use the notebook on their laps and won't block the fan vent. (even though I usually would advise not to place notebooks on your lap, bed, couch, pillow, etc. because they would be blocking the fan vents on the bottom from getting air to properly cool the notebook.
- there is a Fan Mode (Fn+F11) on this notebook that will set the notebook to low performance mode in order to prevent the fan from needing to turn itself on because the heat generated would be so low.
- from my tests and benchmarking, the AMD A10-4655M APU does not exceed 65 C degrees for long durations of benchmarking and gaming. I used CoreTemp for the CPU temp monitoring and MSI Afterburner for GPU temp monitoring.... since its a single APU (CPU+GPU on a single chip), the temps are usually near the same.
FYI, if you are wondering about danger temps, the CPU nor the GPU should ever exceed 90C degrees. Their threshold temps are usually around 100C... which would usually force the system to power itself off instantly to prevent any further overheating damage (like a car does when it overheats to a high temperature). You will know to clean out the dust (with compressed air @ 40 PSI or less) in the vents when the temps go beyond 70-80 C degrees when you are gaming or doing other heavy computational stuff.
Why have a clean Windows 7 install?
- I have never liked bloatware, crapware, etc.. when I deal with people's OEM-branded systems, they install junk that a user would mostly likely never use, and the good programs are usually trial versions... so what's the point. Either use "PC Decrapifier" to get rid of needless crap that it comes with or.... Just do a clean install from the beginning. Get yourself amazing and free software like avast! Free Antivirus and OpenOffice if you want a full and free office suite.
- All of the latest drivers for this notebook are on Samsung's website, and you will also need to install the Samsung software called "Easy Settings" in order to get the Function keys and the On-Screen Display to work.
- Also, if you want a performance boost in 3D gaming, go grab the latest 12.11 AMD Catalyst drivers (not the mobile ones).
Why add another 4GB of memory?
- Its true that if you are not doing much for media editing/converting/rendering, 4GB is plenty for a majority of computer users; they will never really need more.
- For gaming, I added the 4GB of DDR3-1333 (FYI, the platform memory speed is capped at 1333 MHz, so it won't really matter if you installed faster memory such as 1600 MHz... I know, I tested it) to get the dual channel memory performance boost, which is quite significant for the gaming aspect of things.... literally a 15-35% increase across the board for all the games I tested (such as Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim , Dungeon Defenders, Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City). The single channel (64-bit) memory works fine for everything, but for gaming... having a 128-bit (dual-channel) memory interface is a must for a cheap and effective way to boost gaming performance.
Why have an SSD or traditional spinning HDD?
I just installed an SSD (solid state drive) for the purpose of great load times, and mainly for longevity as compared to a mechanical spinning hard disk drive. If you would rather have lots of storage space and lower longevity (3-5 years typically), than stick with the 750GB spinning drive that it comes with.
I have built $3000 custom high-end gaming notebooks before (usually from Clevo, Compal and MSI), but this notebook does not seem as bulky and still retains good gaming performance and battery life. Makes me wanna reconsider having a mid-range gaming notebook rather than a high-end one that costs way more and has less portability (size and battery life). If you are in the market for a nice fully loaded notebook that is thin and light, has great gaming performance per dollar, and has nice aesthetics (this factor I do not care much for), then you must consider this notebook. The AMD Trinity APU is no slouch.
- "Bang for the Buck" performance for playing latest 3D gaming titles on medium settings and snappy for all typical uses
- Thin and light with good battery life (6-8 hours with typical use)
- Good thermal design (keeps well under 70C degrees at full load), including a Fan Mode (Fn+F11) to keep things so cool that the fan does not need to spin up
- has HDMI and USB 3.0 ports
- an optical drive (some might care or not)
- aesthetically pleasing (a personal preference for some)
- has bloatware/crapware included (use "PC Decrapifier" or a clean install of Windows will fix that)
- has only one resolution option (fine for most people, some might want better options)
..... (optional) you can upgrade the LCD LED panel yourself to a 1600x900 version (look for Samsung LP140WH1 panels).
- no removable battery (like most ultrabooks and thin & lights)
- (optional) replace the HDD with a SSD if you want to get some amazing load times and have storage longevity.
- (optional) need to add another stick of 4GB DDR3-1333 to get dual-channel memory performance boost, great for 3D gaming
on September 5, 2012
Let me preface my review with two facts
(1) My husband is a computer junkie, and
(2) I know absolutely nothing about computer hardware/software. When I buy a computer, I go for ease of use and looks.
That being said, both of us are pleased with this laptop. I am about to start traveling for my job, and I needed to replace my 8 year old laptop from my college days. I wanted something light, portable, but of a decent size and with an internal CD/DVD drive. This laptop has all of that. The sleek, silver design gives this laptop a clean look. They keys are comfortably-spaced, and the touch-pad is more centrally-located that other larger laptops. It's more centralized, however, because this laptop does not have a dedicated number pad. This was not a deal-breaker for me, but definitely something to keep in mind. The laptop is surprisingly light, and the speakers and webcam are great for a computer this size.
As for the technical aspects of this machine, my husband was determined to get a product with an AMD processor. He liked the combined processor and graphics unit, both of which were powerful. His only suggestion to improve this computer's speed would be to add 4GB of RAM and a SSD, which was easy for him to do over one evening.
I have yet to use this laptop on a planeride yet, so I cannot comment about its full battery life. I do know that when I use it unplugged around the house, it has the option of a battery-saver mode that you can use to prolong the life of the computer over a long period of time.
As for our ranking, we decided on giving it a 4/5 because we felt it necessary to add more RAM and the SSD to meet our laptop needs. Even so, this is a wonderful product, and we plan to keep in for many years to come!
on October 17, 2012
pretty thin (.83 in. to be exact)
descent battery life (4-6 hours depending how you set your power options)
well spaced keyboard
matte finish screen
very little bloatware
speaker sound is pretty loud
nice metallic finish
doesn't run hot
2x USB 3.0
not fingerprint magnet
$650 is a total steal
wobbly screen when adjusting
Amd version don't come with express cache
wish screen resolution was higher
4 gbs ram
I've been watching the deal on this laptop for weeks and it remained at $730 and then i ordered a lenovo then the price dropped to $650 which was a real steal!! luckily my lenovo wasn't shipped yet so i canceled and order this. The biggest deal breaker for me was obviously the price and the specs that came along with that. an amd quad core and a stronger video card than the intel 3rd generation.
Video card: i have yet to test anything high end on it because the only game i play is league of legends and i average 50-60 FPS on high settings with low shadow.
it comes with a slim low profile 2.5mm laptop hard drive i would recommend upgrading to a SSD for fater performance and you can find the 128gb for less than $100. the size ssd you will need is 7mm so it will mount perfectly to the original hard drive bracket. i bought the Samsung 830 - Series MZ-7PC128N/AM and it fits perfectly. after installing the ssd it took 27 min. to do a full installation with window 7 64 bit. start up time to desktop with no password lock was 21 seconds and shutdown was 8 seconds. you can always use the hard drive you take out as an external with an enclosure: Vantec NexStar TX 2.5-Inch.
i also upgraded the memory to receive the processor full potential because it runs better with dual channel memory. i used Kingston ValueRam 4GB PC3-10600 KVR1333D3S9/4G.
a lot of people who have seen my laptop figures for it to be more than $900 considering size and performance but i told them with laptop being only $650,the ssd upgrade for $90 and memory for $20 its only $760!!
***i have added a couple screen shots of the window experience index before and after upgrade*** check in the view images
on August 2, 2012
For a Series 5 laptop, this laptop performs outstandingly. I initially had a Samsung series 3 also with AMD APU onboard, and I decided to pass it to my brother in favor of this model. Both laptops are top notch, and as the previous reviewer mentioned, sticking an SSD into it would make the computer flyyyyyyyy. I had installed a Corsair 180GB Force GT rather than Samsungs brand SSD, and from a cold start I believe that mine is sub 18 seconds. Many technical websites had given AMD's new Trinity chipset critical reviews since the entire motherboard is interconnected rather than separate components being responsible for different functions. However, I believe that AMD has made leaps and strides in the laptop world with these new APU's. For the price and performance that you are getting, you seriously cannot go wrong with this laptop.
on November 1, 2012
I bought this item recently based on some research and the available reviews and wasn't disappointed.
I have to admit that I installed a Samsung 830 128GB SSD that I got on sale for $70, but it was a good performer before that. With the upgrade it boots in sub 20 seconds. I'm a CS grad student and I use it mostly for writing code and other productivity tasks, but the embedded graphics is pretty impressive from some of the light gaming I've tested on it.
I wouldn't mind having a slightly higher resolution on this size display, but I had trouble finding that option on any reasonably priced ultra-portable from a good brand. I considered the Vizio Thin+light 14", but ultimately decided this was probably a superior product.
The screen casing feels kind of flimsy when you move it, but overall the laptop casing is sturdy, especially when it is closed, and there is barely any flex in the keyboard.
I only took off a star because I really would prefer a 1600x900 or 1440x900 resolution, but thats really my only gripe.
If you plan on doing any significant gaming or multimedia I would suggest you to upgrade to 8GB of ram, but its only $20, and only takes a minute to install.
on April 4, 2013
I have been using this computer since early February.
The only thing I have to complain is Samsung's lack of native support nor divers for Linux. The lack of appropriate drivers and energy settings reduces the battery life for 1:30 hours in Ubuntu, for example. And bad sound in Skype for Linux.
The overall performance of the battery is amazing for windows - 3.30 to 4 hours of college-use, and it is very thin and light. The metal case is resistant and still doesn't have a scratch. The camera shows very well defined images, both in Skype and in face-recording college assignments / face-recognizing apps.
I will soon upgrade it with a Samsung 840 SSD drive (due full compatibility) and 4Gb of RAM, what should accelerate the system and improve battery life. The computer's currend HDD I will place in a USB 3.0 SATAIII external drive case, thereby having a USB 3.0 750GB external HDD.
But the great advantage is the APU processor. I is extremely easy to program graphic/vector-operations programs, if compared to CUDA solutions, and AMD's AcelleratedParallelProcessing API shortens the work.
It is very good for gaming, too. Acceptable graphics for a mobile-gaming solution, especially if considering the reduced size and weight.
The touchpad required some work, since the drivers had to be updated using an external mouse to control the system.
The keyboard is disappointing - a few months and the keys are already shinning and plained-stressed by use. No problems to the key's springs, just to its plastic. I switched to DVORAK using a vinyl-adhesive keyboard set, and it solves the problem.
In short, this is a very strong, light and powerful computer, very good for college students, specially due its resistance.
on November 5, 2012
This was a very good purchase for us. This machine is light weight and lightning fast. For the price it has an impressive list of features. We have only had it for a month so the shine has not worn off yet. I expect I will have a better review in a year. Still, a lot of laptop for under $1000
on April 14, 2013
Thought I should contribute to the rating & discussion as it was the basis for me purchasing this Samsung laptop on 12/20/2012. I am not a computer expert but am experienced using laptops for my business over the past nearly 15 years.
I have been using this laptop everyday (normally 6 hours a day) for nearly four months now. The laptop replaced my Dell Inspirion 11 11.6-Inch Obsidian Black Laptop (Windows 7 Premium)which I had for a number of years and very much liked. The Dell had replaced my Sony Vaio that I got around 2005 for over $3,000. but always seemed to have problems with and was at my computer guy's office numerous times.
I purchased the 4GB ram addition for around $20. when I bought the laptop. It came at the same time and literally took me 10 min to install. I know have 8GB ram along with a 750GB hard drive and CD/DVD drive. When I had the Dell I carried an external disc drive with me. I replaced two of them over the years I used the Dell as they external drives are delicate and twice they didn't work when I plugged them in (I'm 90% they broke due to the wear & tear of travelling all the time. I find the Sony to be immeasurably faster than the Dell and can run numerous operations at the same time without a problem. It pops up right away when booted up, is quiet, and has more hard drive space than I know what to do with. It also has a full size keyboard and the touch pad is much easier to work than my former Dell as it doesn't jump all over the place and get the screen get big and small with just the slightest mistaken hand movement. With the Dell I had to use a small portable mouse. With the Samsung there is not need for one which really helps when you travel as much as i do. I can't say enough good things about my Samsung laptop - best computer by far that I;ve ever owned. The only criticism I have, and this is not of the Sony Laptop itself, is that you I can just barely work on my laptop on a plane of sitting in a park in my car (which I do). The Sony and Dell models were very small and were easy to position and type. I wanted a little bigger screen so I ordered this 14" Sony. I like it so much better bit it is harder to work in tight spaces. On a plane or in my car I have to position it just write to be able to type. Then, after awhile of working my fingers start to ache and tingle as I start to lose blood flow due to the odd position I must keep. All-in-all I am very happy with my purchase and highly recommend this laptop (and purchasing the extra $20. ram memory)
on January 8, 2013
I've had an interesting experience with this system. Like another reviewer, my first one had a bad trackpad, and the trackpad configuration software was broken - it would crash as soon as I ran it. So I RMA'd it back to Amazon, and got a replacement system.
My second system's trackpad worked properly. The trackpad configuration software was still broken, until something happened internally which fixed it. I do not know which update I did to fix it, but something did. The trackpad software now works properly.
I normally would not have even bothered messing with the second system, once I discovered that the software for the trackpad was still broken. But this system is really very nicely configured, and is such an ideal travel laptop that I gave it a bit more time, and I'm glad I did.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced and lightweight system, which has decent battery life and good performance, I think you need to seriously consider this one. Just be sure to fully test it out before the RMA return period is over, and don't hesitate to send it back and get another if anything appears to be wrong.
This would get 5 stars from me if it had worked properly out of the box. Downgrade to 4 stars because I had to mess with it more than I should have to get it working properly.