Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Review
Just this past month I got many views this month so I decided to update this post with my latest assessment of the product.
You can find the link to reviews by renowned bloggers by clicking on the logos bellow. At the bottom I also included a video from youtube, not so helpful but it gives you the best insight to what the product looks like.
Look and Feel: The Samsung Series 7 Chronos have this amazing feel and touch to it. On the outside, it feels like a very well polished aluminium. The detail is amazing, you can see the almost microscopic blended lines to give this machine a very attractive pattern at the back. The inside feels really smooth. the first thing that came into mind when I got it is, it needs a leather case, that's how much an illusion of luxury it gives you.
I have no complaints when it comes to the look and feels. Kudos to Samsung!
Even after more than 6 months, i've yet to see a product with the same class. Design was a home run by Samsung.
Size and Weight: The dimensions of this laptop are similar to the dimensions of most standard 13 inch laptops. but it managed to pack into it a 14 inch screen. It is definitely a heavy laptop though, but I can't complain, I come from a 17 inch laptop, this to me feels like a paper clip, but compared to other laptops of the same category it is on the losing side.
I really could care about the weight. The portability was what I was mostly concerned about.
Size and weight wise, still okay. still feels heavier than most, but I get a sense of security, that it won't drop and snap on me.
Trackpad and Mouse: I am really not sure if I was shipped a none working unit, but the push buttons seem to not bounce back after the click. it gets stuck and makes the mouse act crazy, you have to apply pressure to the top left and right to unlock it. (I'm going to get a new version shipped to me). The trackpad though feels exceptional, it allows you to use multitouch comfortably, I used to own an HP dv7 4000, with only edge scroll but with this laptop I can't get enough of the two finger scroll.
I'm a little disappointed by the trackpad. It works so well, but the fact that the buttons sink make me worry if my unit isn't the defective one.
Unfortunately the Elantech mousepad support for Ubuntu/Linux is almost nil. A lot of people are struggling to get all the trackpad support, and this maybe one of the reasons why I might return this laptop and find something else.
I did get a defective mouse. After the new one got shipped to me, It worked much more better. But here are a few things I didn't like. whenever I use this laptop in bed, or one one lap, I have to be careful of where I apply pressure, otherwise mouse pad sinks into laptop frame and locks. I have to wiggle the laptop edges before pad emerges back up. The arm rest for keyboard isn't sturdy enough so misplaced pressure, forces pad to simply lock in. Also position of the pad will force you to be careful about how you type. otherwise you randomly will keep touching pad, and that moves cursor into unwanted spots. Happened twice while typing this.
Keyboard: Simply one of the best keyboard I've used in the longest time. I have pretty big hands, and was always under the impression, my hands won't fit on a "13 inch laptop". But it did, and typing feels really natural. The keys go deep enough, the sound is really minimal, even if you smatch the keys while typing. It comes with the backlit that has adjustable levels a dream to anyone who types in the dark.
The only bad thing about the keyboard is that when you are typing your wrist dig a little bit into the sharp edges, nothing that can cut you, it might feel uncomfortable for some, but for me it wasn't that of a great deal.
After months of abuse keyboard feels the same.
Display and sound: Samsung display is really the best I believe. The quality is crips and the color levels are really high. The only downside is that the viewing angles are horrible, if you don't have laptop at a 37 to 55 degrees angle, you pretty much would loose on the viewing. The sound, to be honest isn't the best, compare to the Ausus laptops, but to be honest for my usage, I barely need the laptop sound, and I'm an audiophile anyways and rather listen to the sound using my headset, and so far it gives me the best quality of sound i've ever used with my Sennheisers HD 448.
I couldn't ask for better sound and display quality. To be honest I'm more an audiophile than anything else, and i'm not sure if it is the quality of my hardware that makes the sound crisp. you should check out what others say about this laptop sound.
Just like the mouse pad, the ati Radeon HD6490M support too is minimal. Some users are having to compile a new kernel, when I get to that level in my setup I'll post about how I solved or not my issues with the display.
Its been a serious journey using ubuntu and this laptop. At first the drivers didn't have switchable graphics, between the high performance and the low performance. On the display, you can't feel the difference but that means you could only have just 3 hrs of battery life at best. That was very disappointing.
Performance, Fan and heat: My main station is a Intel core i7 with 16 GB RAM, it screams, this came with an i5 sandy bridge and just 8 gb of RAM and it really competes with my main station. I did some stress test like playing flash videos, while running a virtual machine and transferring massive data in the background, and it absolutely held its own. The fan is alright for me, again compared to all my other units.
Great performance, minimal fan noise, and fan turn off key is on keyboard, and works well. I'm disappointed by heat. I was really expecting an extra cool device, but in average at high loads time, the inner temperature goes to about 65. I hear this is pretty good but one of the main reason why I purchased this laptop is to correct the faults of my dv7 and I was not satisfied.
In ubuntu, the fan noise and the heat are a very big problem. I am not sure exactly of why, but I'll investigate further as soon as I get a replacement laptop.
Fan noise, really never became an issue. As time went on, I could be pushing the cpu to the max by running several vms, and fan will not budge. These laptops are definitely built with windows in mind, because in windows, you never get any performance or fan glitch. But i'm very happy with performance and heat.
The Software: The Bloatware that comes with most laptop are very annoying but this ships with really useful tools. The Samsung Easy Settings, or the Recovery solutions are the best. Everyone now ourdays struggle with backups, and even with "the cloud" and solutions such as cloning images etc, backing up and restore can be tedious, but really is taken care of with this software. It also ships with Intel MiFi manager, and that helps if you have an intel powered screen. The bogus ones are the Easy Share, or the Easy Wireless Manager.
THE BIGGEST GOTCHYA IS THE RECOVERY DISK, coming from dell, HP, Asus or Acer you'd expect your recovery disk to just reset your OS to a prestine state close to the way it came, with the included software. its not the case, samsung recovery disk is nothing but a windows 7 recovery disk with no key. It resets your laptop OS and configs and reinstalls NONE of the drivers. THE ANNOYING PART is that those aren't fully recoverable from the samsung support page. It gives you some, and the rest you have to hunt from other samsung laptops page. To add to the misery you will never get your laptop close to the original configuration it came with. some of the drivers are either advanced and non compatible versions or just deprecated
When it comes to installing ubuntu it is very tedious. Grub won't stick, you have to try different versions, out of the box, you can't boot with cd or usb without changes to the bios, now with UEFI enabled it becomes a mess. If I keep this device for longer I will post more in details about this setup.
Although it was a pain to get ubuntu going, the upgrade to 12.10 was a breeze. Things just work without any main hassle. Again, if you are a windows user, you get few helpful utilities from samsung that really take good advantage of the hardware, like the drivers and software to dim keyboard light, or or switch graphics mode.
Battery life: I am a bad judge of this, most of the units i've used before I couldn't disconnect from the power for more than hour, but on this laptop with constant usage, I get a solid 5.30 hrs with bright screen and backlight keyboard on to the brightest setting.
Again here linux fails me. In every distro I could get, never got passed 2.5 hrs. But on windows I will consistently get at least 4 hrs.
Overall: This machine is of great quality, great mouse pad. On Software side too it is very, good, but i'm appaled by the absolute no respect samsung and other manufacturers have for Linux users. No drivers that work out of the box, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to install ubuntu on windows machine, and it should be further hell, with the recently released Windows 8. This makes me feel like I'm censored all over again, if you not going to offer support to linux users, at least let them install their thing and try to make it work, don't make it extra difficult for them.
If you are someone that use windows out of the box, no tweaks, this machine is for you, performance, battery, feel, display etc are very good if not excellent, but if you are a linux lad, well you probably will love to take on the challenge, but it is very draining.
After more than 6 months i'm generally satisfied with this laptop. I've of course had horror stories because i'm a linux user, and I shouldn't complain because it is very much expected. however, I'll try to keep this laptop as long as I can because it is worth its value.