September 27, 2012
- Sturdy, attractive design
- Optical disc drive
- Good real-world performance
- Slightly larger & heavier than others
- Below average battery life
- Multitouch gesture problems
The Samsung Series 5 535 is a 14-inch ultraportable that isn't quite as light and portable as some other similar laptops but it does have an optical drive and good graphics capabilities. It is powered by an AMD CPU, which does well against its Intel counterpart but it does come up slightly short.
The Samsung Series 5 535 has a matte aluminum finish that not only looks good but feels sturdy too, which is something you'll want to have in a laptop made for portability. It measures 13.1 x 9.0 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs 4.0-pounds, which is slightly larger and a tad heavier than some other ultraportables, but it's definitely nothing too much.
The keyboard has the typical island-style layout seen on most other 14-inch laptops these days. Some of the keys seemed rather large, which is OK with is. They also have a matte finish and no flex, which made for an overall comfortable experience. The large touch pad is centered under the space bar and has two discrete click buttons on the bottom. Multitouch gestures did feel a little but laggy, which was a bit of a problem.
The 14-inch display has a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, which is a little smaller than the 1600 x 900-pixel resolution that some 14- and 15-inch laptops have. The screen does have a matte finish, which really helps to cut back on glare. The screen's overall quality was good and had wide viewing angles, which definitely made us happy.
For ports, the Samsung Series 5 535 includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, a combo headphone/microphone jack and an SD memory card reader. We praise Samsung for including dual USB 3.0 ports on a budget notebook as this is rapidly becoming the new norm. There is also a DVD+/-RW optical drive, which is always absent on an Ultrabook and sometimes not found on other ultraportables. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Our review unit included the following configuration: an AMD Quad-Core A10-4655M (2.0GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 7620G graphics. The A10 CPU is AMD's high-end processor and performance is definitely pretty good but a tad short of a comparable Intel CPU you'd find in a similar ultraportable.
Most users won't notice the AMD's slight shortcoming because in real-world use, performance is solid. Watching streaming HD video worked flawlessly and multitasking didn't cause any noticeable slow downs. The AMD Radeon graphics seemed to perform slightly better than the Intel integrated 4000 HD graphics, so that's a plus. It is, however, not match for a true discrete graphics card in the end.
Battery life came in at 4-hours, which is a tad less than the 4:30-hour average.
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