February 28, 2012
- Very lightweight & portable
- Comfortable keyboard
- USB 3.0 & Bluetooth
- Limited viewing angles
- Only average battery life
- Mediocre performance
The Samsung Series 5 NP530U4B is another 14-inch ultrabook that has hit the market. This one is extremely lightweight and portable and has a very comfortable keyboard. It is one of the first ultrabooks to have a built-in optical drive, which might be a deal maker for some. It does lack in battery life and some performance, so it's not without some flaws.
The Samsung Series 5 NP530U4B has an aluminum body with a standard silver color that looks fairly stylish. The finish is also resistant to fingerprints, which is always a plus. It measures 13.1 x 9.0 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs 4-pounds, so that makes it both smaller and thinner than some other 14-inch ultrabooks.
You'll find a standard island-style keyboard on this laptop and it's a very comfortable one too. The keys were very large and well-spaced and felt very much like the Apple MacBook Air's keyboard. It isn't backlit, however, so that's one downside. The touchpad is adequately sized for multitouch gestures and it is very responsive too.
The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is run-of-the-mill for the ultrabook category. We found the display to be very bright but lacking in viewing angles anywhere from dead center. It does have a matte finish, which helps to reduce glare from ambient lighting.
Samsung included a great selection of ports on this Series 5 ultrabook. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, gigabit Ethernet, a combo headphone/microphone jack and a 4-in-1 memory card reader. There is also a tray-loading DVD+/-RW optical disc drive, which is rare for ultrabooks. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0.
The internal specifications includes an Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive plus a 16GB SSD hard drive and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. The hybrid hard drive setup allows you to cache frequently used system files on the solid-state drive for quicker reading and writing, including bootup times. In theory, it's a really great idea but the SSD doesn't seem to boost the performance any noticeable degree.
Overall performance was average, but there are many ultrabooks that outperform this Samsung Series 5 model without much trouble. Don't get us wrong, but you'll have no trouble performing the typical computing tasks, even streaming HD video from the Internet. The integrated Intel graphics are OK for playing movies and some 2D gaming, but any 3D gaming is out of the question.
Battery life with the included battery fell just short of other ultrabooks and lasted only 5 hours. The popular HP Folio leads the pack with 8 hours of life and the recently reviewed Acer Aspire S3 gets 30-minutes more than this Samsung ultrabook.