Samsung Series 3 review

Dependable AMD-powered budget laptop ideal for family use

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Specifications

Samsung series 3 review

If you're constantly on the move and want a portable computer to keep you entertained or productive, the Samsung Series 3 is a great option. One massively useful feature is the matt 15.6-inch screen, which lacks the shiny gloss coating of many modern laptops. This might not seem like a big deal, but the difference when you're outside is impressive.

While glossy Super-TFT displays are a massive pain to use outside, reflecting light straight back into your eyes, the Samsung Series 3's screen is almost completely non-reflective. You can work on it even in hideously bright conditions.

This is also helped by the brightness levels of the display. Turned to maximum, the panel is comfortable to use even for extended periods. It's vibrant enough to bring your photos and movies to life, although viewing angles are a little tight.

Cinephiles can enjoy HD movies on this PC laptop, with 1080p videos playing perfectly. Of course the 1366 x 768p resolution doesn't produce the sharpest visuals, but we didn't notice any grainy-looking images.

However, the Samsung Series 3's built-in speakers are typically rubbish, lacking any real oomph. A gunfight in The Dark Knight sounded more like a barrel of damp firecrackers going off.

We love carrying our entire media collection with us wherever we roam, and the Samsung Series 3's dual hard drives don't disappoint. You get 750GB of storage - enough for hundreds of HD movies and hundreds of thousands of music albums. It's definitely a generous amount, considering the relatively low cost of this laptop.

Features are a little slim on the ground, but you get three USB ports for hooking up your own peripherals, and both VGA and HDMI options for attaching an external monitor. Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi means you can hook up to the internet.

Performance

Samsung series 3 review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 7,198
3D Mark '06: 5,330
Battery Eater '05: 136 mins

The Samsung Series 3 laptop slashes its price by using budget components, compared to the Sandy Bridge-powered Series 7. This laptop features an AMD A6-3410MX quad-core processor, running at 1.6GHz, backed up by 6GB of RAM.

Our Cinebench tests confirmed that the Samsung Series 3 isn't much of a performance heavyweight. You can happily browse the web, tinker with word processing documents and enjoy your media, all at the same time, but anything more strenuous causes the odd stutter.

This will suit most families fine, but don't expect a laptop that'll last you for years to come.

The Samsung Series 3's AMD chipset also handles graphics, and the integrated AMD Radeon HD 6480G GPU is surprisingly capable. Our 3D Mark score was comparable with many low-end dedicated graphics cards, and the Samsung Series 3 laptop can comfortably run older games.

New releases will struggle, however, so gamers should look to up their budget to find a computer with dedicated graphics.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is edit your photos and movies, and watch the occasional HD film, the Samsung Series 3 is a dependable laptop.

If you're strapped for cash but want a more powerful machine, we'd recommend the Acer Aspire 5750G, which comes kitted out with Sandy Bridge processors. Not only that, it costs roughly the same as the Samsung Series 3.

Sadly, the battery life is less impressive. We were hoping for over three hours of life from a charge, as we got with the Samsung Series 7, but the Samsung Series 3 died after just 136 minutes of playing HD video on loop. This is below average for budget laptops like this, and means you'll have to drag the adapter with you on longer journeys.

Limit yourself to less intensive activities, such as office software and web browsing, and you'll eek out three hours. It's still unimpressive, and definitely disappointing.

On a more positive note, the Samsung Series 3 is a quiet machine. And we didn't notice any hotspots during use - keep the vents clear and it stays reassuringly cool.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerAMD
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Product Family3
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelA6-3410MX
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.49 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height30.5 mm
Width365.8 mm
Depth241.3 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series3
ManufacturerSamsung
Product Model305V5A-A05
Product Name305V5A-A05 Notebook
Manufacturer Part NumberNP305V5A-A05US
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing InformationLighter, brighter, longer

From among the world's lightest to the most powerful, Samsung's Notebook PCs take productivity with you wherever you go.

Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)