If you were to look at Samsung's laptops even a year ago, you'd see gorgeous devices crafted with premium materials on the outside and a steep price tag to match – with components that, well, often didn't.
Since then, for reasons that should be obvious, Samsung's vision for its laptops has shifted slowly to focus more on value than an ultra-luxury experience. (Specifically, crafting a luxury experience at a value price.) The Samsung Notebook 9 is a fine example of this.
However, we're not talking about Ultrabooks here, but the often nebulous realm of mid-range multimedia laptops. Meet the 15.6-inch Samsung Notebook 7 Spin, a laptop like the Notebook 9 in its goal to bring a primo-feeling experience and more power to an approachable price point.
Starting at just $899 (about £681, AU$1,206), the Notebook 7 Spin comes packing one of the best and latest Intel processors, gobs of memory and storage, and dedicated Nvidia graphics behind a crisp, 1080p HDR (!!!) screen. Oh, and it's a convertible hybrid – just in case you like those, too.
Yeah, we'd say Samsung accomplished its mission.
That's in no small part thanks to how Samsung employed a serious design sense in molding the Notebook 7 Spin shell while making use of less-than-high-end materials. Not much has changed about this iteration from the previous in terms of design ID, though.
The same subdued, chrome Samsung logo sits flush left on the laptop's brushed aluminum lid, and the aluminum keyboard deck feels just as refreshingly cool to the touch as it has for at least one or two generations now. However, the bottom half of the silver-colored chassis is comprised of a soft touch plastic that's both cheaper and better prevents slipping.
However, back to what's sitting on upper half. Making liberal use of the room that its 15-inch size affords it, unlike some key competitors, Samsung laid out a full set of curved, backlit black keys – including a number pad.
The keys offer a hearty punch when pressed and released, and were effortless to adjust to over the course of our review. The spacious, glass trackpad is centered with the space bar, which we wish was centered with the device instead, but otherwise performs just fine with single and- multi-touch gestures.
And if you just want to touch the screen you can do that or even convert it into an oversized tablet. This editor is generally a curmudgeon when it comes to convertible hybrids, but we don't mind it here as an add-in feature, since the hinge is so strong and sturdy it's barely noticeable.
That said, using this thing as a tablet is just plain silly, even with its neat, curved lip above and below its hinge available to help with grip. Simply put, it's just too heavy and bulky for that kind of use. The tent-like mode is excellent for bedridden movie binges, though.
What you have here is a laptop designed to be attractive and effective without being ostentatiously expensive, and the Notebook 7 Spin's design simply exudes that quality. That said, it is rather hefty.
- Want to save money? Consider a Surface Pro 3