Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Finally - an Ultrabook that offers total value for money

Samsung Series 5 Ultra
Samsung's first Ultrabook is more affordable than most

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Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

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Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Cinebench 10: 5,809
3D Mark '06: 3242
Battery Eater '05: 191mins

So, after tearing through the specifications, the real question is how does the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B perform day-to-day? This is an Ultrabook, after all.

The answer is, reassuringly well. We couldn't find much fault with running Windows 7, as programs opened swiftly, and even with multiple folders, web pages and media running, it kept up with our movements.

Boot-up from sleep was near instant, taking less than two seconds, and powering on from a full shut-down took us only 35 seconds - not bad, but a bit longer than Samsung's official reckoning.

Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

There's a reassuring lack of bloatware that often clutters start-up with pop-ups and update messages, which we're always thankful for.

Once you're powered up and using the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B, you immediately feel comfortable with the machine. We've got used to the shallow travel of Ultrabook keyboards by now, and had no trouble adjusting to the Series 5 straight away.

The keys are large and isolated, and although there's no numeric keypad, it's great to see a keyboard where the arrow keys are a decent size.

Similarly, Samsung has given us a huge, responsive touchpad with physical left and right buttons. We've been critical of integrated touchpad buttons on the Acer Aspire S3 and HP Envy 14 Spectre, and using the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B's pad is a real pleasure.

Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Even better, the touchpad supports multi-touch and takes advantage of gesture-controlled Windows 7 so you can pinch to zoom or use two fingers to scroll.

There are two stereo speakers at the front of the chassis, one on either side, that complement the main speaker at the base of the screen during media playback.

Although the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B doesn't get up to serious volume, the distribution and balance of sound is excellent. Audio doesn't feel tinny and there's no distortion when you do push the volume up.

Samsung Series 5 Ultra review

Predictably, the battery life on the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B is neither wonderful, nor woeful. We squeezed a reasonable 191 minutes from the Battery Eater benchmarking program - running with a looped 720p high-definition video in the background.

Samsung quotes 6.4 hours of regular use on a single charge and, with care, you can certainly manage this - lasting you almost an entire day at the office. This should be more than sufficient for most users, but ideally we like to see Ultrabooks score over 200 minutes.

Even so, you really have to push the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B to start bothering it. During use it kept quiet and moderately cool, and the overall experience, especially where the keyboard and touchpad are concerned, was positive.

We weren't especially blown away by the Samsung Series 5 Ultra 530U3B but, at the same time, we knew it wouldn't let us down.