Samsung Series 7 Gamer review

An attractive laptop powerful enough to run the latest games. What's the catch?

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Samsung series 7 gamer review

So on paper - or, uh, web page - the Samsung Series 7 Gamer looks like a damn fine proposition, with plenty of bang for your buck. But, crucially, how well does it perform?

One of the first things you'll notice when you boot up the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is the fancy dynamic Windows 7 desktop theme that continues the design aesthetic from the keyboard and body - think lots of blue glowing lights and circles. It's not too bad, and comes with a unique desktop gadget that enables you to change some of the more ostentatious visual elements.

A slight annoyance is the default customised mouse cursor, which has a blue circle just by the arrow, making it look like Windows 7 is constantly loading. Thankfully, these can all be turned off if it's not quite your thing. The dynamic wallpapers only appear in Game mode, where the emphasis is on graphical horse power.

Needless to say, a connection to the mains power supply is essential. The other power modes are the self-explanatory Balanced mode, Library mode (which is essentially a fancy name for a mute button) and the battery-saving Green mode, which dims the screen's brightness, turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and performs other power-saving tasks. All of these modes can be switched between quickly with a dial at the top of the keyboard.

Samsung series 7 gamer review

The 3DMark and Cinebench benchmarks were pretty good for a laptop, showing that the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is certainly capable when it comes to the latest graphics. But when it came to playing games, things were surprisingly shaky, with the Samsung Series 7 Gamer crashing on us a number of times, and not shutting down properly.

We can't help but suspect that all the dynamic backgrounds and fancy themes used to shout out that THIS IS A POWERFUL MACHINE simply took up resources and made the laptop slower than its specs - not to mention its price tag - suggest.

Skyrim crashed when we first loaded it, but after a restart we loaded it up again. It's not the most graphically intensive game, but it's a pretty one, and we set all graphics settings to 'Ultra'. Happily the Samsung Series 7 Gamer handled it very well, with a solid frame rate even during scenes with lots of action going on. It wasn't completely flawless, and there were one or two pauses when playing - and even scrolling through menus - but on the whole it worked well.

Praise should not just go to the components driving this laptop, though - the fantastic 17-inch screen played a huge part in making the game look so good. Not only is the Samsung Series 7 Gamer's screen 3D capable, it can also handle resolutions of 1920 x 1080 - a relative rarity in laptops, even gaming ones.

Blu-rays looked great on the laptop, with the bundled Cyberlink Power DVD 10 software and the built-in speakers handling movies and sound very well. These speakers were loud enough not to necessitate buying extra speakers.

Battery life was a real disappointment, though, managing just over an hour on full settings. The Novatech nSpire 2760 Black Edition has nothing to worry about in this regard.

Battery eater: 1:00:46
3DMark: 18415
Cinebench: 10 8603