Notebooks Guide

Samsung Series 5 Ultra (NP530U3BI) review

Samsung Series 5 (13-inch) - An Ultra-priced Ultrabook

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Launch SRP S$1288

Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8
Features:
8.5
Performance:
8
Value:
9
Mobility:
7.5
THE GOOD
Good value
Matte Screen
Build quality
Pleasant keyboard to use
THE BAD
Sharp edges near palm rest
Slightly heavier than other Ultrabooks


Performance and Benchmarking

Performance and Benchmarking

To give you a rough idea of just how the Samsung Series 5 Ultra fares against similar notebooks out there, we've selected a few models from other manufacturers. One of the more important comparisons to keep a look out for is the Acer Aspire S3, which also sports a similar hybrid hard drive. The other comparison Ulteabooks have solid-state-drives (SSD) instead and tend to boost some of their benchmark scores. In actual usage though, the difference isn't as varied as the scores suggest.

Test Notebooks Compared
Specifications/Notebook Samsung Series 5 Ultra (13-inch) Acer Aspire S3 HP Folio 13 Lenovo Ideapad U300s
Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
(1.6GHz)
Intel Core i7-2637M
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-2467M
(1.6GHz)
Intel Core i7-2677M
(1.8GHz)
Chipset  Intel HM65  Intel UM67 Express Intel HM65  Intel HM65
Memory  4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3  4GB DDR3
Storage 500GB HDD w/16GB Express Cache 320GB Hybrid Drive 128GB SSD 256GB SSD
Video  Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000
Battery 45WHr 36Whr 59Whr 54Whr
Dimensions 315 x 218 x 14.7 - 17.5mm 323 x 219 x 17.5mm 318 x 220 x 18mm 324 x 216 x 14.9mm
Weight 1.47kg 1.35kg 1.49kg 1.32kg

 

PCMark 7

The PC mark 7 is a benchmark that stresses several aspects of the notebook, ranging from its storage capabilities, graphics module and processor. The reason for the above results is that the Samsung notebook is the only unit that uses a Core i5 processor and a hybrid hard drive. Acer comes with a Core i7 processor and an older hybrid drive; HP uses a Core i5 processor but uses an SSD and finally Lenovo is equipped with a Core i7 processor and a SSD drive. As such, there are times the Samsung Series 5 Ultra tends to end up with the lowest scores.

However in terms of normal usage, you wouldn't really feel much difference because the Series 5 Ultra has a solid state cache that helps it stay competitive against units with SSDs in terms of loading speeds.

 

3DMark06

We're still using the 3DMark06 benchmark to test the graphics performance of the notebooks because as of now, the Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics are still unable to handle DirectX 11. The scores from this benchmark would indicate just how capable your notebook would be when playing games. But because all of the notebooks have the same integrated graphics core within the CPU, the scores are very similar. What you can take away from this test is that the Samsung Series 5 Ultra hasn't been handicapped in anyway by the manufacturer. Facebook games, movies, and light multimedia editing definitely won't pose any issues, but anything more intensive and you just might have to consider a non Ultrabook because there's none yet in this form factor to offer a discrete graphics engine.

 

Far Cry 2

The best way to determine if a notebook is good at games, is to put it in a real gaming situation. For this test, we're using the benchmark tool of Far Cry 2 to gauge if it's worth installing any games onto your new Ultrabook. As you can see from the charts below and from the 3DMark results earlier, the Samsung Series 5 Ultra doesn't really perform better, or worse than the other notebooks. However, like we've mentioned before in previous Ultrabook reviews, these machines aren't exactly built for gaming. What you can gauge from this benchmark however, is the fact that it can manage certain less demanding games, but not intensive games like this test.