Notebooks Guide

Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch (Intel Core i5) review

Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch - The First Windows 8 Touchscreen Ultrabook

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Launch SRP S$1549

Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
7.5
Features:
8
Performance:
8.5
Value:
7.5
Mobility:
7.5
THE GOOD
Great battery life
Touchscreen
Good keyboard
THE BAD
Heavier than most 13.3-inch Ultrabooks
Touchscreen not ideal with clamshell form factor
No clickpad


Windows 8 on the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch

Windows 8 on the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch

Using Windows 8’s Modern UI on the Series 5 Ultra Touch is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the multi-touch display is very responsive, and accurately tracks up to five inputs at the same time. The screen itself is also very smooth and fast.

On the other hand, it soon became fairly obvious that a traditional clamshell notebook design just isn’t the best form factor for Windows 8. For a start, the hinge that opens and closes the notebook works against a touchscreen build, as even the lightest tap will result in the screen wobbling annoyingly. Note that the hinge itself is pretty normal for a typical notebook, but they weren't deigned for touchscreen usage in mind as it lacks rigidity. Additionally, the hinge limits the screen angle to about 45 degrees, which makes it hard if not impossible to put the display flat, preventing you from using many apps designed to be used this way (mainly drawing, painting and writing apps).

Secondly, while it may not seem like very far, reaching across the keyboard to touch the screen is fairly annoying, and actually gets quite fatiguing after a while. Ultimately, we ended up preferring the trackpad for navigating Windows 8 on this machine (and it's likely to be the same for most other touchscreen Windows 8 clamshell notebooks to come).

 

Utilities - Samsung Apps

While Samsung is first to market with its Windows 8 Ultrabook, more will be on the way soon. To help it keep its edge, Samsung has attempted to spice things up by bundling a few custom apps with the Ultra Touch, some of which you may recognize from its various Android products. Samsung’s Music, Video, Media and Social Hubs are all present and accounted for, as is the AllShare app, which helps you share content across different devices. Additionally, Samsung is including a few desktop applications designed to soften the learning curve for people new to Windows 8. For example, for those pining for the now-extinct Start Menu, the S-Launcher widget replicates that function.