It’s clear that Samsung did their homework before they designed the 700G7A; the unit is replete with well thought out features, clearly designed with gamers in mind (maybe they got input from their Samsung KHAN pro-gaming team?).
The full-sized keyboard features adjustable backlighting: white in most modes, or blue with WASD highlighted in red when the Mode Dial is set to Gaming (more on that below). While we liked the inclusion of WASD lighting, the red back light does seem to only be under the S key with the others being lit by proximity rather than their own light. Fortunately, the WASD keys also feature an outline around their borders, which makes them easy to see with the backlighting off.
The keys themselves are a pleasure to hit, offering a very firm and smooth response, with a surprisingly generous amount of travel – perfect for repeated key pressing. It’s no mechanical keyboard, but it’s probably the closest you’ll find (at least in terms of feel) in a notebook.
The 700G7A’s multi-touch trackpad is well sized and generously wide, with buttons featuring the same smoke-brushed aluminum-looking finish. The trackpad itself is smooth and glassy with hardly any traction, allowing you to move the cursor with blinding speed. The buttons also offer a firm response, with a solid click. Tracking is impressively accurate; we actually played a few rounds of Starcraft II using it, and were pleasantly surprised by how little we missed our mouse. Sounds unreal, but we were pleasantly surprised from our experience too.
Anyone with a gaming notebook would have encountered the problem of switching between integrated and discrete graphics. While most notebooks have automatic recognition, the software can be far from perfect, requiring you to go into the program software to manually configure the correct GPU setting.
The 700G7A features a Mode Dial that takes the pain out of the entire process. Four settings are available: Power Saving, Library mode, Balanced, and Gaming. Now all you have to do is flick the dial to Gaming, and it will automatically select the Radeon HD 6970M GPU, turn CPU fans to 100%, optimize CPU performance, disable the Windows key, and switch the keyboard to WASD backlighting. How's that for convenience?
Balanced mode can be used for general use where hardware requirements aren’t as high, while Library mode will instantly reduce fan noise, mute the speakers and turn off all unnecessary lights. Power Saving will help conserve battery life.
The 700G7A features a 2.1-channel sound system and utilizes Dolby’s Surround Sound Home Theater technology. Audio was crisp, clear and extremely loud – 50% volume on the 700G7A feels like 80% on most other notebooks. We were also impressed by the 700G7A’s subwoofer, which produced a deep, rumbling bass - perfect for games with lots of explosions (or any Michael Bay movie).
The 700G7A uses TriDef 3D, AMD’s preferred third-party software for 3D applications. Most 3D gaming notebooks use NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology so it was a surprise to see Samsung choose AMD.
One major difference between the two technologies is ease of use. For TriDef, to enable 3D, the game must be launched through the TriDef Ignition panel. After that, settings can be adjusted by bringing up the On Screen Display, via the num pad 0 key. To compare, NVIDIA will automatically detect your 3D Vision glasses, and turn 3D on appropriately.
In game, the two technologies are visually identical. Running Call of Duty: Black Ops on the 700G7A side by side the Alienware M17X R3 (which uses NVIDIA 3D Vision), both displayed excellent depth of field with no ghosting issues.
As for the glasses themselves, we felt that Samsung’s pair was more comfortable, weighing a bit less than the standard NVIDIA pair, and constructed from a lightweight, flexible plastic that helps it adjust to the size of your head. The nosebridge on the Samsung pair is also adjustable, compared to NVIDIA’s rigid plastic nosepiece. On a final note, we also felt that the Samsung pair was more comfortable for wearing over a conventional pair of glasses