Review: Samsung Series 7 Chronos
- — 26 June, 2012 22:00
|Name||Laptop: Samsung Series 7 Chronos|
|At a glance:||15.6-inch 1600x900 LED-backlit display,2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2675QM CPU, 8GB RAM,AMD 6750M 1GB GPU ,1TB, 5400RPM hard drive with 8GB SSD Cache|
|Summary:||If you need a small, light, good-looking yet powerful workhorse with SSD-like responsiveness, look no further.|
We took a look at the Chronos in May 2012’s issue, where it scored 4.5 stars. However, we missed a rather significant feature which sets it apart from most other notebooks in its price range: an onboard solid-state drive.
This SSD isn’t actually user accessible – 8GB wouldn’t even be enough to hold the operating system even if it was – but simply acts as a cache for the 1TB 5400RPM hard drive (which we also misreported as a 750GB 7200RPM drive) by using software-based ExpressCache technology similar to Intel’s Smart Response Technology.
This functionality is totally invisible to the user save for the performance enhancements. In a nutshell, the ExpressCache software will analyse hard drive usage and will store up to 8GB of the most-often used data on the fast-access SSD for quick retrieval. This results in quicker Windows boot times, faster application loading times, and generally a ‘snappier’ feeling to the whole system, much as you would expect to see if it had a traditional, separate solid state drive.
The hybridised drive is an excellent, cost-efficient way of boosting performance in a laptop and I applaud Samsung for implementing it – let’s hope others follow suit.
The attractive brushed aluminium case on the Chronos is 24mm thick, making it the thinnest laptop in our June 2012 roundup, and it weighs 2.3kg, which also makes it the lightest.
Despite this lithe design it still packs some decent hardware with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2675QM processor, an AMD Radeon HD6750M 1GB video card with graphics switching, 1TB 5400RPM hard drive (plus aforementioned 8GB solid-state cache) and 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory.
On top of these specs the Chronos has a 1600 x 900-pixel 15.6-inch screen perfect for watching 16:9 widescreen movies on; pity the slot-loading optical drive is just a DVD-RW drive, not Blu-ray.
Surprisingly, the Chronos falls slightly behind HP's Envy 15 (15-3012TX) and Acer's Aspire 5951G (2678G75Bikk) in a few of our CPU-bound benchmarks despite having the same processor. Perhaps the larger build of the HP and Acer allows better cooling systems and thus more headroom for the Turbo Boost feature to run the chip at faster speeds which would improve their results.
Having said that, the Samsung keeps pace in the gaming benchmarks, and even tops the charts for total PCMark7 score – I’d bet my bottom dollar that this is thanks to the onboard SSD.
Screen viewing angles were poor and the LCD suffers from glare, but shadow details and colour accuracy were as good as the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Most impressive was the battery life: it topped scores in the Battery Eater Pro 2.70 Classic test with 1 hour 42 minutes and second place in the Reader’s test with 6 hours 12 minutes.