Review: Samsung Series 7 All-in-One PC

Samsung's Series 9 was our top all-in-one of 2012. Thus, we had high hopes when we tested out the Samsung Series 7 for our February 2013 roundup.

NameAll-in-one PC: Samsung Series 7 All-in-One PC (DP700A3D-S04AU)
At a glance:Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core CPU,6GB RAM,AMD Radeon HD 7690M graphics (1GB),1TB 5400RPM hard drive
Summary:Not geared toward touch use, but an attractive and capable home desktop nonetheless.

Samsung’s Series 9 was our top all-in-one of 2012. Thus, we had high hopes when we tested out the Samsung Series 7 for our February roundup.

Where the Series 9 defied convention with a design somewhere between retro sci-fi and modern art, the Series 7 has much more sedate styling. A bare metal screen bezel and convincingly faux-metal stand support a 23.6-inch touchscreen. It’s attractive, yet understated enough that it fits in anywhere and looks no more intrusive than a large picture frame.

The stand provides a vertical tilt between 70-95 degrees. This is fine for a regular monitor, but 70 degrees is hardly enough of an incline for comfortable touch. If you intend to use the touchscreen often, perhaps for touch-based games or painting applications, it’s a severely limiting factor. Most competing products provide a greater lean, some even lying completely flat for tabletop use.

A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included, along with a media remote control reminiscent of Samsung’s standard television remotes. The mouse and remote work fine, though the keyboard has very shallow key travel and is uncomfortable to type on at speed or for long periods.

The LED-backlit LCD screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels, a reasonable match to the 23-inch screen size providing 93 pixels-per-inch. However, while fine from a comfortable screen-viewing distance, it’s not nearly as sharp as it could be when you come up close to use the touchscreen.

Contrast, colour uniformity and colour accuracy are all good, with the display scoring 4/5 when tested with the Spyder4 Elite calibration tool.

Under the hood is an Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core CPU, 6GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 7690M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Storage is a 1TB, 5400RPM hard drive, and a tray-loading Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo.

Overall performance is good, with high computational power both per-core, and overall for a dual-core machine. It’s about in line with a midrange laptop, able to run modern games at low to moderate graphical settings, and easily handle tasks such as web browsing, photo editing, and even basic video editing.

The one performance bottleneck is the 5400RPM hard drive, which slows down disk-based tasks like starting applications, load times in games, and working with large files. With many of the laptops we test now shipping with solid-state drives, or at least 7200RPM hard drives, the Series 7 really lags behind in storage performance. For a basic home PC, this is a fair tradeoff for the storage capacity.

There’s a fair range of connections including three USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, HDMI output, HDMI input that allows you to use the Series 7 as a monitor, separate headphone and microphone sockets, Ethernet port and a digital TV tuner. You also get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

There are a couple of annoyances, though. The included wireless mouse and keyboard require a small USB adapter, which takes up one of your five USB ports. The ports are all quite hard to access, too. Most are below the hinge at the rear, making any cable mess clearly visible from the front. The SD card reader, both USB 3.0 ports and headphone/mic sockets are hidden behind a completely unnecessary flip-out cover on the left-hand side, behind the screen bezel. They’re about mid-way up the screen, so if you’re connecting up a USB 3.0 external hard drive for long-term use, expect the cable to dangle awkwardly down the side.

Samsung’s Series 7 all-in-one is attractive and elegant, as long as you don’t need to start plugging things in. Though it supports touch, it’s very much a secondary input method given that the screen doesn’t tilt far enough back to use it comfortably for extended periods. This is not the sort of all-in-one you’d buy as a giant graphics tablet, or for touch gaming. However, it performs well as a home PC, a nice intermediate step between bulky desktop and small-screened laptop. At $2,499, recommended for home or small-business users that are after something compact and standalone, and aren’t planning to make much use of the touch interface.

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Tags desktopWindows 8touchtouchscreen

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Harley Ogier

Harley Ogier

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