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Samsung Series 7 Chronos review

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

The new Samsung Series 7 Chronos has changed quite alot. It's a little bigger and heavier than before, and is an extra centimetre longer in width and depth, but the slight increase in weight makes it feel sturdy and well built. It's powerful too, thanks to a quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3635QM processor that can turbo boost to 3.4GHz and 8GB of RAM. It whizzed through our multimedia benchmarks, scoring 90 overall. This is just 10 points so it shouldn't have any problem handling multiple applications at the same time, or those that require brute force processing.

It has a 1TB mechanical hard drive rather than a faster SSD, but the mechanical drive makes much more sense in a laptop such as this, as it provides enough storage for many applications and a large media library.

The Chronos has dedicated graphics in the form of an AMD Radeon HD 8870M graphics processor, and it performed very well in Dirt Showdown benchmark test, producing a very smooth 51.4fps at a resolution of 1,280x720 with graphics quality set to High. It could even run the graphically challenging Crysis 2 at the same resolution and quality setting, providing a comfortable average frame rate of 43.4fps. Sadly, it could only manage an average frame rate of 20fps at Ultra quality and a higher resolution 1,920x1,080. Even so, the Chronos is a fairly capable gaming laptop, even if it isn't intended to be. Whether you prefer to play games, watch movies or employ your creativity with video-editing softare, you'll love the Chronos's stunning 15.6in Full HD touchscreen. Its glossy finish is a little reflective, but it really helped primary colours look rich and vivid in solid colour image tests; blacks were deep and lit evenly across the screen. Whites looked ever so slightly grey, but this wasn't particularly noticeable in everyday use.

The display's main highlight, though, is its 10-point touch support. It's not particularly well suited to playing multitouch games, as simply using the onscreen keyboard made it wobble quite a lot, but it's very responsive and easy to use. No trouble using it to display the Windows 8 Charms bar, switch between individual windows or open individual links and files. Occasionally, it failed to register touch towards the outer extremities of the screen when switching internet tabs, for example, but on the whole it was very accurate and precise.

Typing on the Chronos is very comfortable. Its full-sized Chiclet-style keys provided lots of tactile feedback, and we like its numberpad. The edge of the Chronos's keyboard tray dug into our wrists slightly, which proved irritating, but there's ample room for adjusting your typing position thanks to the generous size of its wrist rest. We liked its large all-in-one touchpad, too. It felt like it was positioned a little too far to the right at times, as our hand often hovered dangerously close to its top corner, but we never found ourselves brushing it accidentally while typing. It was very accurate during everyday use and although it doesn't have physical buttons, we found the clickable touchpad easy to use. It also provided a surprising amount of grip and control when using multitouch gestures as well, which made tasks such as pinch-zooming and two-finger scrolling very easy to perform.

One of the Chronos's most impressive features is its huge battery life. In light use tests, with the screen set to half brightness, the Chronos lasted a very impressive 9 hours and 36 minutes. This is one of the longest battery scores recorded, so you should get a full day's work out of it before you need to recharge it. It has two USB3 and two USB2 ports. One USB3 port acts as a PowerSave port that can charge devices when the laptop's switched off. It also has a VGA and HDMI port for connecting it to an external display, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card reader and a combined headphone and microphone jack.

Unusually, we didn't feel the need to use a pair of external speakers, with the Chronos, as its internal 4W JBL speakers are some of the best laptop speakers we've heard. Despite being located underneath the main chassis, they provided lots of volume and the bass was surprisingly rich in test tracks. The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a hugely impressive laptop. It's expensive, but with near desktop levels of performance, a competent graphics processor and a massive battery life, it's also great value. It truly deserves its Ultimate award.

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