The story of last year's CES was all ultrabooks; this year, the PC story is all about Windows 8 and touch. Samsung's latest laptop fuses both into a touch-screen computer that's hardly a surprise but meets what feels like a new expectation threshold in upper-tier Windows ultrabooks.
The 13.3-inch Series 7 is a new ultrabook for Samsung, as opposed to last year's top-end Series 9 and budget-targeted Series 5. The all-aluminum laptop is more "multimedia-targeted" than the Series 9 ever was, with a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, discrete AMD HD8570M graphics, and JBL speakers. It's also bigger, at 3.2 pounds and 17.5mm thick or 3.6 pounds and 18.9mm for the touch-screen Ultras. The slimmed-down Series 9 from mid-2012 weighed a mere 2.6 pounds.
Besides the optional touch screen configuration, the Series 7 Ultra can be built with either a Core i5 or i7 ULV processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and a maximum 256GB SSD. It's also equipped with 1 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 ports and optional 4G LTE, although prices haven't been specified.
The Series 7 Ultra joins the larger, more fully equipped touch-screen 15-inch Series 7 Chronos to form the first wave of Samsung's CES 2013 offerings. Both laptops lack optical drives, a trend that seems to be unavoidable in the age of tablets.