Hands on with the 12.5-inch Samsung Series 3: Thin Series 9 alternative on a budget
Samsung's new Series 3 line of laptops features a thin, impressively sized 12.5-incher that won't break your bank account. We go hands-on.
More than a month after we got our laptops that included some very attractive and affordable 12- and 11-inch ultraportables, the 12.5-inch version of the Series 3 has arrived at CNET's offices. We've taken it out of its box and will be running it through benchmarks and testing it, but for now here are our initial impressions., a new mainstream line of Samsung
: why pay a lot of money for a thin laptop if you can get one for cheaper? While the Series 3 isn't technically an "Ultrabook" by Intel's definitions--it's thicker and uses a regular non-solid-state hard drive--this little laptop reminds us a lot of the
To explain, demystify, and perhaps befuddle even further: "Series 3" actually refers to a whole line of Samsung laptops, ranging from 11.6 inches up to the full-size 15.6 inches. Yes, that's incredibly confusing. And, even more baffling, the 11.6-inch and 12.5-inch Series 3s coexist (an 11.6-inch Series 3, the NP300U1A,for $599).
Our 12.5-inch version has a model number "NT350-U2A," which is a Korean model, but in the U.S. it'll be known as the NP350U2B-A01US. At $749, it'll include 4GB of RAM, a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2410M processor, and a 500GB standard hard drive (our model has a Core i3 processor). It amounts to the specs of a full-fledged laptop, shrunken down into a 3-pound chassis that's a hair under an inch thick.
Getting down to the basics: this particular model Series 3 is very thin, nearly as much as the
Ports lining the narrow edges include two USB, a fold-down Ethernet port, SD card slot, HDMI, and a mini-port that looks like it's meant to accept a VGA dongle. It covers the bases for what you'd expect on a thin laptop.
This Samsung Series 3 is light, sits comfortably in our lap, and is one of the thinnest little laptops we've seen outside of a