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Samsung 700Z7CH review: Samsung 700Z7CH

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This is a fixed-configuration laptop, but Samsung does make a different 17-inch Series 7 laptop. The Series 7 Gamerhas a thicker body, and costs $1,899, but includes twice the RAM, at 16GB, and 50-percent more hard drive space, with a big 1.5TB drive, as well as a very high-end GeForce GTX 675 GPU. It's also nearly twice as thick and weighs 2 pounds more.

In this thinner version, the 2,3GHz Intel Core i7-3615QM CPU performed well, only slightly behind the more expensive 17-inch Origin Eon-17S, and closely matching Samsung's similar Series 7 Gamer laptop. This is definitely more than enough laptop for nearly any task, from video editing to heavy multitasking.

That said, I wish gaming performance from the not-at-all-shabby Nvidia GeForce GT 650M GPU was better. The system ran our Street Fighter IV benchmark at full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution at 86.8 frames per second, and the very challenging Metro 2033 test at the same resolution as 12.3 frames per second. The Series 7 Gamer from Samsung ran those two tests at 161.5 and 19.3 frames per second -- which, to be fair, is why that system is called the "Gamer." Still, for around $1,500, it's reasonable to expect more, especially when while anecdotally trying to play a brand-new PC game, Spec Ops: The Line, I found performance to be choppy, even at low detail settings (but still at the maximum resolution).

Juice box
Samsung Series 7 700Z7CH Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.32
Sleep (10 percent) .65
Idle (25 percent) 8.62
Load (5 percent) 55.88
Raw kWh 45.60
Annual energy cost $5.18

As a large 17-inch desktop replacement laptop, it's wise not to go in expecting too much in the way of battery life from the Series 7. In fact, in our video-playback battery-drain test, the system ran for an impressive 5 hours and 42 minutes. Thanks to the efficient third-gen Intel Core-series processor and Nividia Optimus GPU switching, this is a rare long-lasting 17-inch laptop. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer system ran significantly for less time, only 2 hours and 33 minutes on the same test.

Samsung includes a standard one-year warranty with the Series 7. Samsung's Web site has an easy-to-find phone number (1-800-726-7864) and a variety of live chat support options, plus manual and driver downloads. The support page also inlcudes contact info for tech help via Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.

As 17-inch and larger laptops become less common (even Apple has ditched the cult favorite 17-inch MacBook Pro), your choices for a desktop replacement are narrower than ever. That said, the slim, ultrabook-like Samsung Series 7 might be the nicest-looking big-screen laptop I've seen in a long time, and it's just about as powerful as many bigger, less attractive, more expensive systems.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Samsung NP700Z7C7-S01
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3615QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 1TB Seagate 5400rpm

Dell XPS 14
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB Hitachi 5400rpm

Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch w/ Retina Display (June 2012)
OS X 10.7.4 Lion; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M + 512MB Intel HD 4000; 256GB Apple SSD

Samsung NP700G7C-S01US
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M; 750GB Hitachi 7200rpm

Origin EON17-S (Ivy Bridge - Intel Core i7-3920XM)
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-3920XM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; HDD #1: 1TB SAMSUNG 5400rpm + HDD #2/3: 240GB Corsair Force SSD (x2) RAID 0

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