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Samsung Series 7 laptop: First 5 minutes

Could Samsung's $1,000-plus 15-inch laptop be a legitimate competitor to the MacBook Pro?

Sarah Tew/CNET

I've been a big fan of Samsung's laptop designs, going back to the QX401 last year. While I had spent extensive time with the sleek Series 9 and diminutive Series 3, I was away on vacation when the Series 7 was first introduced. Now that one has arrived at CNET's offices, it seemed like a good time to do a quick first take, based on my first few minutes with the laptop.

Sleek metal: clean cut, brushed lines, very solid. The Series 7 is more impressive than I expected, more along the lines of an Apple MacBook Pro, and the way the HP Envy looked to our eyes for the first time. It's also a wide laptop, but that keyboard goes edge to edge.

The keys are distinctive, almost like they're cut out of Lucite. The white sides glow with backlighting. The keys feel extremely crisp, and laid out with precision. A full number pad on the right makes the most of the space.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A gigantic multitouch clickpad below is MacBook-size. Julie Rivera was impressed, too. It's off-center, which squishes the left palm too much. Will that be a problem?

A matte screen. Surprising. The Series 7's screen has minimal bezel and a clean center hinge, only adding to the MacBook Pro comparisons.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Ports are mostly along the left side. The Ethernet jack has a pull-down mechanism, which slightly compresses the port when it's not being used. On the right side, a single USB 2.0 stands alone next to a slot-loading drive.

The Series 7 feels like a sleeker big brother to the QX line. The Samsung QX411-W01UB doesn't look all that much different, set side-by-side. Is that a good or bad thing? The refinements on the Series 7 take a while to notice.

The specs on our 15.6-inch model, the 700Z5A-S03, are impressive: quad-core 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i7-2675QM processor, AMD Radeon 6750M graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 750GB hard drive. No Blu-ray, however. That comes to $1,299. That's expensive, but it's also $500 less than the closest equivalent MacBook Pro. Is it worth the over-$1,000 price tag? Check back for our full review.