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Samsung Series 7 700Z5A review:

Samsung Series 7 700Z5A

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Typical Price: £999.00
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The Good Sleek styling; Excellent performance; Cheaper than a MacBook Pro.

The Bad Not a unibody chassis; Screen not quite Full HD; No Blu-ray drive.

The Bottom Line Samsung's Series 7 700Z5A looks set to tackle Apple's MacBook Pro with its sleek aluminium styling, powerful specs and much cheaper price tag.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.3 Overall

Review Sections

Samsung's new addition to the Series 7 line of laptops is evidently hoping to get all up in the face of Apple's MacBook Pro. The sleek, aluminium design brings to mind Apple's offspring and similar specs are on offer. Samsung is hoping to do some damage by offering its new addition for much less.

Various configurations are available now, ranging from an Intel Core i5 with 6GB RAM for £799 to an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB RAM at the top end for £999.

Design and build quality

If you've always wanted a laptop so fancy that it melts the face of those around you, then you may be a little disappointed with the Series 7. It's wrapped in a brushed aluminium shell that is entirely devoid of fancy swirls or flowers.

Not that we're complaining; the minimal look works well here and makes the Series 7 700Z5A appear very sleek and smart. If we were trotting off to an important boardroom meeting we'd be very happy taking this guy along with us. He's definitely more about business than pleasure though, so we'd be less happy pulling him out in a bar than we would the MacBook Pro.

The only distinguishing feature found on the top is a subtle Samsung logo. It's much more appealing to look at than the massive branding found on Samsung's NS310 netbook. We're also glad that Samsung hasn't opted for the bright blue plastic look found on that either.

The 15.6-inch screen size makes the Series 7 700Z5A fairly portable. It's also pretty slim so it should slip into a case without too much trouble.

The metal shell made the Series 7 700Z5A feel very sturdy in our hands. We made sure to have a good prod and poke to see if we could detect signs of weakness. There was very little flex offered from the lid, the keyboard or from the wrist-rest. We're pretty confident it can put up with some punishment.

Samsung Series 7 700Z5A lid
It's not a unibody construction -- it's a mix of metal and plastic -- but what do you expect for £800 less than a MacBook Pro?

Dare we say the all-aluminium shell looks rather like the MacBook Pro? We will, yes. Because it does. The Series 7 700Z5A can arguably be seen as Samsung's rival to Apple's Pro, in the same way that the Series 9 was the rival to the MacBook Air.

The Series 7 700Z5A doesn't have the same unibody construction as the Pro. It's made from a combination of metals and plastics so it won't be as sturdy as the Pro. Neither does it have the same luxury look or feel. However, at a considerably lower price than the Pro, it's difficult to complain about this.

Screen

Under the lid is a 15.6-inch screen with a very narrow bezel, which looks great. Many laptops whack a huge amount of plastic around the screen that makes the whole machine chunkier than it needs to be. So it's nice to see Samsung cutting back here.

Samsung Series 7 700Z5A screen
The chunk-free bezel benefits from Samsung cutting back on the plastic.

The screen has a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels. Sadly that isn't enough to qualify as Full HD so it won't display your hi-def content at its best. It's not far off though, so your movies and pictures will still look pretty good. We found that even small text on web pages was displayed with great clarity.

The Series 7 700Z5A has an HDMI port so you can at least hook it up to a big TV if you want to watch a load of HD stuff.

The matte coating on the screen means that annoying reflections are reduced to a minimum, even under bright outdoor light. Matte coatings do have the tendency of making a good screen seem dull so Samsung has countered this by making the screen exceptionally bright.

The videos we watched on it looked very bright and clear and colours were displayed well. We could happily watch full-length movies on this chap without a single complaint (unless we ran out of sweets, then we'd moan like crazy).

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