CNET First Look
Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch hands-onWith a slim, sturdy design, and a powerful mainstream CPU, the touch-enabled Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch is a great sub-$900 13-inch Windows 8 machine.
I'm Dan Ackerman, and we are here taking a look at the Samsung Series 5. Now we've looked at Series 5 laptops before, and I'm sure we're gonna look at them again. This 13-inch model however is a little bit different in that it is the first one we're seeing with Windows 8 and a touchscreen on it, which means that Samsung is taking its existing Series 5 line which has been perfectly nice and updating it, so it goes toe-to-toe with pretty much every other current laptop out there. The nice thing about this particular system is it sits right in the middle of kind of the price band we've seen a lot of 13-inch Windows 8 laptops that are $1300 and even $1600, very nice machines. We've seen a bunch of Windows 8 laptops that are under 600 dollars, and for the money that you spend, they're actually pretty good, although a little bit more plasticky, not quite as high end. The Series 5 here, even though Samsung has higher end lines like the Series 7 and the Series 9, this one is still made almost entirely of metal, feels very solid, nice brushed metal sort of accents on the back of the lid, on the keyboard tray here. You definitely would not be embarrassed to pull this out at a coffee shop, even though it's Samsung's mid-price line. This particular configuration has got a Core i5 processor. It's got a standard 500 gig hard drive, a little SSD cache on it, and it's $850 which is a pretty reasonable price especially when you consider the design and the construction. The workmanship is definitely a little bit above average from what you normally get for that price. There are a couple of things that make this feel like a little bit more of a budget product. Number 1, the screen resolution is only 1366 x 768; that still works for 13-inch laptop, any bigger and it sort of starts to look a little bit dated. And you've also got the touchpad with the separate left and right mouse buttons; in most modern or more high-end laptops they're all moving towards that single pad, click pad design where the buttons are sort of integrated right into it. Other than that however, you pretty much get all the bells and whistles that you'd expect from a current Windows 8 laptop including the 10-input touchscreen. For 850 bucks, you're probably not gonna find something that's quite as solid, quite as roadworthy as this. I am Dan Ackerman, and that is the Samsung Series 5.