Monday, July 30, 2012

Samsung Series 5 14 inch Ultrabook -- First Impressions

Just got a Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook, the 14 inch, one. The device comes configured with a 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM (DDR3), a Core i5 processor and a Radeon display card.

These are my first impressions on the device, but before I start this, I must say that I was actually trying to get the 13.3”, with an SSD instead of the HDD. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it anywhere in the Egyptian market, and all my trials to contact Samsung Egypt were unsucessful.

The first thing I liked about it was it's keyboard. I like the US layout over the British layout (the one with the big “ENTER” key). It's been a while since I had a keyboard to my liking which is nice.

The big touchpad is also a plus, and it feels really nice and smooth with nice “click” to its buttons.

The full VGA and HDMI ports (vs. mini and micro VGA and HDMI ports) are another plus, since the device is thick enough to accommodate them with ease. This spares me the trouble of carrying converting cables all the time, as I do lots of presentations.

Another thing I liked, although might be considered unorthodox in these devices is that it has both the mic and phones jack combined together in one. To be frank, I haven't tested it, yet, but my guess is that a headset compatible with Android phones would be recognized by the device. Another save on the cables side!

Now to the things I didn't like.

The things that I hate the most is the heat! The device does get over-heated and high on temperature to an annoying level. In fact, I couldn't keep it on my legs for more than 20 minutes, and it was starting to feel real hot.

The second annoyance is the monitor. The vertical viewing angle is very small, leading to a distorted display whenever I raise or lower my body. I had to re-adjust the monitor angle every time I shifted in my seating position.

The third thing, which I consider a disappointment, is the battery life. Fully charged, the battery lasted around 3hrs 20minutes, with the brightness set to about 70% and no USB devices connected neither a CD-ROM used. Moreover, I was connected via an Ethernet cable and disabling the WiFi!! To be frank, I don't know if this is the normal trend of the battery, or is it just my unit, but I recall reading somewhere online that this device's battery lasts for 6+hrs. (Might do a recheck that). (UPDATE: [2012-07-31]: I was able to get a battery life a little over 5 hours, today. It is probably because I installed all the drivers and used the Easy Settings Application to Optimize the Power Usage. The problem is: all this is done under Windows. Under Linux, things can't get that good, unfortunately)

The device utilized a 16GB SSD for hibernating and fast booting, which is a plus, in my opinion.

Installing Ubuntu 12.04 was a breeze, and it detected everything correctly. Now I'm planning to re-install it with partition setup that would allow for fast booting and hibernate/wakeup, utilizing the 16GB SSD as boot and root partitions, but that will be the talk of another day!