Friday, January 4th, 2013
Windows 8 is still in its adoption stage, but we’re already seeing tons of pushes from manufacturers such as Samsung. The Korean company takes a shot with an Ultrabook – one with a touchscreen in the form of the Series 5 Ultra Touch. Is it worth your money? Check out our review after the break.
Design and Construction
Premium. That’s one word to describe the ultraportable. The brushed metallic design doesn’t feel like it’s going to get scratched soon and all-in-all, it’s just a beautiful device.
Unlike most Ultrabooks, this one has a bit of extra thickness and this is all due to the touch-enabled display. The dimensions of the device does not feel like a liability. It’s fairly heavy for its size and specs after all.
You’ll find the usual stuff here, and that’s the Samsung logo on the left part of the lid; pop it open you’ll find the 13-inch touchscreen, the keyboard, the trackpad, the power button, the LED indicators, the microphone and the traditional labels.
The speakers are found at the bottom while on the sides you’ll find the basic ports (USB, Ethernet, HDMI & etc.). All-in-all, the Series 5 Ultra Touch does not fail to impress when it comes to its build.
The Series 5 Ultra Touch features a 13.3-inch touch-enabled display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. We are happy to say that the bright screen gives off natural and vibrant colors – but there’s a catch; the display has bad viewing angles.
To be honest, almost everything about the display is acceptable and fine, but the viewing angles provided by the laptop just destroys the experience. On the other hand, reading text was on the average. It’s not bad but for a laptop at this price, it can definitely do better.
The touch capabilities of the device are great. It was accurate and responsive for the most part and it made the Windows 8 experience a lot better.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Samsung provides us with a chiclet keyboard that does extremely well. We found typing on the Series 5 Ultra Touch a joy as it provides sufficient space, springiness and texture. The only problem that we had with the keyboard was the lack of backlit keys.
The trackpad is spacious and does well – but at times it does weird gestures that brings out some unwanted Windows 8 functionality. There are some gestures in Windows 8, but the point is that the trackpad accidentally bring out things that are uncalled for. It’s acceptable, but then again, there is room for improvement.
The speakers found at the bottom do a very good job at producing sound. It’s loud and fairly clear at making music while the built-in microphone does good in recording audio.
On top of the display, there’s a webcam. It does a good job in taking shots and in making video calls. The quality will be more than enough for most users.
Video playback wasn’t great by any instance as the bad viewing angles brought by the display make it difficult for a group of people to watch a movie. If you’re alone however, it can suffice – but only on certain angles.
Performance & Battery
The 1.7 GHz Core i5 processor cooperated well with Windows 8. Everything was fast and fluid, from powering on to shutting down. The 4 GB of RAM was nothing but useful. The Ultra Touch was still able to run smoothly with so many internet tabs open along with some other Modern UI apps.
Samsung has incorporated some of its apps such as S Camera and S Gallery. The Windows 8 apps work good already and we weren’t able to find use for some of Samsung’s apps. They are there to stay, and occasionally we did use them.
Where the device really slowed down was in the field of graphics. It had no dedicated graphics card, and it was a little slow on processing huge files. We tried editing full HD videos on Movie Maker and hi-res photos on Adobe Photoshop; it was really trying hard to do the task, and it even crashed rarely.
We managed to squeeze approximately 5 hours of use on the Ultra Touch’s battery. Most of that usage was just plain internet surfing and basic photo editing. The bottom of the device also heats up easily.
There is a lot to like about the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch. One of the things we loved was the convergence of the accurate & responsive touchscreen with the amazing keyboard. It’s good for a lot of things indeed, especially with Windows 8, but we found some things that could use improvement.
It’s a solid well-designed Ultrabook with beyond decent specs. The Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch is a good buy, but you need to heavily think about the things that it doesn’t pack such as good viewing angles, a backlit keyboard and at least a dedicated graphics card. It’s far from perfect, but experience-wise – it could be worth it.
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch specs:
13.3″ touchscreen LED display @ 1366×768 pixels
1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor 3317U
Intel HD 4000 Graphics
4GB DDR3 RAM
500GB Hard Drive
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 8 (64-bit)
12.4″ x 8.6″ x 0.66″ – 0.78″
What we liked about it:
- Responsive & accurate touchscreen
- Smooth operation
- Bright display
- Solid & premium design
- Loud sound
What we didn’t like about it:
- Poor viewing angles
- No backlit keyboard
- Display resolution could be better
- No dedicated graphics card