Samsung: Best and Worst Laptop Brands 2015

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Firmly in the middle of the pack, Samsung doesn’t blow us away, but it isn’t a brand you should ignore, either. The company fared pretty well on our tech support showdown, but didn’t stand out in any other category. Generally speaking, Samsung’s laptops are made with quality construction, but the company doesn’t make very many of them. Primarily, this is the brand to consider if you’re looking for a premium Ultrabook or an affordable Chromebook. Look elsewhere for more variety.

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Reviews (14 out of 20)

Samsung has been scaling back on the number of notebooks it makes — we reviewed just three of its systems this past year — but all are high quality. By focusing its efforts on high-end systems such as the ATIV Book 9 (4 stars) and the budget-minded Chromebook 2 (3.5 stars), Samsung has been able to deliver consistently strong products.

Tech Support (18 out of 20)

Samsung continues to fine-tune its tech support, which led to a tie for second place in our last survey. The company added a unique new feature called SPOT (Smart Personal Online Training) that connects laptop owners with knowledgeable Samsung reps. Generally speaking, Samsung did a great job of supplying answers online and over the phone, with the notable exception of knowing how to deal with the company’s own SideSync software.

Design (11 out of 15)

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It’s not that Samsung doesn’t know how to make a pretty notebook — it does. Just check out the ATIV Book 9 (2014 Edition) or the upcoming refresh, the ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook. Made from an Ash Black aluminum chassis, both notebooks are stunning, with dangerous curves in all the right places. It’s just a variation on a theme we’ve seen for the past two years. While we appreciate that the upcoming Ultrabook will weigh a scant 2 pounds, it’s not enough to vault Samsung to the top. The faux-leather clad Chromebook 2 and Chromebook 2 (Intel) don’t bolster the company’s case, either.

MORE: Best Samsung Laptops

Keyboard & Touchpad (8 out of 15)

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Perhaps Samsung should stick to devices with touch screens, because its laptop keyboards are unimpressive. Every Samsung notebook we reviewed suffered from shallow, mushy keys. For good measure, the ATIV Book 9 adds in a touchpad that stuck occasionally and failed at many multitouch gestures in our tests.

Display (7 out of 10)

Because Samsung is now focusing on the extreme low end (Chromebooks) and high end of the laptop market, its screens are understandably a mixed bag. We found the Chromebook 2 to have limited viewing angles with just decent brightness (214 nits), but the 15.6-inch ATIV Book 9 boasted a colorful panel (98 percent of the gamut) with plenty of brightness (279 nits). The 13-inch ATIV Book 9 Plus’ quad HD screen (3200 x 1800 pixels) is sharper with generous viewing angles.

Innovation (2 out of 5)

Samsung hasn’t put a huge focus on new notebooks or innovations over the past year, instead opting to make small improvements to its already solid products. The company recently infused its Chromebook 2 with a beefier Intel Celeron processor. The ATIV Book series remains Samsung’s flagship, and consistently impresses with its thin design, bright display and rich audio. The 2015 edition of the ATIV Book 9 is Samsung’s lightest yet, boasting a strikingly slim 2-pound frame and a crisp, quad HD 12.2-inch display.

Audio (3 out of 5)

Samsung’s audio quality falters on its low-end laptops. The speakers on the Samsung Chromebook 2, while loud at 91dB, sounded consistently scratchy. However, the ATIV Book 9 is enhanced with Dolby Digital technology and produced accurate sound with a strong definition between high and low end. Overall, Samsung’s notebooks averaged 87dB, which is slightly higher than the 85dB category average.

Value & Selection (2 out of 5)

While its selection is a little larger than Apple’s, the Samsung family of laptops consists of just two Chromebooks and a few flavors of the ATIV Book 9 and 9 Plus. Unlike Apple, Samsung offers affordable systems that run from $250 to $400. However, both companies fall flat on selection, and Samsung’s lack of an online configurator hurts, too.

Software (3 out of 5)

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Samsung’s laptops saw updated SideSync software this year, which now supports Samsung devices running Android KitKat and later, and computers running Window XP and later or Mac OS. This helpful software conveniently lets you receive phone calls and text messages on your computer. We also like that you can share your phone’s screen on your laptop, and drag and drop content between your PC and your phone.

MORE: Best Laptops

Samsung Link, which lets you access all your content across all your devices, was also updated to integrate with Windows File Explorer. ATIV Book 9s and the One 7 Curved ship with S Player+ media player and S PhotoStudio image viewer and editor. While the upgrades are incremental, Samsung’s offerings are still useful.

Best & Worst Laptop Brands 2015

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  1. Cerelia Says:

    I’m assuming whoever did this review never actually had an issue with the Series 7 Chronos which required serious technical support.

    Important to note that Samsung has the worst warranty process I’ve ever experienced, and as a result, I’ll never purchase their laptops again. I’ve had Toshibas, Dells, IBMs, etc. I’m a high-end power user (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.) and I’m also extremely tech-savvy when it comes to fixing electronics. I purchased this laptop and the drive crashed after 2 months. I had to send the laptop to their Texas facility (it took 3 weeks for the turnaround)… 2 months later, the system crashed a second time. In a 1 year period, this laptop has crashed a total of 4 separate drives. Each time, reloading my system with all my software takes a good 4hrs. Imagine, each time you lose your laptop for 3 weeks. Their “executive customer relations” department is without a doubt, the worst, rudest, and most arrogant department I’ve ever had the misfortune to deal with. Samsung’s entry into the laptop market really leaves a lot to be desired. This has been a nightmare experience from beginning to end. They don’t give a damn about the customer.

    When they finally offered a “same as or better” replacement, they considered that offering me a 15.6″ laptop screen instead of the 17.3″ I currently had was the “same or better”. Also, their “refund” was not for my full purchase price – it was for $200 less after a year of continual crashes. I finally gave up with them, filed a claim with Amex platinum and they refunded me the entire price – let them deal with this garbage. My time is worth much more than spending in excess of 10hrs dealing with Samsung…

    Incidentally, after the 1TB drive failed that arrived with the system, I purchased a solid state drive. It then crashed that drive. Luckily that drive (by Crucial) was under its own warranty and they have had to continually replace it for me 3 times. At this point, they won’t replace it for me any more as it’s obvious the fault is with the laptop. So, I’m out the price of the solid state drive ($350). Samsung, even though they accept responsibility that the laptop caused the failures will give me no reimbursement at all.

    It really is the absolute worst customer service. It is not only the laptop that stops me from buying from them again, it’s the support – if something goes wrong, you really are in trouble.

  2. Daniel Wayne Says:

    I have chronos 7 np700z5b. The design of laptop is 10/10. I fall in love with design but touch pad started to feel bad first year. I also had bad pixel on the screen since I bought it. I sent it before warranty finishes. I also said I have an issue with touch pad. They didn’t change the touchpad but key

  3. Daniel Wayne Says:

    I have chronos 7 np700z5b. The design of laptop is 10/10. I fall in love with design but touch pad started to feel bad first year. I also had bad pixel on the screen since I bought it. I sent it before warranty finishes. I also said I have an issue with touch pad. it was denting. They didn’t change the touchpad/trackpad but they changed keyboard and around metal frame. Keyboard and metal frame still looks nice but touchpad/trackpad messed up. Its been killing me last 7 months and now. It is clicking itself. It doesn’t point right direction. I also have an issue with plastic frame. Its been loose and effects my screen. I hope my screen won’t be broken. The experience I had, wasn’t nice.

  4. hem chandra nepal Says:

    i want your all kind of model and its price list to start business

  5. TW Fung Says:

    I just want to report what a hassle it was to get a replacement battery pack for a Samsung Ultrabook which is only 2 years old. Nobody carries that part in stock except Samsung warehouse. The Samsung parts company who sold me the part had a terrible phone system. After trying twice and waiting online for 10 minutes, I finally talked to someone who really didn’t want to work today. The customer rep on the phone was rude. I will never buy another computer from Samsung.

  6. khurshid Says:

    i want your all kind of model and its price list to start business.
    I have chronos 7 np700z5b. The design of laptop is 10/10. I fall in love with design but touch pad started to feel bad first year. I also had bad pixel on the screen since I bought it. I sent it before warranty finishes. I also said I have an issue with touch pad. it was denting. They didn’t change the touchpad/trackpad but they changed keyboard and around metal frame. Keyboard and metal frame still looks nice but touchpad/trackpad messed up. Its been killing me last 7 months and now. It is clicking itself. It doesn’t point right direction. I also have an issue with plastic frame. Its been loose and effects my screen. I hope my screen won’t be broken. The experience I had, wasn’t nice.

  7. Claude Lombana Says:

    I bought this piece of trash from Samsung (the all-in-one desktops that they sell as GALACTICALLY GOOD), and it is the BIGGEST PIECE OF TRASH I ever had. Memory conflicts, frozen screens, USB recognition problems, etc., etc., etc… Don’t waste your money!!!

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