Samsung Series 5 Ultra Hands-on: New Ultrabooks Start at $899, DVD Drive Still Alive


LAS VEGAS — Samsung is attacking the MacBook Air–and the rest of the Ultrabook field–with two new Series 5 Ultra laptops at CES 2012: a 13-incher that starts at $899 and a 14-incher that includes an optical drive. Available starting January 30th, the Series 5 notebooks don’t offer the same premium features as Samsung’s flagship ultraportable, but you do get high-quality aluminum designs, Core i5 power and bright 300-nit displays with a nice matte (glare-free) finish.

Read on to get all the details and check out our extensive gallery and hands-on video below.The Samsung Series 5 Ultra has a smooth and sleek aluminum finish and a design that eschews the clickpad in favor of a touchpad with dedicated mouse buttons. We’re not complaining, since many of them are hit or miss. While the keyboard isn’t backlit, the layout has more travel than the thinner Series 9. The 13-inch Samsung Series 5 Ultra weighs 3.24 pounds, while the 14-inch model weighs 3.94 pounds. Each notebook features a 1366 x 768 display, but only the 14-inch Ultra includes a slim DVD drive for those who want it.

To keep the cost down Samsung equips the Series 5 Ultra with a hybrid hard drive, which includes 500GB of storage and 16GB of ExpressCache memory. That memory helps the notebooks boot in 20 seconds and wake from sleep in 2 seconds. Samsung even promises quicker web browsing via Internet Explorer, which we can’t wait to test out. Both Series 5 Ultras are rated for up to 7 hours of battery life.   

Get the full specs below, as well as our hands-on gallery and video.

  NP530U4B-A01US NP530U3B-A01US NP530U3B-A02US
Processor Intel® Core™ i5 Processor 2467M Intel® Core™ i5 Processor 2467M Intel® Core™ i5 Processor 2467M
Processor Speed 1.6GHz 1.6GHz 1.6GHz
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Memory (Max) 4GB (On BD) DDR 4GB (On BD) DDR 4GB (On BD) DDR
Storage (max) 500GB HDD with 16GB Express Cache 500GB HDD with 16GB Express Cache 128GB SSD (mSATA)
Screen 14”SuperBright (300 nits) 13.3”SuperBright (300 nits) 13.3”SuperBright (300 nits)
Resolution 1366 x 768 1366 x 768 1366 x 768
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000
Speakers 4 W Stereo Speaker (2 W x 2) 4 W Stereo Speaker (2 W x 2) 4 W Stereo Speaker (2 W x 2)
Integrated Camera 1.3MP HD webcam 1.3MP HD webcam 1.3MP HD webcam
Battery 8 Cell Li-Po/6120 mAH Up to 7 hours 8 Cell Li-Po/6120 mAH Up to 7 hours 8 Cell Li-Po/6120 mAH Up to 7 hours
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
SD Card Yes, 4-in-1 Yes, 4-in-1 Yes, 4-in-1
Weight 3.94 lbs 3.24 lbs 3.24 lbs
MSRP $949.99 $899.99 $1099.99

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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