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GADGET WATCH: Samsung Series 5 Ultra

The rise of ultrabooks has brought with it a fierce, competitive market – one that's ultimately good for the consumer.

One of the latest entries in this space is the Samsung Series 5 ultrabook range. These thin, powerful laptops are aimed at consistent users, including those in business. But how does it stack up?

Hardware and Features

The Series 5 laptops come in two sizes, one 14 inches and a 13.3 inch version that's slightly cheaper. However, apart from that change there's little else that's different.

Both models come with a Core i5 processor, 1.6Ghz, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard drive with 16GB of solid-state storage, and a resolution of 1366x768.

The device also comes with integrated Intel graphics, a webcam, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and a card reader, along with two USB ports, with a USB 3.0 port in the 13.3 inch model, although it lacks an optical drive.

What's the consensus?

There's a pretty strong consensus here that the Series 5 is a powerful, efficient machine.

Over at TechRadar, the publication notes the gadget appears to be more of an "everyman" device and lacks some of the features in the higher-end Series 9 devices. However, there's a lot to like.

Firstly, it notes the keyboard and touchpad are of a high quality, and that the outward design is suitably attractive, praising the brushed metal finish.

Inside the machine, the publication praised the boot-up time and the extra storage, saying it should save some people carting an extra external hard drive around.

At Engadget, the publication said that although this may be considered an ultrabook, it's definitely for the average user and isn't as powerful as the high-end machines. It's a "mid-range laptop", the publication said.

It also said the device was heavy and noted the lower resolution compared to other models, but also said this was better than any other comparable display on the market.

"Specifically, it's one of Samsung's SuperBright screens, which means it has 300 nits of brightness (not to be confused with the 450-nit SuperBright Plus panel inside the Series 9). As luck would have it, it has a matte finish, too, though somehow the viewing angles are still fairly narrow."

Performance wise, Engadget said the device boots at 21 seconds, a remarkably quick time, and also said it does a better job at dissipating heat.

"After five hours of working in Chrome, we could feel some lukewarm air coming through the vents, but it was still cooler than either of those two other machines would have been after some extended web surfing."

LaptopMag praised the webcam, although it said it's a fairly low resolution. Battery-wise, however, it said the device comes up with just five and a half hours. While a respectable amount, it pales in comparison to other ultrabooks.

Who's it for?

The Series 5 is a respectable machine, nice to look at, fairly cheap and powerful for the price. However, there are some drawbacks, such as the exclusion of a solid-state drive and more powerful graphics.

If you're going with the Series 5, you'll have something that's nice to carry and fairly powerful, but you'd also do well to look at the competition in this field, specifically the HP ultrabooks.

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