The Samsung Notebook Series 5 Ultra (14″) (Samsung Ultrabook) is my first piece of office equipment. Since I started my new firm, I’ve been using this ultrabook for the past two (2) months and so far I’ve not encountered any problem.
To those who have never heard of Ultrabook, it is a new generation of notebooks with lighter and thinner profile but without compromising performance and battery life.
The Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook comes in two models – a 13.3″ model and a 14″ model. The 14″ model comes with optical disc drive and 1TB S-ATAII Hard Drive (5,400RPM) with ExpressCache 16GB. The large disk space is one of the biggest pull factors for me. Most Ultrabooks only offer 120GB to 500GB and you pay a higher price for larger space.
I split the hard disk into 2 drives so that I can keep all my files into the second drive. This is to prevent losing my files when I need to format my main drive.
The 14″ inch Ultrabook weighs 1.75kg. It is heavier than a tablet and some Ultrabooks but it is much lighter than your normal notebook.
It runs on Windows 7. With Fast Boot, the computer boots-up in just 20 seconds while Fast Start wakes the Ultrabook from sleep in 2 seconds (but on some occasions, 10 to 20 seconds). Like any other operating systems, the speed of the start up will be affected if you have other software installed or running in the computer.
It comes with a powerful 4 W Stereo Speaker. I haven’t got a TV at home hence my wife and I used my ultrabook as our movie theater. Surprisingly, the sound system was loud and clear enough to fill the entire master bedroom.
Our movie theater
Speaking about movies, Samsung did not ditch their optical drive which allows one to play and burn DVDs. Many ultrabooks have ditched their optical drive.
Admittedly, the inclusion of the optical drive makes the Ultrabook slightly heavier but I still need such drive to install my software, play movies and also burn DVDs and CDs.
Other than that, Samsung generously provides a USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader and HDMI out. It also has an integrated HD webcam which allows you to video chat while the built-in microphone captures your voice with clear precision.
The Ultrabook comes with a sling bag which I didn’t find attractive. But this can be overcome by buying a nice hipster laptop sleeve (such as http://www.sfbags.com/products/sleevecases/sleevecases-pc.php) or even custom make you own sleeve cases (such as http://www.caseable.com or http://snupped.com/).
Speaking about tablets, although it’s more portable and lighter, it doesn’t beat the word processing functions of a notebook. A notebook (Ultrabook in this case) is essential for me to work when I travel.
On another note, this Samsung Ultrabook is bundled with Microsoft Office Starter, CyberLink Media Suite, MediaShow, Power2Go, PowerDirector and the YouCam webcam app, Skype 4.2, Norton Online Backup, Windows Live Essentials 2011 and a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2012.
The Ultrabook’s battery can last about 7 hours without charge. If Wifi is turned on, battery can last up to 3 hours.
Last month, I took my ultrabook along with me to Washington and also around New York City. I had to attend the International Trademark Association (INTA) conference at Washington D.C. Since I haven’t hired legal assistant, I had to do all my work while I travel.
Thank god for the Ultrabook. I carried it around Washington and New York City to do work. I was working at hostel lobbies (cause they have Wifi), busses and also airports.
New York YMCA Hostel Lobby
Free wireless internet connections are abundant in the United States. Starbucks provides free internet access to all its patrons. And there are Starbucks at almost every corner! I don’t even need a data plan to surf the net in New York City. Parks are also Wifi connected!
Busses are also WiFi connected. My 4 hours journey from New York City to Washington DC felt quite short thanks to the Internet connection.
Based on my US trip, my overall assessment of this Ultrabook in terms of portability is good.
My only complaint about this ultrabook is their non removable six-cell battery. Constant charging without draining the battery may shorten the lifespan of the laptop battery. Unfortunately, a non-removable battery is common in Ultrabooks. One alternative is to charge the battery after it automatically powers off, then fully charge the battery.
The Samsung Ultrabook retails at RM2999.
PROCESSOR: 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M
MEMORY: 4GB RAM
DISPLAY: 14in LED
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 3000
STORAGE: 1TB hard drive
CONNECTIVITY: WiFi 802.11n, gigabit Ethernet port, Bluetooth 3.0
OPTICAL DRIVE: DVD burner
PORTS: One USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), HDMI out, VGA out
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
OTHER FEATURES: Stereo speakers, 1.3-megapixel HD webcam
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 33.27 x 22.86 x 2.08cm