Samsung today announced a new laptop line, adding the Series 7 to the existing Series 3 and Series 9 lines. We had a brief chance to get our hands on the 15-inch version (as well as a nonfunctioning mock-up of the 13-inch version), to see how they stack up against Samsung's other recent high-profile releases.
While the Series 9 laptops, available in 13-inch and 11-inch sizes, are very high-end machines originally priced at $1,699 and $1,199 respectively, and the Series 3 laptops are closer to budget prices (the 11.6-inch version exclusively at Staples is $699), the Series 7 falls somewhere in the middle, starting at $999.
Samsung reps brought a working 15-inch unit and a nonworking 14-inch unit over to us to check out, and the systems do indeed look and feel like a halfway point between the Series 9 and Series 3 systems. The aluminum bodies were sleek, cast in gunmetal gray, but not as fancy as the curved Series 9 chassis. At the same time, they looked and felt a lot more expensive than the Series 3, which has the feel of a budget-minded plastic ultraportable (but a very nicely designed version of one).
We especially liked how the 14-inch model was built into what would normally be closer to a 13-inch chassis, and the 15-inch model was also fairly slim and light for a midsize laptop. The lids of both models had thinner than usual bezels, which Samsung says is inspired by the company's nearly bezel-less plasma TVs, and the 1,600x900 screen on the 15-inch model was not only bright, but also had a matte finish, a feature we always appreciate.
Samsung says many of the real differentiators are under the hood, and include system tweaks for very fast booting (Samsung claims 19 seconds from a cold boot) and fast resume from sleep. We also saw a handy control panel for accessing system menus, putting power, networking, and other functions in one place.
Inside, you've got a standard Intel Core i5 or quad-core Core i7 CPUs, AMD Radeon 6750M graphics, and, most interestingly, 8GB of solid-state drive( SSD) memory right on the motherboard (called ExpressCache), allowing the standard hard drives to act as hybrid drives, without the need for more expensive (and hard to replace) hybrid hard drive hardware.
The Samsung Series 7 laptops will be available starting October 2, from $999.