Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra

SHARE

It’s easy to find ultrabook nowadays that promise performance in a thin and light package. Its way harder to find an ultrabook that has both, and can be realistically purchased by mortal men. Samsung’s Series 5 Ultra is one such ultrabook, and combines performance and portability in a package that most of us can afford.

Externally, the Series 5 Ultra isn’t as attractive as other ultrabook designs currently out in the market today. That doesn’t mean it’s not nice to look at – far from it – but it does feel a bit bland, considering the folks that made it are also behind the design of the Series 9, a notebook that some say was the first ultrabook before the category ever existed. The Series 5 Ultra sports a metallic gray finish all around, with Samsung’s logo tastefully emblazoned on the middle right side of the lid. Unlike other ultrabooks, the material used in the 315 x 218 x 14.7mm chassis is simple plastic, not aluminium or carbon fiber. The Series 5 Ultra weighs in at around 1.4 kilos.

To be fair to the Series 5 Ultra, the chassis is solid as a rock, and while it doesn’t use exotic materials or plastics, the notebook still looks impressive in its own right. Build quality is top notch, and there is little to no flex, a surprise since it’s using an all plastic body.

Open the lid and you’ll see a bright, 13.3-inch 300 nit HD LED SuperBright screen sporting a resolution of 1366 x 768. The keyboard is unsurprisingly an island-style deal, and has a good amount of separation and travel.

The trackpad isn’t anything special, though one thing we appreciated was that the buttons had physical separators for the left and right mouse buttons. There’s also a large number of ports available – 3 USB (with one being USB 3.0), Ethernet, HDMI (one full size, one micro HDMI) and a universal card reader.

Powering the entire thing is an Intel Core i5-2467M processor running at 1.6GHz, paired with 4GB of RAM. Sharp eyed readers may notice that the processor listed is a previous generation Sandybridge processor, and not the latest 22nm Ivy Bridge processors that Intel recently launched. The Series 5 Ultra has a small, 16GB SSD drive where the OS sits to facilitate faster boot times, as well as a larger, 500GB HDD for general storage duties.

Performance-wise, the Series 5 Ultra did okay. It’s not about to set new speed records because of the processor and HDD storage, but its overall performance is pretty good, especially for users looking for a notebook that can do most day-to-day tasks. You’re looking at a 20-25 second boot time, and a near instantaneous 1-2 second wake from sleep. When we ran 3D Mark ’06, we got a respectable score of 3230. Battery life is around 5.5 hours with normal use, which would probably stretch to 6 if you toned down the brightness of the screen.

We do have slight issues with the device, chief of which is its overall thickness. While it’s 14.7mm at its thinnest point, the Series 5 Ultra is 17.5mm at its thickest, which makes it a bit thicker than competing brands. The middling performance might also be a bit of an issue to power users.

Amid all of those issues, there’s one thing you do need to keep in mind – its price. The Samsung Series 5 Ultra might be a bit thicker and a bit slower than its contemporaries, but the upside is that it’s also a lot cheaper – the unit we reviewed retails for only Php 44,900, which is a few thousand bucks cheaper than other ultrabooks currently out in the market today.

 

What’s Hot:

Large storage for an ultrabook

Plenty of connections

Excellent keyboard and trackpad

Affordable

 

What’s Not:

Thicker than other ultrabooks

Middling performance

 

Bottomline:

It may not be prettiest or the fastest, but the Samsung Series 5 Ultra might just very well be your next ultrabook.

 

Buymeter: 4

 

Tech Specs:

  • Screen Size: 13.3-inch 300nit HD LED SuperBright screen, 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3
  • CPU and chipset: Intel Core i5-2467M processor, 1.6GHz
  • Physical Dimensions: 315 x 218 x 14.7mm
  • Warranty: 1 year warranty on parts and labor