The Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C-T01US 15.6-Inch Laptop is both powerful and easily portable. It’s compact, Titan Silver case measures 14.6 x 1.29 x 9.5 inches (WxDxH) and weighs just 5.51 pounds, yet it houses an impressively capable computer.
At its heart is a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM ultra-low voltage, quad-core processor. Thanks to Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, each of the four cores can handle up to two threads in parallel for increased efficiency. For much the same reason, Turbo Boost technology allows the processor to automatically adjust its own speed from 2.4GHz up to 3.4GHz as needed.
The processor is supported by 6GB of DDR3 RAM – more than enough to allow the pre-installed copy of Windows 8 to flex its muscles and take advantage of the available processing power to multi-task your favourite applications. Of course, more memory is always better, and this machine can be upgraded to a maximum of 8GB of RAM, should you have need of it.
Permanent storage is provided by a 500GB hard drive, and, as with the system memory, this should provide more than enough storage for most purposes. Some more expensive machines offer larger capacity hard drives, or fast but low capacity Solid State Drives, but the 500GB unit offered here makes a good compromise between cost and capacity. And, if more storage is required, it is an easy matter to either upgrade the laptop’s internal hard drive, or connect an external unit to one of the machine’s USB ports.
The 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution display is driven by a combination of AMD Radeon HD 7730M Graphics with 2GB of memory, and integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 technology, switching between them as appropriate. The HD 7730M is a capable, DirectX 11 compatible graphics card suitable for use in laptops of this class, and offering a good balance between power consumption and performance. Although not a top of the range part, it is, nonetheless, able to handle many reasonably demanding games at medium or high settings. The Intel HD Graphics 4000, on the other hand, is ideal for everyday tasks and offers much lower power consumption than its Radeon counterpart, but isn’t really suitable for serious gaming. This combination offers the best of both worlds – frugal power consumption for everyday tasks, and great graphics performance when you need it.
- Fast 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor
- Powerful AMD Radeon HD 7730M 2GB Graphics
- 6GB RAM
- 500GB Large Hard Disk
- Windows 8
- No Backlit Keyboard
Should your find that you need a larger display – perhaps for watching movies, either steamed from the internet or played directly from the built-in DVD +/-RW Super Multi Dual Layer optical drive – the machine is able to connect to an external display / monitor. It has both a VGA port for connecting to a legacy monitor or projector and a micro HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV, ensuring that you can enjoy work or relax in comfort.
Naturally, the machine supports both wired networking, and wireless connections via the built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available for connecting to wireless peripherals such as mice, headsets and other devices.
Wired devices may be connected to the machine via the two high speed USB 3.0 ports, or the two standard USB 2.0 ports. USB 3.0 ports are ideal for connecting external disk drives, as they are up to 10x faster than standard USB 2.0 ports, but they are also backwards compatible, enabling you to use them with your old USB 2.0 devices.
The machine features a 1.3-megapixel HD front webcam, making it video-chat ready right out of the box – just sign in to your favourite chat program (Skype is included with Windows 8) and you’ll be chatting with friends and family in minutes. Other input / output options include a 3-in-1 Multi Card Slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC), a headphone out jack and a microphone in jack.
The full-sized keyboard includes a dedicated numeric keypad, making this machine ideal for serious work as well as entertainment and everyday computing tasks. Anyone who regularly needs to input numeric data will appreciate the convenience of the keypad, although the machine could benefit from a backlit keyboard.
Overall, the Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C-T01US 15.6-Inch Laptop should be a great choice for anyone who needs powerful, portable computing. Despite its reasonable price, this is definitely not an entry level machine, and should be able to cope easily with most tasks, including many games. Naturally, it is not, and does not claim to be, a dedicated games machine. It is, however, a powerful all-rounder that includes a reasonable amount of gaming within its capabilities. If you need to work and play on the move, this machine should definitely be on your short list.