on November 20, 2012
My wife wanted a laptop that could play World of Warcraft. We normally play on desktop computers with high performance video cards, so laptops have historically been a disappointment. This year, she requested (for Christmas) a laptop that was capable of playing WoW so that when she is upstairs with the kids she has something more fun to play than solitare and more entertaining than watching Barney or Sesame Street on television.
I shopped around, but honestly knew very little about laptops. I have always custom built my own gaming PCs, but laptops were never on my radar. And gaming laptops can get very expensive.
I saw this Samsung on Amazon and was impressed by the price. The KEY feature is the included Radeon HD 7730M video card. If you want to play video games, you must have a 3d graphics card. The built-in Intel HD graphics card is great for anything else, but for playing video games good luck.
I was skeptical about Windows 8. I still am, I suppose, but I've heard such horrible reviews that I almost didn't buy this laptop. I took a chance, and honestly within about an hour or two I find myself using it just fine. I've already connected to our printer, network drive, installed World of Warcraft, etc. It was pretty painless. I'm not sure I like it better than Windows 7, but it seems to work just fine.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This laptop has two graphics cards. It took me an hour of playing around with graphics settings to figure out how to "switch on/enable" the Radeon card. This made a massive difference in performance. The Intel HD card struggled to play World of Warcraft at "Good" settings, and the laptop became very hot to the touch. When I finally figured out how to enable the Radeon card, I was able to bump the graphics to "High" and I even turned on 4x anti-aliasing. I'm getting 25 frames per second, and the laptop doesn't feel nearly as "hot." It is very important to configure this setting or you will be disappointed and you won't know why. One annoying thing about computers is that it is sometimes difficult to tell how the hardware is being used. This is the primary reason that I wanted to post this review right away (I wish I could have read this before I bought it.)
They key detail that isn't obvious: Right-Click on the desktop, select "Configure Switchable Graphics." Everything else is relatively obvious.
Here is a tip: Turning on anti-aliasing in a video game is a good way to "test" if your graphics card is working. You should get similar frame rates either way. With the Intel HD graphics adapter, anti-aliasing destroys your performance.
Bottom line: This laptop is great for the price. Windows 8 was a pleasant surprise. I don't hate it, and it seems to work just fine. It really isn't that different from Windows 7 once you get used to it. This laptop DOES have a Radeon graphics card. It seems to work just fine. It can play World of Warcraft with High settings and 4x anti-aliasing. Not bad. Plenty for what my wife wants/needs. Note: I couldn't update the driver from the web. The generic Catalyst drivers say the hardware is incompatible, "check with your hardware manufacturer." Hopefully this doesn't become a problem in the future. For now, the drivers seem to work just fine, but it is slightly troubling that I can't update them manually.
In case you are wondering how I posted this review before Christmas: I didn't want to wait until Christmas to give this to her. I didn't want to take any chances (I wanted plenty of time to find something that works -- what if I needed to send it back?) Plus, with the long Thanksgiving weekend, now she can use it and have fun right away. My wife is pretty awesome, I'm glad she now has a laptop that works well.
Update June 17th, 2013:
My wife is still using this laptop daily. Windows 8 hasn't grown on her (she would still prefer Win 7), but she does still play WoW frequently and still likes the laptop. So far so good. The quality level seems high. It hasn't broken yet (knock on wood).
on December 7, 2012
I've owned this laptop for about two weeks now and I can say that I'm pretty happy with the purchase. I hate investing in computers, seeing how new processors are released every 3 months, that's why I did a lot of research and compared dozens of models before committing to this one.
So let's start with the good stuff first:
- Intel i7-3630QM, quad-core processor 2.4 GHz with Turbo Boost technology to 3.4 GHz, released in Q3 2012.
- Two graphics cards: the built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000 and the dedicated AMD Radeon 7730M with 2 GB (performances similar to the NVIDIA GT 640M).
- Being able to choose which applications use the dedicated graphics card to help save battery.
- Being able to only charge the laptop 80% to extend the laptop's battery life.
- The HD screen, with native 720p resolution.
- Assassin's Creed 3, Hitman Absolution and Far Cry 3 run on high and ultra.
Now the bad stuff:
- The HDD on SATA II with 5400 rpm is pretty outdated. This was probably my biggest disappointment about this laptop, but I'm planning on investing in at least a Hybrid SSD.
- 6 GB of RAM seems a little bit cheap on Samsung's part, but considering a new 4 GB dim is $20, whatever.
- The numpad. I can't see how this is useful, unless you're an accountant.
- I'm OK with the keyboard not being backlit, but what I find annoying is there's not even a small LED on the Num Lock and Caps Lock keys. I think that's a little detail that would have raised the overall quality and look of the laptop.
The one problem I did have and upon doing some research it turned out this is a problem with all Samsung models, not this one in particular: the mouse pointer freezes when using the touch pad from time to time for a few seconds. Mine did it while installing games for example and the HDD was going at max speed, but I don't think this is a general rule. If I also had a mouse connected at the time, the mouse would work while the touch pad was still frozen. Not a show stopper, but irritating for sure. So what I did was a system refresh (Settings -> Change PC Settings -> General -> Refresh your PC without affecting your files). What this does is basically restore the system to a fresh Windows 8 install. So all the applications/drivers you or Samsung installed will be removed, but the pictures, videos, music and downloads will not be affected. This is probably overkill and just removing the touch pad driver will fix this issue, but I simply wanted to get rid of all that stuff since it was slowing down the laptop. Now I get boot times around 5 seconds long, compared to 30 seconds - 1 minute.
Overall a good buy.
on April 4, 2013
For the price I got this at, it was more than a steal. I bought this laptop for $700 and from what i've seen, its worth almost double that! The speed is unbeatable for gaming and despite the fact that I haven't replaced the 6GB standard ram, It still runs games like planetside 2, starcraft 2, Diablo 3, and league of legends on full graphics without any lagging or choppy moments. Not to mention I've never experienced this thing getting hot before. Windows 8 is a breeze once you get used to it! so anyone who is thinking secondly about this computer because of windows 8... JUST GIVE IT A TRY! I was skeptical at first, but after removing some bloatware apps and getting the start menu organized, I actually like it a lot more that any other windows operating system. It is compatible with nearly any program, and is very easily connected to wireless devices. Now for the Wi-Fi on this computer, Its probably the best I've seen on my or any of my friends' laptops. Its always connected to my router with full bars and never skips a beat when it comes to watching videos or playing games. If you are looking for an all around amazing computer with gaming/editing capability, an excellent wireless receiver, awesome built in speakers, a FULL keyboard, anti-glare screen, and a sleek and very appealing exterior than this is the one for you!
No Cons whatsoever!
Hope this helps!
on June 9, 2016
I am giving this laptop five stars because I got it for such a great price and the specs make it worth way more than I paid! I purchased this laptop over three years ago and I am writing this very review on it right now. It has withstood the test of time and years of abuse. I demand a lot from my computers, from video games to movies to extreme multi-tasking, this bad boy can do it all!
It may be a bit outdated now, but if you are looking for an inexpensive laptop with solid computing power, look no further. This is a great option for a college student or young adult on a budget. It can still handle a majority of today's software with no problems at all. I am not the biggest computer junkie, but I have burned through enough desktops and laptops to make a decent comparison.
on June 5, 2013
I searched and did research for weeks and finally pulled the trigger on this Samsung 15" because of it's core i7 and dedicated graphics at a very reasonable price. My primary use is for my studio, the core i7 is great for audio encoding compared to my old dual core Pentium laptop (obviously). I also travel from time to time and like to play games that I typically play on my desktop so I had to have a dedicated graphics chip. I was thoroughly disappointed when I loaded up WoW for the first time. My framerates were barely better than what I was getting with my old laptop, however I was able to turn everything up to high settings and still have great playability. I just thought that's how it was going to be with something that shares system memory, and I couldn't find out otherwise because for some reason ATI's verification tool kept telling me that it couldn't install the catalyst driver. Samsung has yet to update the driver from it's original build date of last June. Today I'm sitting around, irritated that I'm down to 4fps in certain heavy graphics situations and tried one more time at the Samsung website only to find they still haven't updated. So I got to ATI's site and look through the downloads and notice that if you choose the drivers for the 7000m series, *SCROLL DOWN PAST THE VERIFICATION TOOL TO THE BETA DRIVERS*, download and install the beta drivers, restart the computer, and enjoy, literally, 4x the graphics performance of the shipped Samsung driver. I'm so happy right now I'm tabbed out of the game just to write this review. For the money this is hands down the best performing laptop I can imagine. 3rd gen core i7 with a new dedicated graphics chipset, for under $700. It's crazy.
EDIT: I recently purchased and installed 2x8gb Corsair Vengeance memory sticks running at 1866mhz and a 250gb Samsung SSD. This laptop will now out perform just about anything out there, desktop or otherwise. My startup time in Windows 8 went from about a minute and a half to just over 30 sec, and my graphics performance, which was already great, increased around 15%. I have now spent just under $1000 and have better performance than all but the priciest of systems. If you're wanting maximum performance at the most reasonable of prices this is the way to go.
on March 29, 2014
Once I got this computer loaded with Windows 8, I thought I should have my head examined for not staying with an earlier version, like my octogenarian friend did. Of course, I couldn't be bothered with manuals, so I've stumbled through the past twelve months. I've managed to get done what I need to- finally. However, I can't comment on technical aspects of this machine, because in spite of the Radeon graphics that are claimed make this an excellent machine for gaming, I have to admit that I gave up games as a pathetic waste of time even for someone retired as I am. I'm sure I wouldn't buy this machine at this point in time simply because the price appears to have gone up considerably. I wouldn't pay $1000 for a laptop for what I need. Of course, it would have been helpful if the computer had come loaded with AT LEAST Word, if not Excel. I'd have thought I'd paid enough already to have them included. I decided to switch (from Dell) to Samsung on the strength of my satisfaction with the three Samsung HDTVs we now own. I have no regrets in that regard. The problem I experienced briefly with the numeric keypad 0 may have been the fn lock key was inadvertently pressed on (and then later pressed 'off'?), but it's working again.
on January 7, 2013
Pros: i7-3630QM processor @ 3.4GHZ, ATI Radeon HD 7730m 2GB graphics card, New windows 8 key, Windows 8
Cons: took my a while to get used to configuring the "Switchable Graphics" for my games. you look for the .EXE file for you games, and set it up for "High Performance" and it sets it for the 2GB graphics card. other cons are the Samsung preloaded software. if youre deleting all the sofrware: DO NOT delete the AMD catalyst program. it controls the graphics settings for the 2GB graphics card.
the computer specs list an i7-3610QM but it has the i7-3630QM @ 3.4GHz
I love this computer and would recommend it to anyone whos a gamer. its a great gaming laptop and on Microsoft Flight Simulator X it only used 3.2GHz of my 3.4GHz processor. the HD7730m 2GB graphics card, and the i7-3630QM @3.4 GHz processor should be able to run all the new games at very high/ultra graphics settings. if you have any questions, post them as comments and I will respond as fast as I can. best bang for my buck computer that I could find for under $825.00.
on May 5, 2013
I purchased this computer to replace my 8 year old gateway crap heap, so by comparison this is next to a super computer. With this out of the way their are things that are important to say about this computer.
Structure of the computer:
The computer has a very plain look, this shouldn't scare people away considering the cases that you can buy to make it look allot better. The number pad is a nice feature, but the arrow keys are too close together, this is a problem that more than one person has had, not just me and my stubby fingers, however, it should be noted that most games use the WASD controls over the arrows so for gamers this isn't that big of a deal. Very nice to have 2 3.0 USB ports, and the additional 2 2.0 USb ports, I can plug allot of things in. The finger mouse pad is cheap material and probably wouldn't last longer than 2 years of use,that being said extra wireless mice can be purchased for really cheap, thats what I did and its worked very well. The camera is standard cheap laptop camera, Don't touch the camera screen! it scratches very easily. The line around the edge of the screen is rather cheap material, and has begun to move and wobble after a month of light use, just don't open and close too much and it should be fine though. CD/DVD drive is a bit wobbly and looks like its going to fall out, but it has held tight for a while, don't apply allot of direct pressure to it and it should be fine though. and finally, the SD card port is nice and works well.
Interior of the computer:
What this computer lacks in looks it makes up for in running capacity. This computer has 6 gigs of ram which is enough for most things that you could need, including gaming. The i7 processor is magnificent, its an amazing core for a laptop, lighting fast and doesn't crash,I have only had crash problems once and that was a game problem not the computer itself. The Radeon graphics card is great for most gaming, it cant handle incredibly taxing games on high but it can handle them on medium to low. It flies however through almost all other games. Here is a list of the games I play on max settings without problems.
Star Wars Kights of the Old Republic 1
Star Wars Kights of the Old Republic 2
Star Wars Starfighter
Star Wars Republic Commandos
Star Wars Empire at war
Star Wars Empire at war forces of corruption
Lego Star Wars 1
Lego Star Wars 2
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Age of Mythology
Age of empires
Rome Total War (Have to download from amazon, doesnt work from anywhere else)
Lego Digital designer
All of these games work on peak graphics settings with no problems. It is fair to note that these are lower graphics intense games.I am assured however that most other games will work quite well on this computer.(If compatible with windows 8)
The Graphics card mixed with the low price is after all the reason I bought this computer. Now lets move on to the Operating system. Windows 8 is a disaster! I cant stand it. I have been going strait to the desktop short cut menu every time I use the computer because I cant get used to the app page. it reminds me too much of my iPhone. Windows 8 is fast ill admit, but i cant get used to it. I attempted to install windows 7 home premium but I had many errors and it wouldn't let me, so im stuck with windows 8. I appreciate the people who know how to use it and like it. I may have gave up too early, but I just dont like change. Even though I cant stand windows 8, that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Dont let that stop you from buying this computer. The majority of the low ratings on this computer are due to windows 8, which is absurd,I am the first person to say that windows 8 inst great, but it shouldn't stop someone from buying a computer, that can be fixed later. I guess what im saying is, windows 8 isn't great, but you can live with it.
The computer doesn't get very hot as long as you remember to turn on the Radeon graphics card.(Remeber not to delete the Radeon catalyst otherwise you lose all control over the graphics card.Yes that includes the clean install of windows 7) And it is quite quiet when your not gaming or downloading large files.
What this laptop doesn't have in looks it makes up for in internal workings. it has amazing specs for such a low price.(I bought it for 689.99) I would highly recommend the laptop to anyone who wants a good laptop for a cheap price. And don't let windows 8 stop you from getting this computer. The only reason that you shouldn't like windows 8 is if your favourite games aren't compatible. But most games are coming out with compatibility modes though. Just remember this isn't meant to look amazing, its meant to run very well, and thats all I need.
on April 19, 2013
I have a thing for Samsung products I guess, everything electronic I own is a Samsung. As always, Samsung keeps their quality almost seamless, from one product to another. This laptop is of exceptional value, with the best processor, great graphics, and for the price, better than others. Most of the laptops I compared had lower end products for a higher price tag. This Series three beats others in the same price range. I am totally satisfied and happy to say that the poor reviews I've read DO NOT hold water. This is an awesome quality, higher end component carrying product, worth it's price and then some.
Seller provided exactly what was stated, and it was shipped timely.
Well done! Five Stars for everything, great deal.
on March 11, 2013
I would love to give this a five star rating but I have two critical complaints. One, since day one it has become warped above the keyboard on the left side between the Fkeys and the monitor, Two, Windows 8 is a headache. I wish it came with Windows 7. One minor complaint, the arrow keys are too close together. Overall I am happy except the warping. I am not thrilled of having to send it back so I will just have to live with it.