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Showing 1-10 of 64 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 71 reviews
on September 15, 2012
This is a 2 part review. 2nd part is in response to the reviewer who gave this laptop a low rating for a 100 MHz typo.

Runs as I expected and looks stylish. My wife can take this to work and people seem to look at it quite a bit.
Has Samsung included apps for the general public to make everything easier. Samsung easy Migration works much better than the Easy Transfer from Windows.

Pro's
* Fast and smooth.
* Stylish Blue tint.
* Clear screen with typical resolution.
* Lighter than expected which is a plus for her.
* Samsung apps seem to be fluid
Con's
* 2.5 instead of 2.6 GHz (minor typo)
* Bloatware. Personally I hate Norton products because they are so intrusive and it takes more than just the uninstall to remove.

This was purchased to replace my wifes aging Lenovo G530 with a 2 Ghz T6400 C2D. Mostly she uses her laptop for facebook, shopping, minor games, and documents. She also uses her company VPN and Quickbooks but that is almost the extent of her laptop useage.
Being that she does so little, this is more than enough machine for her. However I bought it because she was looking at a few games and her previous machine could not play much of anything. For example she likes the Sims 3, and a few puzzle games.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am a Systems Engineer for a Fortune 500 company and I get to play with a lot of different toys. Laptops, Desktops, Servers, etc. and 10 years ago I could scarcely notice the difference in a 1.4 Ghz AMD Thunderbird or a 2 GHz Willamette Pentium 4. And that was a 600 Mhz difference. Even people who can Max out a CPU with Video editing or CAD Design can not notice a 100 Mhz difference. If they can I want that talent.

When a review is written, it should use the following (or similar) standards;

1. Brief Opening Description telling what drew you to this particular product.
2. List of PRO's(if any) ie. Weight, size, color, or it makes your bed. Whatever you think is a Pro List it.
3. List of CON's (if ANY) ie. Weight, size, color, or it doesnt make your bed. OR as in this case, The description has a typo like, "The description states this is a 2.6 Ghz Intel i5-3210 but in reality it is a 2.5 Ghz Intel i5-3210 if this will make any difference."
4. Last would be your conclusion ie. What you think about it, any advice for readers, what you could not get it to do, and so on.

You dont give a negative product review based on a 100 Mhz typo. That is not fair to the product, the Manufacture, or potential purchasers. Many people rely on the reviews and while most people cannot tell the difference in 100 Mhz, if they see a laptop that is 2.6 Ghz for 5 dollars cheaper that doesnt have a negative review then they will go there. But is it the best laptop for them? Who knows but they did not see a serious review for the other one so they passed.

Conclusion: This laptop is well worth the money. Samsung usually builds quality and their support is good if needed. I use some of their various products and like most things there are bad ones here and there but so far this is not one.
77 comments| 155 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 7, 2013
I'm starting physical therapy assistant school this month, and as such, I wanted a laptop to take to school with me. Here are some of the pros and cons as I have seen:

Pros:
- Sleek, thin form factor - Nice lines, curves, and countours. This laptop looks quite stylish and very professional.

- Fast processor - With an i5 @ 2.5GHz, you will be able to surf facebook and write reports like never before. Joking aside, this processor is more than fast enough for normal usage.

- Integrated camera - It's nothing special, but it works.

- Build quality - It felt a little "plasticy" at first, but over time I have come to appreciate the materials and feel that the build quality is actually quite good, especially considering the price I paid ($500 -- it was on sale).

- RAM - 4GB is plenty for most people. In my opinion, any more RAM would be virtually pointless on this machine. The only reason I can think of that you would need more is for intensive video editing, but without a dedicated GPU, this laptop isn't really designed for such purposes anyways. Whatever games can be played on this laptop will be just fine with 4GB of RAM.

- Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics - I am actually quite impressed with the HD 4000 integrated graphics. Don't expect to max out Battlefield 3 (or even play on low settings with a comfortable framerate), but, benchmarks have shown that many modern games are playable on low settings with 25-30 FPS. Older games should run even better.

- Sound - For a $500 laptop, I feel that the speakers are perfectly adequate. If you want better sound, get some headphones.

- Keyboard - I can type about 80WPM average, so a good keyboard is very important to me. It seems that when you are buying a laptop, you're making a sacrifice as far as the keyboard goes no matter which laptop you buy (since a traditional desktop keyboard is much thicker and has much more tactile feedback), but the chicklet keyboard in this laptop works quite well and I can type with relative ease.

If you reformat the laptop to install Windows 7, make sure you install the latest touchpad drivers from Samsung so that can get "Palm Tracking", the feature that will disable the touchpad temporarily after any key is pressed (more on that later).

Cons:

- Personally, I am not crazy about the finish on the top of the laptop. It can look a little "oily" in certain lighting conditions. I feel that it would look much better if it were a flat surface and did not have all of the ridges. That said, it's certainly not terrible, and I can live with it. Some people seem to really like the way it looks, so it's just personal preference. However, given the fact that this is one of my only "cons", please do not let this deter you from purchasing this laptop.

- The laptop's screen does not open up nearly as far as I initially thought it should. However, I am finding that I usually do not open the laptop's screen up all the way anyways, so it is more of a non-issue. My old Inspiron 9300 could open a full 180 degrees -- why you would ever need that much is beyond me, but going from that, to this, was a bit of a shock at first. I would imagine that most people wouldn't even notice and that the angle that it CAN open up to is perfectly adequate.

- Bloatware. There are a lot of additional programs and features installed which I feel are completely unnecessary and seem to be shells over built-in Windows functions. However, this was not as much of an issue for me since I reformatted and installed Windows 7, only installing the drivers and software that I wanted.

Speaking of bloatware, Samsung's "Easy Settings" is somewhat of a necessary evil because it's required in order for the Fn keys to work (such as the brightness and sound Fn key shortcuts).

In and of itself, Easy Settings isn't all that bad, but one "feature" of Easy Settings that I particularly despise is how it splashes a giant caps lock notification onto your screen whenever the caps lock is enabled or disabled. Why couldn't they make it much smaller and/or make it appear at one of the corners of the screen? Why not make it an option to enable or disable notifications such as this? Alas, I do not know. It seems like many software devs just make the assumption that their consumers want it "as simple as possible" and do not think that providing options is a good thing. And for many people, this may be a complete non-issue, but for me, it's an annoyance. Especially if I'm playing a game in which I use caps lock.

I'm still looking into a way to disable the caps lock notification while keeping Easy Settings (so that I can use the function keys), but one surefire way to disable the notification is to simply uninstall Easy Settings. Many options can still be easily accessed by simply hitting win+X, so it's not really a deal-breaker if I can't use the Fn key shortcuts.

- The internal microphone is terrible. I picks up the clicks and clacks of the keyboard and mouse buttons very well, but I have to basically yell for my voice to be heard at all. Even putting my mouth right up to the mic hole doesn't seem to make a big difference.

However, I since I have reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7, I have not yet installed the Realtek sound driver, so it's possible that that may fix my issue. I will update this review after I have downloaded and installed the driver with results. If the mic is no better, I would say that unless having a good integrated mic is a big deal to you, don't let this bother you. If you use a mic that much, it would be better to get a cheap external mic anyways.

Additional Notes:

As I mentioned above, the elan touchpad driver installed on this laptop features Palm Tracking. Whenever you hit a key on the keyboard, Palm Tracking automatically disables the touchpad so that you don't accidentally jump the cursor and start typing somewhere else or lose focus on the current window. In general, this is a fantastic feature and allows you to rest your hands on the laptop while typing, but there are a few circumstances when I would want to disable it (i.e. gaming).

Sadly, the most recent driver does not allow Palm Tracking to be disabled in the GUI menu. However, there is a solution. I have made a couple of .reg files which, when ran, either enable or disable Palm Tracking. For the .reg files and full instructions on how to use them, please download from mediafire, here:

[...]

If that link gets deleted, simply type this in your address bar: mediafire(dotcom)(forward slash)?1d5gyop026rcfux

Obviously, replace what is in the parentheses with .com and / respectively. Delete the actual parentheses from the URL as well.

After you download Palm Tracking.zip, simply extract the Palm Tracking folder to any place of your liking and open up Readme.txt to understand how to use the files.

~~~~

In conclusion, this is a fantastic laptop for the price and the issues I have expressed here are minor annoyances at worst which most normal users would probably not even notice anyways. So, If you like the looks of this laptop and you don't plan on heavy gaming, this laptop should more then exceed your needs and expectations. So far, I'm really liking it. I will update this post with any more information as it becomes relevant.

~~UPDATE 1/8/12~~

After reading some troubling information about how Easy Settings can negatively affect DPC latency, I have decided to completely uninstall it altogether. Easy Settings was just bad news from the start. It has low-level processes than can increase the DPC latency, it splashes giant notifications on your screen whenever certain buttons are pressed (caps lock), and it messes with the power options and the actual behavior of the computer itself in strange ways.

For example, with Easy Settings, my computer will resume from sleep when the lid is opened (it won't do this without Easy Settings for some reason). However, Easy Settings also changes the "Shut Down" button to "Sleep" in the start menu, and it disables the pulsing blue LED during sleep mode, making me think that the computer was completely off when it was not.

So in the end, I think that completely removing Easy Settings altogether is definitely the right move. Although I lose Fn key functionaily (the sound Fn keys still work though), and although the computer no longer resumes from sleep when the lid is raised (I have to hit the power button to wake it up), I would rather live with this things than be subjected to the jacked-up bloatware party going on under the hood. No thanks, Easy Settings.

I have also determined the the mic just plain sucks. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast with built-in mics, but I have a feeling that everyone's mic is probably similar to mine.

That said, I did figure out what I have found to be the best possible settings for clarity and volume. The Realtek sound driver is absolutely essential to making the mic sound at least halfway decent because of a couple enhancements it features.

So, here's what I did to fix the mic:

1. Hit win+R
2. Type this: "control mmsys.cpl sounds" or copy and paste (without quotes)
3. Hit enters
4. Choose the "Recording" tab at the top of the Sound menu
5. Double-click "Microphone" (Realtek high definition audio)
6. Click the "Levels" tab
7. Completely max out both the Microphone and Microphone Boost sliders
8. Click the "Enhancements" tab
9. The following should be selected:

-Immediate mode
-DC Offset CAncellation
-Noise Suppression (NS)
-Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC)

10. Finally, click "Ok" to apply the changes

You should find that doing these things should clean up your mic a lot. If you already have the Realtek driver installed, the enhancements may already be selected by default, but you may still need to turn up the sliders in order for your voice to be heard by others. Also, you can play with Noise Suppression vs. Far Field Pickup (only one can be enabled at a time) -- I've found the NS is a little softer but more clear, while FFP is louder, but a little more muddled and unclear. Personally, I go with NS.

The bottom line is that the mic is junk and it is probably not located in the ideal position anyways. If it were me, I probably would've put it next to the camera so that it actually faces the user and is farther away from the keyboard so as to reduce the bone-jarring clicks and clacks that happen while typing. But, alas, I am not an engineer, and no one asks me these questions.

Despite all of these things, I still feel that this is a great laptop for the money. It's just a little disappointing to see prevalence of such terrible software and questionable design choices this far into the life of the laptop in general. I'm sure Samsung probably isn't alone in this, but sometimes it makes you wonder what their engineers/designers were thinking when they designed the product.

Ultimately, I feel that a score of 4/5 stars is perhaps a little generous, but mostly accurate. If this laptop came without all of the bloatware installed, I would give it 5/5 stars hands down, even with the crappy built-in mic. But, I just can't so easily excuse such terrible software which seems completely superfluous and actually harmful to the system. It doesn't make sense to me.
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on January 8, 2013
I've been using this notebook for 2 weeks and so far I'm am pretty impressed. Added 4GB more RAM for good measure. Clearly some corners were cut to keep it under $500 but I'm very happy with the product overall.

PROS
-Fast
-Lightweight
-Great picture
-Sound is loud/decent quality for the $. I'd use external speakers though if I really wanted nice sound.

CONS
-Case feels budget - plastic feels like it might not hold up to much of a beating.
-Keys on keyboard have a very shallow action. I'm getting used to this now but at first it felt awkward to type on.
-Screw holding RAM door on was very easily stripped. Was able to remove with a screw extractor.

Update: 33 days after purchase I thought the Backspace and both Enter keys failed and was about to ship it to Fort Worth, TX for warranty repair. But before returning the product I decided to re-install factory software to verify it wasn't a "logic" issue. Keys are all fine now and I'm back to loving this computer.
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on October 15, 2012
So far so good...I needed a better processor with higher RAM and memory, plus something that allowed me to work from home when necessary. This laptop can run several programs, including Microsoft Office, simultaneously and at a good processing speed. The keyboard is very comfortable to use; and setting it up was easy. Very happy with this!
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on December 21, 2012
My Dell Mini took a dive after only two years right after a vacation to Germany. All of my pictures were on it. Luckily after two weeks work, my IT guy was able to get my "User" folder off the old computer. In comes the Samsung Series 3 (I am typing on now). Great laptop, not just for the money, but for more. Unlike other people, I have no trouble with navigating the keys or that feeling with it being lopsided due to the 10-key on the right. It works great, feels great and is just a quality piece of electronics. The touch pad is a little touchy...common with all Samsungs, but all I do is hit FN + F5 and turn off the touch pad and use my mouse...problem solved!! I would buy this computer again and again.
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on March 8, 2013
I've had this laptop for a couple of weeks now and I'm increasingly happy with it. There will be a learning curve with the touch pad, but that's not uncommon for non Apple laptops. It's touchy and you have to learn just where you can put a finger and where you can't, but it's not that hard to learn.
The laptop is sturdy (compared to a Sony Vaio) that I tried before this one and feels good to the touch. The inclusion of the keypad on the right has also required learning a new touch to my typing, but like the touch pad if you stick with it for awhile, you'll figure it out.
The Samsung is responsive and plenty fast for most casual operations (email, web, some Word and Excel). I tried Windows 8, but didn't like it nor did I see any increased value in it, so I went back to a Windows 7 version, which I find easier to use. I tried using some shells on Win 8 to make it feel like Win 7, but they seemed to get in the way. So, unless you have a pressing desire to use Windows 8, I'd suggest you stick with Windows 7 and avoid the hassle of getting rid of all the bloat ware that MS puts on Windows 8.
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on April 5, 2013
I love this laptop. I think this laptop is fast. But it's all about relativity, because the computer I was using is from 2005, so 8 years of technological advances later, almost anything I bought would have been better.The things I like are: 1. the finish because it keeps it clean 2. the battery length 3. the start up and shutdown speed 4. and the overall style of the machine. I don't really have any issues with it I'm very satisfied with the purchase. One more thing I should mention is windows 8, which is what came with the laptop, I saw that some people were unhappy with it, but personally I love it as well. I was totally willing and ready to try something new and had an open mind regarding it. I like it a lot. I would like to thank everybody who had a hand in creating, designing, and building this laptop. I'm ecstatic. Thanks for the great delivery as well Amazon.
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on February 14, 2013
The good:
Nice price.
Zippy i5 class Intel CPU.
Decent RAM and disk size.
Incredible Linux Ubuntu support: everything works from the first install,
including screen, keyboard, mouse, webcam, LAN, WiFi, USB. Even
suspend/resume work reliably.

The mediocre:
Case feels like cheap, light plastic.
Screen is just OK; movies are watchable but the colors are a little
muted and the display lacks any sort of vividness.
The keyboard works well but lacks that crisp keypress action.
The disk is on the slow side.

The bad:
There is no bad! We needed something economical but with enough
oomph to run things like image editing and Minecraft. This machine
delivers.
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on January 18, 2013
Our Son needed a new laptop for college and this one fit the bill. Great processor in the I5, HDD is sufficient and the memory keeps everything running well through a wonderful display screen. This is not going to burn up the power cord with its capabilities, but it will serve him well for the next four years in college, and was not too painful on my wallet. I see the price has gone up since it hit the streets, guess it is in high demand!

Update 01 August 2013 Doubled the memory in this laptop and it really flies now! My son plays high demand games and watches Netflix with NO issues. This is a really great little laptop. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a good mobile suite that wont break the bank.
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on January 12, 2013
I bought this laptop for Christmas and so far so good.

The only complaints I would have is that the screen looks a little washed out. If you right click on the desktop and go to intel graphics properties, you can choose your preferences. The touch pad is a little to sensitive and you might accidentally click on something but you can also disable the touch pad temporarily with the function key. Also, the swiping features, like scrolling and zooming, may get mixed up and may zoom out when you want to scroll or scroll when you want to zoom out. But for me this is more of an annoyance than a problem. The sound is basic, but its more than enough for a laptop.

Everything else works great. Battery lasts for about 3 hours at high performance and about 6 hours on power saving mode. Its fast for a laptop and that is why I gave it 5 stars. I would buy it again.

Also, I do not know why its describes as "blue silver". It more like black and silver with a slight tint of blue on the silver, I guess.

I will update if any problems come up
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