Can an ultrabook be an all-rounder?
The 530U4B-S01AU is Samsung’s first attempt an ultrabook/all-rounder hybrid; unlike most of the former, it has both a dedicated graphics card and a DVD burner. According to Samsung’s marketing spiel, it’s meant to offer ‘exceptional performance in a portable and premium form’, and we’ll admit that by those metrics it does largely succeed.
Exceptional performance was secured by the AMD Radeon HD 7550M dedicated graphics card. Testing with 3DMark Vantage on Performance, the Graphics score was 2,268, as compared to 1,217 for the usual integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000. Together with a low-voltage second-gen Intel Core i5-2467M processor, 4GB (1,333MHz) of memory and a 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive plus a 16GB SSD cache, it scored 2,274 in PCMark 7. That’s comparable to HP’s Pavilion dm4-3011tx ultraportable, but the Samsung is a good 10% lighter. The physical connectivity is also good, with Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, three USB ports (two of which are 3.0) and an SD card reader.
Portability is also a strong point: at 1.79kg and 20.9mm thick, the 530U4B-S01AU beats pretty much any all-rounder. Other ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 are technically more portable, but they aren’t as versatile. During light use on Samsung Eco Mode, its battery lasted 4.5 hours. Compared to the aforementioned HP, that’s a little lacklustre, as it lasted 30 minutes longer using a full-voltage CPU.
Premium form is where it falters slightly. The metal screen backing and palm-rests felt great, and the other fibreglass surfaces felt fine. Unfortunately, the 14in (1,366 x 768-pixel) matte screen had slightly washed-out colours and ordinary viewing angles. The screen hinge also had an annoying tendency to stick slightly, with strong resistance during opening. And while loud, the speakers were of ordinary quality, as was the webcam’s recording quality at 720p.
While the battery life and build quality could be better, overall the 530U4B-S01AU is a commendable effort.
Pros : Strong versatility, good portability
Cons : Ordinary screen, so-so battery life
Verdict : 8/10, Highly Recommended!
Contact : Samsung
Web : www.samsung.com/au
Price : $1,499