The Bottom Line
Sep 13 2013 - Samsung's Series 3 laptop is still your basic budget laptop. It has improved a bit in terms of features such as having USB 3.0 now, the system still lacks much to really make it better than average. Its most notable feature is the anti-glare screen but beyond that and its comfortable keyboard, there are laptops at this price point that offer more performance, better battery life or more portability.
- Anti-Glare Display
- Comfortable Keyboard
- More Peripheral Ports Than Most Budget Laptops
- General Performance Below Most Other Laptops
- Plastic Exterior Feels Cheap
- AMD A6-4400M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7520G Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.7" x 9.6" x 1.3" @ 5.05 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Samsung NP355V5C-A04US
Sep 13 2013 - Samsung hasn't done much to change the look of their Series 3 laptops. While the internals may be changed around some, it still uses the two tone silver and gray plastics. While the lid is designed to try and mimic the look of metal, the glossy coating on its is a major fingerprint and smudge problem. Most other companies have gone with different textures and patterns to better hide them. It terms of size and weight, this is your traditional style laptop so it is a bit heavier and larger than others but it also isn't dropping features for size either.
Like previous Samsung Series 3 laptops, the NP355V5C-A04US uses an AMD processor rather than Intel. Specifically, it uses the A6-4400M dual core processor. This is a bit disappointing as some of the past models came with quad core but this is probably not going to have a huge impact on the average user that is mainly using their system to browse the web, stream media and use productivity applications. Still, this is a slower overall processor than those laptops that use the Intel Core i3 processors. It comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory which provides a smooth enough experience with Windows 8. One thing to be aware of is that all the memory slots are used which means that some will have to be removed if you want to upgrade the memory beyond 4GB.
Storage for the Samsung Series 3 is typical of your average budget class laptop. It uses a traditional hard drive with a 500GB capacity that provides it with a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. Performance from this is alright with roughly a thirty second boot time which is typical of this type of setup. There are a few of the budget class ultrabooks available that do feature small solid state drive caches that offer faster boot and load times. If you do need additional space, the system features two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives. In addition to this, there are two USB 2.0 ports that provide it with more than many other 15-inch laptops. There is a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The display for the laptop is essentially the same that has been used on past 15-inch Series 3 laptops. It uses a relatively common 1366x768 resolution that is beginning to feel very low against the tablets available these days. Color and viewing angles are decent but not great. The big difference here is that Samsung uses an anti-glare or matte coating instead of a glossy coating. This helps make the laptop a bit easier to use outdoors and in tough lighting that can produce glare and reflections. The graphics are handled by the Radeon HD 7520G that is built into the AMD processor. This is a step up from Intel's HD graphics options as it does provide a bit more for 3D graphics but still the performance is limited to lower resolutions and detail levels. On the other hand, it does provide a greater range for accelerating non-3D applications when compared to Intel's integrated solution.
The keyboard and trackpad layout for the Samsung Series 3 remains essentially unchanged. It still uses an isolated keyboard design that also features a numeric keypad. It offers nice size buttons that are comfortable and accurate to use. The trackpad is a nice size and features dedicated right and left buttons. It works well enough for accuracy and the Windows 8 multitouch gestures.
The battery pack for the Samsung Series 3 is essentially the same as past models with a six cell and a rated 48Whr capacity. In digital video playback testing, this results in just under three and three quarter hours before it went into standby mode. This is a slight improvement over the past AMD based Series 3 laptop but it is more or less average for this product class. The HP Pavilion 15 with the newer AMD A6 processor design does slightly better with a very similar configuration to achieve four hours.
The primary competition for the Samsung Series 3 NP355V5C-A04US comes from the HP Pavilion 15 and the Toshiba Satellite C55. Both of these laptops take traditional mobile components and designs compared to many that have moved to using lower power ultrabook class processors. The HP offers a faster A6-5350M processor which also features a newer graphics core. It is slightly heavier and larger and features one less USB 2.0 port. The Toshiba on the other hand uses an Intel processor that provides it with faster general performance and a larger 750GB hard drive. It is also heavier than the Samsung, features just one USB 3.0 port and offers less 3D performance from its graphics.