The Bottom Line
Jul 19 2012 - Samsung's entry into the gaming specific world of mobile computing with the Series 7 Gamer certainly offers a premium experience with a corresponding $1900 price tag. Performance is excellent thanks to the core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and GeForce GTX 675M graphics. In addition to this, Samsung packs in lots of storage features with 1.5TB of storage space and a Blu-ray drive. Probably the best feature is the screen that is bright and colorful but not washed out. What prevents this from being a standout gaming system are a number of annoyances include its large size, short battery life, poor trackpad and the huge amount of software installed.
- Excellent Display
- Strong General and 3D Performance
- Huge Amount of Storage Space
- Very Large And Heavy
- Trackpad Is Too Easy To Accidently Touch and Move Cursor
- Lots of Preloaded Software
- Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1.5TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive With 8GB Express Cache
- Blu-ray Reader and Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M Dedicated Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.1" x 11.2" x 2" @ 8.4 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Samsung Series 7 Gamer
Jul 19 2012 - Samsung's Series 7 Gamer is the first foray into the gaming specific laptop field. It takes much of the design elements from the standard Series 7 but expands on them to give it more performance. Of course, this also means a fair amount of extra bulk with the hinge size going from roughly 1-inch in the standard Series 7 to the 2-inches of the Gamer version. In fact from the outside one might not think it was gaming system if not for the size. The mix of brushed metals and plastics give it a nice stylish design.
Performance is the key on the Series 7 Gamer so it is no surprise that Samsung equips this with the new Ivy Bridge based Core i7-3610QM quad core mobile processor. This gives it more than enough performance for gaming and even offers some solid general performance for demanding tasks such as desktop video. What is really surprising is that Samsung matches this up with 16GB of DDR3 memory to provide more than enough for an extremely smooth experience in Windows. Most competing gaming laptops tend to come equipped with 8GB while a few offer 12GB. Buyer's won't need to do any memory upgrades after the purchase of this system.
Storage on the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is very impressive with a total of 1.5 terabytes of storage. To do this, the company did rely on traditional hard drives rather that using the solid state drives that are starting to make inroads into the market. Samsung does implement a small 8GB of solid state memory for what they call Express Cache. This is similar to what might be found in a hybrid hard drive or a Smart Response Technology caching systems. It helps boost boot times in particular but the small amount of cache means that it does have limited amount of performance applications outside of the system files. If this huge amount of storage space isn't enough, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. Rather than uses a standard dual-layer DVD drive, Samsung packs in a Blu-ray compatible drive that allows playback of the high definition movie format in addition to supporting reading and writing of CD or DVD media.
In terms of the display, Samsung clearly has one of the better panels available in the 17-inch market thanks to their experience with LCD technology. It features a native 1920x1080 resolution for full 1080p video capabilities and offers a surprisingly bright backlit capability. In fact, many users will likely turn down the brightness in many situations. Color was good with nice contrast and nice dark blacks as well. For the graphics processor, the Series 7 Gamer comes with the high end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M equipped with 2GB of memory. This is more than sufficient in many cases to play the latest and greatest games up to the full native resolution of the display. For those hoping to do more than gaming, it also offers some excellent acceleration in non-3D applications that use the CUDA capability.
While most laptops have gone with the new isolated keyboard designs, Samsung has elected for a more traditional design that puts the keys very close together. Overall it works decently but it has a fairly soft feel that certainly was different from many other gaming laptops. The w, a, s and d keys are highlighted and have a different backlight color to help distinguish them which games may like. The trackpad on the system is quite large and is centered on the middle of the keyboard rather thand the chassis. It is flush with the palmrest which because of its size means that it is fairly easy to brush against when typing to cause the cursor to jump. Most games probably won't care much though as they would likely use an external mouse.
One trend for many premium gaming laptops is the limited amount of software that comes loaded onto the laptop. Unfortunately, Samsung has not taken this and preloads it with all sorts of applications that will launch on startup and flood the screen with popups and toolbars. Buyers will definitely want to take the time to clean out unwanted applications to help clean up the desktop and help with the boot speeds.
In terms of power, the Samsung Series 7 features an eight cell battery pack that is not that far off from much of the competition. Video playback testing yielded a very disappointing two and a quarter hours before the system had to go into standby mode. This is well below what the average 17-inch laptop offers and certainly much lower than other gaming laptops. Only the ASUS G75VW had as little running time as this and it trails the HP Pavilion dv7 with its huge 100WHr battery that lasts almost six hours. So, if you plan on using this on the road, be sure to bring the very large power adapter with you as you will definitely need it.
With a price tag of $1900, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is on the higher end of the pricing for a 17-inch gaming laptop. It still doesn't reach the high levels of the prestige companies but it still is quite high even if it packs a bit more storage, memory and comes with Blu-ray. The key competitors to Samsung in this space are the Alienware M17x, ASUS G75VW and MSI GT70 based systems such as Cyberpower and iBUYPOWER. In each of these cases, they are all less expensive with prices ranging from $1300 to $1500. The key here is that they can offer some similar gaming experience for less money. ASUS is the closest when it comes to the display while the MSI GT70 options offer similar 3D experiences.