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Samsung NP530U4B Review
In a neatly classified genre consisting of notebooks, netbooks and Ultrabooks, the Samsung 530U looks like a hybrid model. It has the slim form factor of an Ultrabook, but doesn’t compromise on any of the specs and features of high performance notebooks - it comes with a DVD drive slot and a dedicated GPU as well. But, can it hold all of this together? Lets find out.
Magnesium alloy finish
Design and Build
Unlike their smartphone design department, Samsung’s notebook department actually believes in using high grade quality materials for their products. To put it simply, the 530U is completely devoid of plastic – it comes in a complete magnesium alloy frame. The entire chassis comes in an exquisite silver finish with the Samsung branding embossed atop. The 530U looks every bit like the executive notebook any professional would want. With the metallic finish, fingerprints aren’t a problem. The edges have a nice contoured feel to them, and the 530U looks like it has gone through the finest of craftsmen in the Samsung design department. It’s super thin and pretty light at 1.4 kgs. Labeling the 530U as an out and out Ultrabook may by a slight conundrum and we believe it's more of a ‘pseudo-Ultrabook’. Let’s take a quick tour of the 530U.
The 530U comes with a 14-inch screen with a display resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, and includes a webcam above the display. Connectivity options on the left, include the Ethernet port – that comes with a brilliantly designed pull-down clip to ensure the slim profile of the laptop, two USB 3.0 ports, a VGA port, HDMI port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Four status LEDs are located on the lower end, below the keyboard (which is not backlit), while a singular long bar consisting of the speaker grill is located above the keyboard. The right houses a DVD drive slot (!), a card reader, a USB 2.0 slot and the Kensington lock. An 8 cell non-removable battery is housed under the hood. With the 530U, all connectivity options are pretty well covered. Next up, the build quality.
Slim form factor
Owing to the materials used, the 530U looks like an extremely sturdy notebook. The screen is well reinforced from the sides and the back and no distortion was visible upon applying pressure on the sides. The 530U comes with one long hinge and is slightly flimsy as the panel wobbles a little while changing the viewing angles. The bottom has no creaky panels and looks pretty durable. The four rubber pads at the bottom ensure good grip. The premium finish coupled with the slim profile makes the 530U one of the most complete pseudo - Ultrabooks in the market, at the moment.
The Samsung 530U is powered by an Intel Core i5-2467M CPU at a clock speed of 1.6GHz. Along with this you get 6GB of RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit), a 1TB hard disk and a 16GB SSD. There’s also a dedicated graphics card with the 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7550M.
From the sides
A couple of inbuilt utilities have been pre-installed for starters. Catalyst Control Center caters to your video and gaming needs, CyberLink Media Suite is your one-stop shop for all media (video, audio and photo) content. The other Samsung proprietary software comes along with the laptop as well. There’s Easy File Share to share files over Wi-Fi, Easy Migration for transferring data and settings from one PC to another and Easy Settings to optimize your notebook. Besides this, the usual webcam application, diagnostic and data back up software have been included too.
Boot up times on the 530U are pretty quick. We logged into Windows in around 19 seconds, and it was noticeably quicker than the ThinkPad X220. Multitasking isn’t a problem and the CPU handles memory intensive applications without a fuss. The 530U comes with wide viewing angles and the display is bright enough for personal usage. We did notice slight heating towards the bottom right, but nothing worthy of labeling as a con. The 530U is pretty silent as well.
Brilliant keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad are responsive and provide pretty good feedback. The keyboard, in particular, is conducive to long hours of typing, with the chiclet styled keyboard and ample arm rest. The trackpad buttons have a nice uniform feedback from all sides, something that we’ve seen has often been neglected.
Slim and sexy
Far Cry2 got an average framerate of 24.68 fps at D3D10 with Antialiasing set at 2x. We compared the 530U to the similarly priced Wipro e.go Aero and the Samsung trumps the Wipro in the CPU Arithmetic and OpenGL score. The comparison chart can be seen below.
With our Battery Eater Pro application, the 530U managed to crank out 2 hours of usage with high performance enabled. In real world scenario, you’ll easily get around five hours of usage on this notebook, which compares it to the likes of the Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook.
Worth a buy?
The Samsung NP530U4B is priced at 54,390 (MOP). At this price tag, it competes with the likes of Wipro e.go Aero Ultra and the HP Pavilion dm4-3010tx. We weren’t overly happy with the build quality of the Wipro and the 530U is the clear winner amongst the two. In comparison with the HP Pavilion dm4-3010tx, the 530U props up with a better GPU. To sum it up, if you have that budget and you want a slim notebook without compromising on any connectivity features, the Samsung 530U is your best bet for now.