5 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 5 reviews of the Samsung NP530U4B. Experts rate Samsung NP530U4B 6.4/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the Samsung NP530U4B and Samsung Ultrabook.
The Samsung Series 5 Ultra is the company's first foray into the Ultrabook market (if you don't count the Series 9, which predates the Ultrabook brand). There's just one problem: It weighs nearly 4 pounds, and measures 0.82 inch thick. In other words, this 14-inch laptop is closer to a regular ol' ultraportable than it is to an Ultrabook. Ultrabooks are high-end, ultrathin notebooks defined by Intel as being 18mm (0.7 inch) thick at the most--but that specification is for models with screens 13.3 inches or smaller. With the advent of the Series 5 Ultra, Intel has stretched the requirements to make 21mm (0.83 inch) the standard thickness for machines with 14-inch or larger screens. Nevertheless, the Series 5 Ultra looks a little, well, thick, especially when it's sitting next to other Ultrabooks. In fact, it looks almost as chunky as my 15-inch MacBook Pro, which measures 24mm (0.95 inch) thick. Needless to say, the Series 5 Ultra hardly inspires the same oohs, aahs, and oh-my-gosh-that-laptop-is-so-thins as other Ultrabooks do. But there's a reason that this particular laptop is so comparatively hefty: It has both a DVD-RW drive and a 500GB hard drive.
You may get your software, music, and movies from the cloud, but there are still plenty of folks who like to install programs from disc; rip CDs from, well, CDs; and watch DVDs on the plane. Samsung has a deal for these people: Take your average ultrabook. Add one pound to its weight, bringing it to a still eminently portable 3.9 pounds. Subtract $100 from its price, bringing it to $899.99 list. Outfit it with a 14- instead of 13.3-inch screen, a roomy hybrid hard drive instead of a solid-state drive, and the onboard optical drive that nearly every other ultrabook lacks. Presto: You have the Series 5 Ultra (NP530U4B-A01US), an affordable alternative to Samsung's super-thin, super-elite Series 9 - or, for that matter, the 14-inch, no-optical-drive HP Envy 14 Spectre ($1,399.99 direct, 4 stars). With its DVD-RW drive and full array of ports, the NP530U4B-A01US splits the difference between ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 ($999.99 direct, 4 stars) and ultraportables like the Editors' Choice Toshiba Portege R835-P50X ($888.99 list, 4.5 stars). It also requires a model-number microscope to distinguish from the NP530U3B-A01US, which is a 13.3-inch ultrabook with no optical drive.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. The ultrabook -- a concept built around mimicking the best parts of Apple's MacBook Air -- has now become so broad that nearly anything qualifies, at least if this latest example from Samsung is any indicator. The 14-inch Series 5 is a perfectly fine laptop. It may even be the right laptop for you. But at 3.9 pounds and 0.8 inches thick, one thing it is not is a superslim, superportable laptop, along the lines of other ultrabooks we've seen, such as the Dell XPS 13 or Toshiba Portege Z835. As a reasonably compact $949 14-inch laptop (most retailers are selling it for $879), the Series 5 does a good job of offering the same mainstream-level performance we've been getting out of the current crop of ultrabooks, but with an optical drive, more ports and connections, and a big 500GB hard drive. But that's exactly the problem. Ultrabooks are supposed to rely on SSD storage; this model skirts the issue by adding a 16GB SSD for quick bootup to a standard 500GB HDD. And the tray-loading optical drive does nothing for thickness and weight. HP's 14-inch Envy Spectre is guilty of some of the same transgressions, but at least has a full-size SSD and a smaller footprint. I'm sure we'll see many more average-size laptops being pitched as ultrabooks in the coming months.
The term ultrabook has been well and truly established in the past year, with a raft of slim and sexy models launched. The 2012 additions are starting to trickle out now, with Samsung being the first to put a new machine in my hands, having showed it off at CES in Vegas earlier this year.The Series 5 offers a clean, sensible design and packs an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk drive, instead of the solid state drives you'd expect to see in an ultrabook.It's on sale now and will set you back £800 for the 13.3-inch version I tested, or £900 for the 14-inch model, which also packs in a DVD drive.So you want a flashy new laptop with colourful patterns and fancy, modern design, do you? Well, you're out of luck here as the Series 5 is a subdued beast. Instead of garish styling, it offers a rather more mature design. A silver-grey colour is to be found covering every part of the chassis, with nothing in the way of accents, edging or patterns. The Series 5 offers a simple, muture design without any flourishes. The only thing that punctuates the vast expanse of grey colouring on the lid is the subtle Samsung branding. Despite this, it somehow manages to avoid being boring.
One of the most unique Ultrabooks yet, the Samsung Series 5 14" squeezes a DVD drive into a machine that's a mere .8 inches thick. Think of it as a digital security blanket for those who still have the desire to use physical DVDs and install software from discs. Priced at $879, the Series 5 14" is also one of the most affordable laptops in its class. For your money, you also get a Core i5 processor and a hybrid hard drive that promises fast boots and resume times along with gobs of storage. Is this Ultrabook a good deal?Click to EnlargeThe Series 5 14" is not as svelte as 13-inch Ultrabooks, but it is thinner and lighter than most 14-inch laptops. Measuring 13.1 x 9.0 x 0.82 inches and weighing an even 4 pounds, this Samsung is lighter and thinner than the Dell XPS 14z and Lenovo U400s (both .9 inches thick and 4.4 pounds).We'll say this about the Series 5. It's certainly stylish: Not only did the silver-gray aluminum lid and deck on the Series 5 have a sleek and subdued look, but it felt sturdy and resisted fingerprints. The bottom panel is made of plastic.Click to EnlargeWe really enjoyed typing on the Series 5's island-style keyboard.