By now we all know about the Samsung Series 9, the thin and light model that looks to challenge the Apple MacBook Air in the high-end stakes.
By the same logic the new Series 7 700Z takes on the MacBook Pro. Of course, we’ve seen the Series 7 previously in the guise of the Series 7 Gamer. This Series 7, the 700Z or Chronos, is pitched as being a premium device that, well, is like the MacBook Pro.
Mentioning Apple so many times in two short paragraphs might seem like bad taste, especially considering the ongoing legal wrangling between the two companies, but having spent some time with the 700Z, it feels like a valid comparison.
To draw a line under this comparison let’s deal with the trackpad. The trackpad on the 700Z is possibly the best trackpad we’ve seen on a Windows PC to date. It’s glass, it’s one giant button, it’s silky smooth, it offers multitouch. High praise indeed, as in our exploratory play it seemed as good as that on the… MacBook Pro.
But let’s not do Samsung a disservice. We’ve seen two models of the 700Z in different sizes: a 15.6- and a 14-inch model. The 15.6-inch is coming to the UK, but the surprising thing is that the difference between the two models is discreet - effectively, Samsung have squeezed the 15.6-inch display into a laptop frame that feels much smaller.
The display also has an anti-glare finish and when we viewed the 700Z with windows behind us we didn’t find it a problem - that bodes well for those that like to work on the move, which is where the 700Z will probably be most popular. Samsung tells us it's a 300nit display and that finish comes as standard, it doesn't cost you extra. The resolution of 1600x900 is reasonable, although we know some will be screaming for more pixels.
The keyboard seemed excellent for the brief time we spent with it. The responsive keys are backlit but the inclusion of a numpad on the right-hand side does mean the keys shift to the left, so it might feel a little lopsided to some, with the left palm rest being much smaller than the right.
Ports and connections are packed down the left-hand side, the slot-loading DVD drive on the right-hand side with a third USB. You’ll find the likes of a full-size HDMI connection in there, USB ports on both sides of the chassis for convenience and an SD card reader on the leading edge.
We didn’t get much of a chance to witness the performance, but with starting specs of Intel Core i5-2430M processor and 6GB RAM, the price of £799, combined with the premium build makes it an attractive combo.
Step-up options for the Core i5 offer AMB Radeon HD6750M graphics with 1GB dedicated memory and 8GB RAM for £899, or a Core i7 model again with ATi graphics and 8GB RAM for £999. All models include the Express Cache technology which claims to speed up boot times and common application launches.
There is no denying the sex appeal of the Samsung Series 7 700Z. When we asked Samsung how they'd respond to those who compared the 700Z to the MacBook Pro, the response was "we'd be flattered". Of course, we'll be looking to get the 700Z in for a full review as soon as we can.