Review: Samsung NP700G7A

Our score: 5/5
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January 20, 2012 8:22 AM
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Published: January 20, 2012 8:08 AM
By Alexandre Botella
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Samsung is hoping to tap into the gaming market with this Series 7 NP700G7A laptop—a powerful notebook computer with high-end functions and top-of-the-range hardware including a 3D screen and a Blu-ray player. Will this 17.3-inch laptop prove as powerful as Samsung promises? Let's take a closer look.

High-End Hardware

The glossy black plastic hood is sure to pick up every fingerprint going, but apart from that, the NP700G7A is a well-finished product. The various parts have been assembled nicely with no wobbles or loose-feeling pieces. Plus, the brushed aluminium keyboard surround and wrist-rest add a stylish  touch. 

Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review

The keyboard keys are backlit and they're comfortable and instinctive to type with. On the whole, the keyboard is pleasant to use and you won't find yourself hitting the wrong keys too often. Like Medion, Samsung has paid particular attention to the WSAD keys—those most frequently used by gamers (right-handed gamers in any case) for moving around in FPS games like Call of Duty, Doom, etc.   
    
The touchpad doesn't stick to your finger or hinder glide, and is equipped the main multitouch functions. It's nice and big, and offers a decent scrolling speed. For gaming, we'd still recommend a mouse, though, as it's pretty much impossible to play as well with a touchpad.

Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - webcamThe webcam (720p) is perfectly fine for chatting over the web or video-conferencing, which isn't bad for a built-in model. For high-quality movies, however, you'll definitely need a better device. All in all, movement could be rendered more accurately and the image could be more detailed.

This laptop has a good range of connections, spread over the sides and rear edge of the device. There are four USB ports (2 x 3.0 and 2 x 2.0), an Ethernet port, an SD card reader, a headphones socket and a microphone socket. On top of that, the NP700G7A has a Blu-ray player, which goes very nicely with the Full HD screen. You don't have to stick with watching content on the laptop screen either, as this 17.3-inch notebook has three video output ports—VGA, DVI and HDMI—for connection to a TV or monitor.

On the right-hand edge of the laptop there's a thumb-wheel for changing power-saving settings on the fly. At the highest setting, performances are all set to the max, while at the lowest setting, energy saving options help make the battery last longer. This is a handy addition that doesn't look out of place on the laptop. Plus, it's much quicker than using the power management function in Windows.  

Seeing as they come loaded with powerful components, gaming laptops are often noisier than average. Samsung, however, seems to have done a good job with the NP700G7A, as in an environment with some background noise you'll barely notice this laptop at all—when gaming with the sound on it'll soon be drowned out. Heat is handled well too, with temperatures kept under 40°C. Plus, hot air is expelled from the back of the laptop so you won't end up with red-hot knees. For a laptop with components like this, that's really not bad at all. Nice work Samsung! 
 
Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - heatTemperature readings from the NP700 with the components working hard.
Readings taken with a Fluke Ti25 camera.
 
 
Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - power saving
Power saving settings dial
Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - fingerprints Hood (complete with fingerprints)

Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - connections
  Power port, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0 (X 2), SD card slot, mic and headphones ports
Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A laptop review - optical drive
  2 x USB 2.0 ports, DVD burner and Blu-ray player


Processing Power: Very Good

The NP700G7A processor is very powerful, but that's no real surprise since we'd already seen this CPU in action in the Medion X6813. The processor in question is the four-core Intel Core i7-2630M, which can run two processes in parallel in each core. With programs that are designed to share out their processing needs among several CPU cores, it'll be twice as effective as a processor like the Core i5-2430M. From office computing and decompressing files to HD video encoding and 3D modelling, nothing is beyond this machine and it does everything nice and quickly.

Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) starts up in 32 seconds. It then takes between 10 and 15 seconds to launch the various programs and connect to a Wi-Fi network. It then takes just under 15 seconds to turn the computer off fully.

This laptop is quicker than average thanks to a little 8 GB SSD that's built onto the motherboard. This drive isn't designed to store personal files or data, but is used by the computer to store frequently used items. This helps the PC load up frequently used programs or files more quickly and it also helps the computer boot up more quickly after being on standby or in sleep mode compared with models that only have an HDD.

Games: Excellent in 2D, Less Excellent in 3D

Thanks to the AMD HD6970M graphics card, the NP700G7A offers excellent performances in games ... so long as you stick to 2D. This 17.3-inch laptop can handle pretty much all the latest games with no problems at all—you'll only need to turn graphics detail down in a handful of particularly power-hungry games (e.g. Crysis, Metro 2033).

Creating an extra image to deliver stereoscopic 3D means extra work for the graphics card. This instantly reduces the number of games you can play without making some kind of compromise. Since you can't reduce the resolution using TriDef (the 3D gaming software on the NP700G7A), graphics detail will need to be pushed down to a mid-range setting to keep things running reasonably smoothly.

Audio: Average but Adequate

The audio input and output are nothing out of the ordinary, but they do their job just fine. Sound quality is acceptable, with a decent volume level, but the output could still be cleaner and crisper.

The 2.1 speakers and Dolby audio processing should, in theory, make for excellent audio quality. However, it's actually pretty bog-standard stuff in the end. While overall quality is on par with competitor laptops, we were hoping for something a little better.

Battery Life: 2 hrs 30 mins, Limited Mobility

In spite of its Core i7 processor and powerful graphics card, the NP700G7A still manages to hold out for 2.5 hours before needing to recharge (video playback, screen at 100 cd/m², headphones plugged in, Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting off). That means you'll be able to watch a film undisturbed or move between rooms of the house without having to worry too much about bringing the charging cable. We've seen better, but it's not too bad for a laptop weighing 3.5 Kg, which—let's face it—isn't going to be leaving the house that often.
5/5 Samsung NP700G7A DigitalVersus 2012-01-20 09:08:00

Pros

  • High-contrast, high-brightness, 120 Hz screen with active 3D
  • Processing power
  • Graphics card gives good performance (in 2D)
  • Good range of connections
  • Blu-ray player
  • Stays quiet and relatively cool

Cons

  • Some crosstalk in 3D
  • TN screen, poor colour fidelity

Conclusion

The powerful, quiet and well-equipped Samsung Series 7 NP700G7A is an excellent laptop for gamers. However, we recommend you only use the 3D mode for watching 3D Blu-ray movies and stick to gaming in 2D with the graphics detail up high. While the AlienWare M17x-R3 is still a cut above, it's also a fair bit more expensive than this Samsung model.

OUR SCORE 5/5
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