The Samsung Series 7 Chronos isn't the kind of notebook we normally spend time with at ZDNet. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), and we normally require our Windows notebooks to run Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.
But if you can get over the Windows version, and the fact that the battery sits inside a solid chassis and so can't be removed and replaced, the Series 7 Chronos shows off a few techniques and ideas we'd like to see creep into business notebooks.
The Series 7 Chronos is, in fact, a bit of a MacBook Pro wannabe. It takes some design cues from Apple's notebook, and our review sample shares the same processor — a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-2675M with a generous 8GB of RAM. Its chassis, a mix of aluminium and plastic, is solid and thin, and relatively light for a 15.6in. system measuring 36.21cm wide by 23.85cm deep by 2.39cm thick and weighing 2.29kg.
Samsung surrounds the screen with a relatively narrow bezel, yet has made room for a number pad that, while comprising keys that are slightly narrower than the main QWERTY set, are perfectly comfortable to use.
The trackpad is enormous — big enough to take the cursor all the way across the screen in one sweep. Its buttonless design is one of the nods to the MacBook Pro, as is the backlit isolation-style keyboard. The keyboard design won't appeal to everyone, as the keys are black on top, with white edges that help the backlight glow through. It's clever, but the look is somewhat toy-like to our eyes. Still, the keyboard feels perfectly comfortable, and that's what counts.
The 15.6in. screen doesn't have the greatest viewing angles, but it does deliver 1,600 by 900 pixels. This gives professionals a lot more area to work with than the standard 1,366 by 768 resolution, and I found the additional width and height really useful. The screen can be ramped up to 300nit brightness, making it suitable for use outdoors, and the matte finish has great appeal too.
The 750GB hard drive in our review sample is generous, and 1TB versions can be found online. The hard drive is boosted by 8GB of Diskeeper ExpressCache flash memory, which allows frequently-used files and apps to load faster, and makes cold booting into Windows speedier than usual.
The optical drive is another MacBook homage, as it's a slot loader rather than the common-or-garden tray-loading variety. There's a fair array of ports and connectors, although business users may balk at a couple of points.
The shallow base of the chassis doesn't quite have enough space for full-sized Ethernet or VGA ports. The VGA port is a mini unit for which Samsung providers a converter dongle, while Ethernet port is strangely hinged at the bottom. The bottom edges of the chassis curve upwards from the desk, so there are no problems accessing the port, but the hinged section could prove to be a point of failure over time.
Elsewhere, there's one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and a microphone/headphone combo jack.
Although it's not a classic business notebook, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos does offer several interesting features. As mentioned at the start, if you can get over the Windows version and the sealed-in battery, it might be of interest.
As reviewed, this notebook costs around £999 (inc. VAT); a more affordable Core i5 version is also available.