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Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review

Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: Samsung's 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook is the first touch screen laptop to cross PCSTATS test bench with Windows 8 installed. Our first impressions of this new touch screen interface are positive...
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung May 08 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Samsung NP540U3C-A01

Samsung's 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook is the first laptop to cross PCSTATS test bench with Windows 8 installed and a touch screen. Our first impressions of the new interface are positive - poking at the screen with ones fingers easily compliments the keyboard and touchpad to really bring out the best in Microsoft Windows 8 and crack open a whole new world of applications.

The touch screen interface is intuitive to learn, landing Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 ultrabook functionally somewhere between a sup'ed-up tablet and laptop. After a few minutes using the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook to surf around some websites we began to draw comparisons between it and the Apple iPad. Both touch screen interfaces work essentially the same way, but there are some real differences too.

The nice thing about the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 notebook having touch screen capabilities is that it's powerful hardware makes it a lot more capable than any tablet PC could ever hope for. The bad thing about meshing a notebook and tablet together is that the touch screen interface on the NP540U3C-A01 isn't as simplified as that on the iPad. I think much of this is chalked up to needless Windows 8 menu's that spring out when you don't want them too, or becoming bogged down by misinterpreted gestural commands. Suffice to say, the touch screen is nice, but when it comes time to get actual work done you may find yourself turning back to the keyboard and mouse like we were.

As notebook manufacturers, Samsung are consistently addressing shortcomings from previous models and steadily improving their notebook product line. The Samsung 5-Series Ultratouch NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook PCSTATS is testing today retails for around $1100 USD/CDN and comes with a bright 13.3" LED backlit display, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 3317U 'Ivy Bridge' processor, a power efficient 128GB SSD, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory and Microsoft Windows 8 x64 operating system installed. Graphics are supplied by the pedestrian Intel HD 4000 IGP, but at least this Ultrabook supports miniVGA and HDMI connected secondary displays.

The notebook weighs 3.6 lbs and is covered by a 1 year warranty on parts and labour. Portability is 'de rigueur' for Ultrabooks, but in this case the chassis is at most, 19mm thick . That is pretty thin... For daily commuters who occasionally feel like they're lugging around a quarter-sheet of plywood on their back, the NP540U3C-A01's modest weight and 31.5cm by 21.8cm dimensions make it surprisingly comfortable to haul around.

Samsung NP540U3C-A01 13.3" Ultrabook

Technical Specs at a Glance:
Model: NP540U3C-A01
Screen: 13.3", 1366x768px
Touch Screen: Yes
CPU: 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U
Chipset: Intel HM76
Memory: 8GB DDR3-1600
HDD: 128GB SanDisk U100 mSATA SSD
OS: Windows 8x64
Graphics: Intel HD 4000 IGP
Size: 12.4" x 8.6" x 0.66-0.78"
Weight: 1.64kg (3.6lbs)
Price: $1099 CDN

USB: (1) USB 3.0, (2) USB 2.0
Network: (2) 802.11abg/n, Bluetooth v4.0, RJ45 Gigabit LAN
Camera: 1.3mpix HD webcam
Audio: 2x2W stereo speaker, SoundAlive mic
Ports: VGA, HDMI, LAN, 1/8" headphone/mic, (3) USB, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot, DC power.
ODD: none
Keyboard: 81-key, tile keyboard (non-glossy)
Touch Pad: scroll scope, flat, gestural
Battery: Li-polymer, 52Wh
Warranty: 3 Years

In addition to the touch screen display we've already mentioned, you'll find the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 has a really nice 81-key Scrabble-tile keyboard with excellent haptic responsiveness, a large gestural touch pad, integrated Intel 802.11abgn (2x2) WiFi with Bluetooth 4.0 networking, a dinky 1.3 Mpix web camera, one USB 3.0 and a pair of USB 2.0 ports.

Rounding out the feature set are a pair of 2W speakers and a 3-in-1 SDHC/SD/SDXC memory card reader. The battery lasts about six and half hours and is built into the body of the notebook, swapping out battery packs is not an option.

13.3" Touch Screen Notebook

Above all, the most unique feature of the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook has got to be its 13.3" touch screen display - the marriage of powerful notebook hardware with the popular tablet input device.

Technically, the 13.3" screen on the NP540U3C-A01 ultrabook has a resolution of 1366x728 pixels, decent viewing angels and a brightness rating of 300nits. Unlike your old notebook, there is a touch screen panel mounted in front of the LCD - basically a glossy piece of thin glass like you would find on a smart phone - that makes it possible to interact with the picture on the monitor as you would via a mouse or touch pad with a traditional notebook. In other words, you can literally push buttons, enter text on the screen, drag and drop, zoom in and scroll through websites with the touch of a finger. To drive this point home, for Windows 8 Microsoft include an App that let you finger paint - yup, just like in Kindergarten.

Processing power years beyond Tablets and iPads

Under the hood of Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook you'll find an Intel Core i5 3317U mobile chip with 3MB L2 cache. This '3rd Generation Core i5 'Ivy Bridge' processor is a dual core chip (four threads via Hyperthreading) and is built on the 22nm process. The CPU is clocked at 1.7GHz but can boost its speed up to 2.6GHz depending on moment to moment application demands. The Core i5 3317U sips about 17W of power, giving the entire platform a robust battery life of 6h18m according to MobileMark 2012.

The notebook is built around Intel's mobile HM76 chipset.

The laptop doesn't have space for a discrete graphics card, so Intel's on-die HD 4000 integrated graphics are put to work at 350-1050 MHz. The IGP allocates about 300MB of the 8GB system memory to itself for this. The Core i5 3317U CPU supports 64-bit instruction sets, virtualization (VT-x, VT-d, ETP), Anti-Theft Tech., QuickSync, Wireless Display, DX11, OpenGL 3.1, SM4.1 and HDMI 1.4 standards. This CPU does not support vPro, Trusted Execution or Demand Based Switching which some corporate environments may require.

Let's begin with a close look at the side ports on this diminutive 'Titan Silver" ultrabook.

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: Samsung NP540U3C-A01
 Pg 1.  — Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review
 Pg 2.  360° View of the Samsung NP540U3C-A01
 Pg 3.  360° View of the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 Continued
 Pg 4.  LCD Viewing Angles and a Shoddy Webcam
 Pg 5.  Challenges with the Touch Screen Windows 8 Interface
 Pg 6.  Looking Under the Hood
 Pg 7.  Notebook Benchmarks: MobileMark, Sysmark 2012, PCmark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Notebook Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11
 Pg 9.  Notebook Benchmarks: Sandra 2013 CPU / Memory / SSD
 Pg 10.  Notebook SSD Benchmarks: PCmark Vantage HDD Suite, AS SSD
 Pg 11.  Conclusions: Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 Core i5 Ultrabook

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