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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
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

LCD Viewing Angles and a Shoddy Webcam

Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 ultrabook ships with a 13.3" display that uses a power efficient LED backlight and is rated to 300nits luminance. Because this is a touch screen enabled notebook there's a glossy touch screen panel over the actual LCD display, which means the shiny surface reflects everything behind the user. These reflections can at times be distracting, but there's little to be done other than tilting the screen forward or back a bit.

The LCD has a viewable size of 29.5xm x 16.7cm (13.3" diagonal) and a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels. The screen panel itself is 7mm thick, the bezel around the screen is 11mm and 18mm wide at the top. The screen doesn't tilt back flat, but at most to about 25 degrees. Above the display is a tiny 1.3Mpixel webcam of modest-to-low quality which is (just) suitable for web conferencing.

Viewing Angles and Image Quality

The image quality of the NP540U3C-A01's display is excellent head on and not too shabby from acute left or right viewing angles (for a notebook, at least) as you can see in the sample images below. As is typical of most notebooks, the up/down viewing angles are quite shallow, so the 13.3" display loses a lot of contrast when the screen is tilted too far forward or back.

(Click to view full size image)

Click on the image above for a full size picture of left/right/top/down viewing angles.

Disappointing Integrated Web Camera

A notebook without a web camera isn't complete in this day and age. Mounted above the NP540U3C-A01's 13.3" LCD screen is a tiny 1.3 mega pixel webcam that's handy for conducting face-to-face meetings with far off colleagues via Skype, or what have you.

Unlike the 9-series Samsung ultrabook PCSTATS previously tested, Samsung either cheeped out on this camera or the touch screen glass is not optically transmissive enough and is causes less than ideal picture quality. As you'll see momentarily, the picture from the web camera is hazy and lacking in crisp detail even at a so-called "720p" quality setting.

The blue light indicates the small 1.3Mpix web camera is recording. Quality was below our expectations.

A built-in microphone on the left side of the keyboard picks up sound for video conferencing and the Microsoft Camera App comes pre-installed for accessing the camera directly. This MSFT Camera App is extremely simplistic , over simplified to Fisher Price levels and hardly worth using. Curiously the still photos this App takes are also limited to a mushy 0.9Mpix (1280x720) resolution for some reason. \

PCSTATS was not satisfied by Microsoft Camera App and in practice there's no way I'd use this software unless hell froze over, maybe.

Integrated microphone.

Samsung bundled a second app with the NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook called S-Camera which is more useful in that it has actual controls and offers enhanced flexibility along with some basic filters for the kids. S-Camera is essentially a white-boxed version of Cyberlink's YouCam, but at least this App has the ability to take still pictures at the full 1.3Mpix resolution of 1280x1024 pixels.

In either instance, the quality of images is quite poor because the web camera is incapable of taking especially crisp images. The video quality is satisfactory for conducting a Skype call or Microsoft Office Live Meeting, but in general terms this web camera performed below expectations.

Click on the image above for a full size, uncompressed example of the web camera's still photo capabilities.

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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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