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"
Specs at a Glance: Price:
Touch Screen: Yes
CPU: 1.7GHz Intel Core
SanDisk U100 mSATA
OS: Windows 8x64
Graphics: Intel HD 4000
12.4" x 8.6" x 0.66-0.78"
Weight: 1.64kg (3.6lbs)
USB: (1) USB 3.0, (2) USB
Network: (2) 802.11abg/n,
Bluetooth v4.0, RJ45 Gigabit LAN
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
Keyboard: 81-key, tile keyboard (non-glossy)
Pad: scroll scope, flat,
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.