She argued that the Sonata batteries are a "clean technology" because they are more energy-efficient. The company also seeks to use less harmful reactive chemicals and no heavy metals.To some it may seem like a lazy comparison, but it's far more apt than you may realize: this Series 7 has a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, a 1GB AMD Radeon graphics card, a backlit keyboard, a sharp aluminum design, a slot-loading DVD drive, and a gigantic multitouch click pad, all similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. While $1,299 is at the top end of the mainstream Windows laptop spectrum, it's $500 less than the entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro, with equivalent performance and then some. Particularly impressive? A battery life of more than 6 hours and a higher-resolution 1,600x900-pixel display.This isn't a slam-dunk killer laptop--not having Blu-ray is odd, and the touch pad isn't as silky-smooth as a MacBook's--but the Series 7 is, overall, a pretty excellent product at a price that's not terrible when you consider the components.
A sleek, clean aluminum design. Magnetic hasp. Center hinge. Tremendous click pad. Where have we seen this before? The easy comparison--and the one most people will make--when they see the Series 7 will be the Apple MacBook Pro, a design that's been around since 2008. The deeper similarities are to Samsung's own product lines, including the QX series, and the clean metal looks of some Asus laptops and Sony Vaios. The industrial-style design is very appealing--even more so when you get up close to appreciate the details.It's not all roses; despite seeming like a unibody design, the edges reveal the seams. There's a slight amount of flex to those edge connections, and to the palm rest and back lid. The Series 7 Chronos doesn't feel honed from a single slab of metal, or anywhere near that, but its dimensions are very similar to those of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, while having a slightly shallower footprint between the back of the laptop and the front of the palm rest. At 5.3 pounds, it's a little lighter than both the Pro and the slim Sony Vaio SE.This Samsung makes efficient use of its edge-to-edge real estate, both with its keyboard and screen. A very thin bezel surrounds the 15.6-inch display, with practically no wasted space. The raised island-style keyboard and number pad also span the crisp edges, recessed below the palm rest so the keys come up flush. It's not often that keyboard keys are striking, but these are: the squared edge-lit keys have glowing letters and glowing blue-white sides. They're also among the cleanest-feeling Samsung keys I've ever used.
A large click pad below has the right idea, but the wrong execution. The click pad is off-center because of the number pad, creating a narrow palm-rest area on the left. Also, the pad itself simply isn't as responsive as the equivalent Apple version. My fingers sometimes grazed the surface with little response, and two-finger gestures like scrolling got a little jumpy. It's closer than the Asus Zenbook's pad, but it's still subpar.Controls such as volume and screen brightness are function-key-activated, meaning you'll have to fumble for the Fn button. I was expecting function-reversed keys on a high-end laptop like this. A large circular power button on the top right is all the Series 7 offers outside of the keyboard.
The big, bright 15.6-inch display offers two surprises: it's matte, a virtual rarity in laptops nowadays, and it has a larger-than-average 1,600x900 resolution. The former helps to reduce glare, obviously. For photos, videos, or games, I'd argue that matte seems to dull the picture down ever so slightly, but overall the end result here is that the Series 7 is better off for the matte finish. Viewing angles for movies, games, and documents deteriorated once the screen was tilted even a little bit: view this display head-on only.
Stereo speakers with grilles tucked away inside the center lid hinge provide ample volume and clarity for Web videos and even casual music. They're equivalent to the quality of those found on other slim laptops like the Vaio SE and MacBook Pro.An HD 1,280x1,024 Webcam comes bundled with CyberLink YouCam software. The camera quality is good, better than the average, but not quite as excellent as recent HD Webcams I've seen on $1,000-plus laptops such as Dell's XPS series.I wasn't surprised by the ports and features on the Samsung Series 7 Chronos; they're in keeping with most midsize laptops. USB 3.0, Bluetooth, HDMI. The Ethernet port on the left side is unusually compressed--a small pull-down tab opens the port up to full size. Also, the normally standard VGA port has been replaced with a mini video port that connects to an included dongle. Saving valuable space makes sense, but this laptop isn't svelte enough to necessitate such maneuvers.There are several similar versions of the Samsung Series 7 Chronos laptop 700Z5A; some have only 6GB of RAM, others in retail configurations appear to drop Bluetooth and the extra VGA dongle. Comparing it with equivalent Sony Vaio SE and Dell XPS 15z configurations, the Series 7 offers a very similar set of specs. The 15z almost completely matches on price and specs, although the 15z has a 1080p display; the Vaio SE is more expensive in a $1,499 version, but also has a Blu-ray drive. It's a full $500 less than the closest entry-level MacBook Pro, but everyone expects Windows laptops to undercut Apple on price.
A 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2675QM processor is similar to what's available on the Sony Vaio F236FM, fall 2011 MacBook Pro 15-inch, and Toshiba Satellite P775-S7320. Performance is, as to be expected, speedy; the Series 7 slightly outperformed the Toshiba Satellite while being a bit slower than the Sony Vaio, though on single-task benchmarks they were quite similar. The real advantage to a quad-core processor comes from advanced tasks that use the cores at once; most mainstream computing would do fine with a dual-core Core i5 processor without sacrificing too much speed, but the extra power here comes in handy for gaming, among other things.AMD Radeon 6750M graphics offer a satisfying level of gaming power: Street Fighter IV ran at 53 frames per second at native resolution, while Metro 2033, a far more demanding game, ran at 11.3 frames per second at native resolution and high graphics settings. Dialing down graphics settings or playing at 1,366x768 pixels should help most games be very playable. I'd call this laptop gaming-friendly, but wouldn't call it a gamer's laptop.
Netbooks are not the most powerful of computers you can carry around these days -- in fact, many smart phones pack more heat -- but they're still a clever choice for work on the go when a phone or tablet won't cut the mustard.The Packard Bell Dot S comes equipped with a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor and 1GB of RAM.The Dot S may very well be seen as a slap in the face for the plethora of boring-looking netbooks around. Rather than opt for a miserable plain black lid, Packard Bell has slapped a rather attractive purple on top with a pattern reminiscent of wood grain.Under the lid you'll find plenty of white plastic with the same wood-effect pattern showing its face on the wrist rest. The keys and screen surround are white too, so things appear somewhat clinical. If you're a nurse in a busy hospital wanting to bang out a few tweets, you'll fit right in with the Dot S -- just make sure you properly wash your hands before and after you use it.Darker purple, white and black colour variations are available if you're particularly colour-minded.The Packard Bell Dot S comes in all the shades and colours under the sun, from purple to purple, black, white and purple.
The isolated keys are raised away from the base by quite a bit, which makes them feel rattly and fragile. Like all netbooks, there isn't much room for a keyboard so you may find you need to squash your hand in to type properly. There's barely any gap between each key, which makes differentiating between them at speed more awkward than we'd like.The base of the Dot S feels pretty sturdy and doesn't offer much flex or creaking when we pressed down on it. The lid doesn't feel as good though. It's far too easily bent for our liking. We would expect a more robust feel from something designed for use on the move.With a width of 259mm and a height of 31mm, it's about as portable as every single other netbook on offer -- it'll fit easily into a bag. It weighs 1.3kg, which again is what we'd expect from a netbook. It's not so heavy that you couldn't take it to the coffee shop, but not so light that it risks being blown off the table every time someone walks past.Around the sides you'll find three USB 2.0 ports, which is generous enough, along with a VGA port, an Ethernet port and microphone and headphone jacks. There's an SD card reader too, which is great news for quickly dumping your embarrassing holiday snaps off your camera.
The trackpad is a very little thing and it's only distinguishable from the white plastic surround by being slightly indented. It's responsive so it's not unpleasant to use when you're browsing quickly through web pages. The buttons beneath it are fused at the middle to create one long button. So long as you make sure to touch it on the edges, rather then towards the middle, it's easy to click.To get the benefits of fuel cells in portable electronics, Apple engineers think they need to work well with batteries.In newly published patent applications today, Apple describes a way for fuel cell power sources to be designed into electronics, such as a laptop, and controlled to optimize their performance without adding a lot of extra weight.In one patent application titled simply a Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device, Apple says there is "increasing awareness and desire" among consumers to use renewable-energy sources. Fuel cells are compelling technically because of their energy density, or ability to pack a lot of energy into a relatively small package compared to a battery."Fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refueling," according to the patent application. The challenge has always been keeping electronics portable and cost-effective, Apple said in the application.
Indeed, there have been a number of products developed for charging electronics, but they have yet to really take off. Typically, fuel cells for electronics are designed for portable charging, where a person carries a fuel cartridge, which could be a cylinder the size of a roll of coins, to recharge a phone or music player.By contrast, Apple envisions fuel cells integrated right into the electronics. Much of one patent application describes a control system for optimizing energy flow from the fuel cell stack, which produces power, from a dedicated communications system.The second patent application describes how this fuel cell would work in tandem with a rechargeable battery, so the fuel cell could charge the battery and vice versa. "This eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel cell system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight and cost of the fuel cell system," according to the patent application.These aren't the first fuel cell patent applications Apple has filed. Patently Apple notes that in October a newly published patent application from Apple was for fuel cell plates that focus more on power generation from within a portable device.
As for the fuel itself, one of Apple's patent applications said that a variety of fuels could provide the source of electric power. Among them are sodium borohydride powder mixed with water. These are still considered experimental and do not appear to be commercially available.A fuel cell works by passing hydrogen through a membrane, where oxygen from the air mixes with the hydrogen to produce water vapor and electricity. Apple's patent applications describe fuel cells where the hydrogen is derived from solutions that contain sodium borohydride or similar materials.One of the barriers to portable fuel cell chargers is having a sales channel to purchase and recycle fuel cartridges. Although it makes no mention of its stores in its patent applications, Apple's retail outlets could make fuel cell use far more approachable.We just reviewed a new retail-specific version of Dell's popular Inspiron 1525 laptop, and found ourselves wondering why this new system's battery life was so poor compared to its very recent (and largely identical) predecessor. How can two versions of essentially the same laptop have a difference in battery life as big as the 3-hour vs. 2-hour one we found? We looked a little closer and found a potential culprit.