With its brushed aluminium lid, gun-metal grey plastic body, black island keyboard and discreet slot-loading drive bay, Samsung’s Chronos successfully channels a look of understated style. It’s a handsome chunk of mobile computer, but at just over two kilos, is around double the weight of many ultrabooks. And little wonder, really, because there’s a lot going on inside the Chronos.
Loaded with Windows 7 64-bit, it provides a fairly snappy experience for most activity, including regular office work, web browsing, and even a little bit of gaming if that’s needed.
The keyboard was mostly a joy to use, the keys providing a good tactile experience for the heavy-handed and feather-touch handed typists in our office. We say mostly because the plastic casing of the Chronos can be a little rough on wrists, the edges pressing hard into flesh and causing some discomfort.
The multi-touch trackpad was a little too sensitive for our liking, as we often inadvertently dragged items, or activated a left-click instead of a right-click.
Gesture control was better here than on other PCs we’ve tested, though, with pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scrolling, and even four-finger gestures (such as minimise windows to desktop and the Windows 7 flipping program manager) working with little effort.
Battery life is strong, providing us with roughly seven hours of use across activities that included word processing, WiFi and web surfing. For more multimedia-based activities, battery life is more likely to be around 5-6 hours, especially if you’re using applications that run the optical drive.
We like the matte screen of the Chronos: it doesn’t collect reflections from around the room like gloss surfaces do, making it easier to discern text and images in bright ambient conditions. That said, the colour on the screen can appear washed out, lacking in contrast and vibrancy, even when viewed dead-on.
The inclusion of an optical drive is a welcome touch, and the slot-loading mechanism complements the premium look Samsung has achieved with the Chronos. Given that this is a full-sized notebook with an HD capable screen, however, we’d have preferred Blu-ray support rather than just standard definition DVD playback. Other brands market smaller-screen notebooks with Blu-ray support, so this is an oversight on Samsung’s behalf.
Samsung’s Chronos manages to combine a fair chunk of power with a handsome design. There are, of course, many 15 inch notebooks selling for less than $700, but the extra power in the Chronos is what pushes it into a higher price bracket.
At a smidge under $1500, it’s more of a competitor to the 15 inch MacBook Pro range from Apple, even though the Mac arrives with a faster chip. If you like the look of that laptop but fancy a model with native Windows, the Chronos is worth checking out.
Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Matte screen; Loads of features and two USB 3.0 ports; Full-size keyboard with number pad;
Plasticy build; No Blu-ray drive; Case edge can hurt your wrist or palm;