Model Reviewed: 700G7A

‘Gaming Laptop’ has always been a bit of an inside joke with technology enthusiasts and even PC gamers alike for years now.  Ask most PC gamers about gaming laptops or (if you dare) go onto any PC gaming enthusiast website and ask on their forums and one of the following responses will happen:

“Why would you want to spend that much when you could spend half as much on a desktop…”

“There are no PC Gaming Laptops and here’s 573 reasons why…”

But sometimes you have to put all of these responses to bed and if, like me, you already have a gaming PC but want something slightly more portable than a Zalman GS1200 case made out of steel and iron and weighing approximately 1,000lbs* to take to LAN parties or you simply don’t have the space to accommodate a full gaming tower then you’re going to want something powerful but still portable – this is where Samsung have come in.

With Samsings first swing into the gaming laptop market, the first thing you notice as almost the standard measuring stick for gaming laptops is the sheer weight of the unit.  This Samsung Series 7 weighs in at a meaty 7.7 lbs which whilst not exactly titanic in proportion can be a shock if you aren’t expecting it.

Opening the S7 you are presented with your standard keyboard layout with the inclusion of a numpad.  The casing and keys are made out of plastic. Firstly the laptop looks like any larger scale laptop but there are a few hidden features.  With the “Mode Selector” dail on the right hand side of the laptop you have the choice of the following options:

Eco Mode: Turns off all external serivces including wifi to maximise battery life.
Library Mode: Mutes the laptop and minimises the brightness but keeps wifi enabled
Balanced Mode: Your standard laptop setup
Gaming Mode: This is the most interesting mode, please read on…

Yep, Gaming Mode! I was worried that when Samsung said that they had created a gaming laptop that felt like a gaming laptop and one of my friends explained the following features as ‘features that other people would expect gaming laptops to have’ I had a horrible feeling that the features within the Gaming Mode of the S7 would be cringe worthy.  I imagined an abitrarily Googled ‘gaming wallpaper’ as the desktop background and the noises to be replaced with something as cliché as the Unreal Tournement announcer shouting “Headshot” everytime you encountered a Windows Error.  Fortunately – I actually like being proven wrong sometimes.

When you click the Gaming Mode to active on the S7, the following things happen:

The desktop background animates briefly to signify you have activated Gaming Mode, this can be one of three animations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Jq4mVx_F4

The backlit keys change from standard white to a soft blue hue with the W,A,S,D keys highlighted in red. A not-so-subtle touch but a nice touch all the same.

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On the speaker grill, both the power and volume button have a sound activated red ring around them as a visualisation and the centre of the grill offers a further indication of the Gaming Mode as the word TURBO is displayed – in this mode, Intel’s “Turbo Boost” is applied to the processor – so it’s not just there for the sake of it.

Many people have described this design choice as poor or gaudy but I have to completely disagree with them, I think that if you are going to go out and spend a large sum of money on a laptop which you want almost exclusively for gaming then you might not want a laptop that looks like a standard laptop – companies such as Alienware have made an entire industry out of making their products look like gaming products and I think this is a smart move for Samsung – flashy but not pushed too far.

Samsung Series 7 Specs

As you can see from the impressive list of specs on this beasty laptop, it’s not short of a bit of processing power.  My first concern however would be the graphics chipset – whilst being a perfectly acceptable chipset, the Radeon HD6970 isn’t the graphical workhorse that maybe the Geforce GXT 485M is but whilst playing most recent games (Borderlands 2, Skyrim, DOTA2, Dead Island) the laptop offered superb quality.

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THE BENCHMARKING:

Samsung Series 7 Benchmarking scores

FINAL THOUGHTS

Whatever your reasons for wanting or needing a gaming laptop, whether you are looking for a powerful desktop replacement or something to attend LAN parties with you could do a lot worse than the Samsung Series 7 – It’s not cheap mind you – ranging between £1,000 and £1,500 depending on specific model and retailer and it’s always worthwhile to remember that upgrading a gaming laptop is difficult to impossible but casting all of that aside, if you need to have a gaming laptop then the Samsung Series 7 is a healthy and worthwhile investment.