Fed up with your desktop? Combine productivity with mobility with the Samsung Series 3 350E laptop, a 17.3-inch machine that’s powerful enough to cope with all your needs yet still maintains a good level of mobility in case you need it. Grab it from laptopsdirect.co.uk for £649.97. The next best price at:

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Samsung Series 3 350E Review – Will It Retire Your Desktop PC?

Before We Start

The laptop we have on our hands today belongs to a category that’s not very popular here so far – desktop replacements. For those of you who are not familiar with the terminology, we’re talking about larger laptops that can compete with desktop PCs in terms of performance yet still maintain the portability of a traditional laptop, or a part of it at least.

With a screen that measures 17.3-inches in diagonal and weighing 2.8 kilograms, the Samsung Series 3 350E is not the most portable laptop out there, being quite large and heavy to be used as an everyday companion. However, we can’t hold these things against it because of a very simple reason – these machines are not intended to be carried around everywhere; they are rather designed for desk use and to be carried to an occasional presentation from time to time.

Is Bigger Necessarily Better?

Now that we’ve established that the Samsung 350E is not the most portable laptop out there, let’s see how it compensates for this. The first aspect is obviously the display. Coming with a 17.3-inch HD+ LED display that’s capable of producing a resolution of 1600 by 900 pixels, the Samsung 350E is a good fit for all uses, whether we’re talking about web browsing, office tasks, multimedia and even gaming. Everything is more comfortable than on a regular 15.6-inch laptop thanks to the bigger display so whether you work or play, the experience will be significantly improved.

Thanks to its bigger size, the Samsung Series 3 350E has another advantage – more hardware space. Samsung used this aspect to its advantage, fitting in a powerful configuration that transforms the laptop into a power-beast. Its heart is an Intel Core i7-3630QM quad-core processor running at a frequency of 2.4GHz; if things get more serious, the processor automatically overclocks itself up to 3.4GHz, turning into a real monster. We tested various combinations of web browsers, software and games and couldn’t make the processor sweat, which is quite impressive for a laptop. Truth be told, it’s not all the processor’s merit because there are also 8GB of RAM to assist it and a discrete GPU handling the graphics, the AMD Radeon HD 7670M.

Cranking it up: Gaming

We were eager to put the GPU to work and see how it copes with some serious gaming sessions but it seems that we got our hopes a bit too high because the AMD Radeon HD7670M is not as fierce as it looks, despite its 2GB of dedicated memory. We tried to run Battlefield 3 but we only managed to make it playable with details set to low; other games such as Starcraft 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 were playable with details set to medium, respectively high, but that’s still far from impressive. We didn’t bother with synthetic benchmarks because we feel that an astronomical benchmark score means nothing if the real-world usage experience is unsatisfactory so we gave some other less-demanding games a try and we called it a day. Our final conclusion was that, even though the laptop deals decently with slightly older and not-so-demanding games, hardcore gamers won’t be too happy with it.

Music – Movies – Multimedia

So far we found out that the laptop is good for work and not so good for gaming but what about multimedia? For a movie enthusiast, a bigger screen is always a reason of joy, and the laptop’s 17.3-inch display proved to be just the right size for watching movies but it’s not all about the display. However, Samsung seems to have paid a lot of attention to this chapter because the laptop comes with everything you need for a good multimedia experience: a generous 1TB hard drive that allows you to store a big movie collection, a HDMI output if you want to hook up a flatscreen TV and, most notably, a pair of speakers that perform surprisingly well. Even though their rated power is only 1.5W each, the Samsung 350E’s speakers performed nicely when we put them to the test. Sound effects and music sounded decent, voices were clear and we even noticed a bit of bass.

Final Thoughts

Summing up the good, the bad and the ugly, we can say that the Samsung Series 3 350E is one great machine. Except for gaming power, the laptop has everything it needs to be a suitable desktop replacement so if you want to clear up some desk space and don’t care much about gaming, go for it!

Features and Specifications Summary

  • Laptop Model – Samsung Series 3 350E
  • Processor – 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3630QM, Ivy Bridge
  • CPU Speed – 2.4GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz) 6MB Cache
  • Screen Size – 17.3-inch
  • Display – 1600 x 900 HD+ Anti-Reflective LED Display
  • Memory – 8GB RAM, DDR3 1600MHz
  • Storage – 1TB SATAII 5400rpm hard drive
  • Graphics – AMD Radeon HD 7670M, 2GB
  • Connectivity – USB3.0 x2, USB2.0 x2, HDMI x1, VGA x1, Ethernet x1, 3-in-1 card reader x1, Bluetooth 4.0 x1
  • Operating System – Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit


 

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