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Samsung Chronos 7

By Matt Simpson - Thursday, January 05, 2012

It seems like today all of the press goes to the smallest, thinnest, or lightest new piece of computing hardware. Unfortunately, most of these super small devices sacrifice power in the name of space savings. Luckily the new Chronos Laptop from Samsung reminds us that there is still power to be had, even in a relatively small package.

Even after we came out of the portable computer quagmire and started using real laptop PC’s, they were still huge bricks of devices that had poor displays and could never be left too far from an electrical outlet, lest the terrible battery life and high power consumption of the day conspire to leave you with a blank screen.

Now we have high resolution, LED backlit LCD screens, hardware that sips power by comparison, and efficient LI-ION battery packs to keep it all going. Miniaturization of all relevant parts means that even a full featured laptop need no longer be 3 inches thick. The Chronos is a good example of that.

What Lies Beneath?

Under that brushed aluminum shell lurks some serious hardware compared to the wimpy offerings put forth in so many of the popular laptops today. The CPU is the heart of any computer and in this case, it’s transplanted from a marathon runner. Intel’s 2674QM, a 2.2 GHz version of the I7 mobile line is the heart in question, along with its
HD 3000 integrated graphics for 2D and video playback. This is supplemented with a powerful Radeon 6750 mobile graphics processor which has its own 1 GB of memory. There are 8GB of memory for the system to play with

Storage isn’t taken for granted here either. The primary drive is a 750 GB 7200 RPM mobile monster. This is further supplemented by what Samsung calls Express Cache. This is a small 8GB flash drive attached to the motherboard; it works like Intel’s SSD cache technology and allows often read items to be stored in the faster Flash memory. Samsung claims that this feature alone reduces boot times by up to 45 percent. Some reviewers have found that while boot times were quick, they did not change even if the feature was disabled.

I/O options abound as well, with a slot loading DVD burner, 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a VGA, HDMI, and RJ-45 ports rounding things out. There is also the obligatory Kensington lock and 3.5mm MIC and headphone jacks.

The Screen

One of the biggest problems with many of the notebooks today is the trend to get by with tiny 10 or 12 inch screens. The Chronos makes up for this by offering 15.6 inches of desktop real estate. Unfortunately, it follows another trend in the laptop market, the downgrading of resolution. There was a time when cutting edge for a 15.6 inch screen was 1920x1200. Today, you can expect to find no better than 1920x1080. This is designed to reflect the 16:9 aspect ratios of today’s home movies. This seems like an odd path to follow for desktop resolutions, but it is ever worse here with the Samsung, offering only 1600x900 resolutions. It follows the home movie aspect ratio, but has too few pixels to even display full HD content correctly.

How Does It Perform?

Not surprisingly, with the hardware they packed into this bad boy, it performs much better than its ultra book competitors and does so while looking cool with its backlit keyboard. Now, this isn’t a competitor for the Mac Book Air or any of the hyper portables, what it is comparable to is the Mac book Pro. Interestingly, while Cupertino usually holds all the cards in markets where it competes, here we find the Samsung even holds a weight advantage of almost a full pound.

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