Samsung Notebook 7 13.3″ (NP730XBE-K02US) Review

Samsung have just released a new breed of lightweight notebooks. The 7 series comes in multiple size and hardware options. This particular model I’ll be reviewing today is the 13.3 inch flagship, the Samsung Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US. It’s the most powerful and future-proof out of their 13-inch lineup, and I consider it to be the one to go for if you’re after a a thin, ultra portable and stylish laptop.

Review

The Samsung Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US is no ordinary laptop. It doesn’t come at an ordinary price, either. This specific model has the best hardware specs out of all notebooks from this series. It accomplishes everything a modern ultrabook should achieve, and can easily be held to the high standards imposed by the industry’s giants: ASUS and Dell.

Samsung Notebook 7 13.3"

It doesn’t have the same pedigree as an XPS or ZenBook, but it does feature this minimal and functional design we’ve come to appreciate lately. There are no unnecessary buttons, no useless empty spaces. In the mean time, it doesn’t feel like it’s cramped up by its reduced dimensions. On the contrary, the way everything have been spaced out gives it an overall distinct, intentional feel to this series.

Furthermore, this is the thinnest notebook I’ve ever witnessed. You can barely feel its width when transporting it around. On the whole, my opinion is that the Samsung designers working on the Notebook 7 have successfully managed to pull off a balanced, tasteful and understated laptop design.

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But since looks are purely subjective, I’ll skip to discussing actual performance and whether this Samsung is a good option to consider, especially with all those other high end small ultrabooks on the market right now.

Hardware: a quick glance

Samsung Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US Specs:

  • Display: 13.3″ FHD LED (300nit)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Weight: 2.84 pounds
  • Battery life: 12 hours

Performance

Like many other ultra books that have been launched this year, the Samsung Notebook 7 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor. This is a quad-core CPU that has 8 megabytes of cache size, a base frequency of 1.8 GHz which can go up to 4.6 GHz in turbo mode, and a thermal design power of 15 Watts. You are unlikely to get a more powerful processor in an ultra portable ultrabook, at least without digging deeper into your pocket.

This model’s system memory is rated at 16 gigabytes of LPDDR3 RAM. It’s arranged as two modules of 8 GB soldered to the motherboard, so you won’t be able to further extend it. Still, the standard amount the Samsung comes with is ideal for most, if not all users. Everyday tasks and advanced jobs alike probably won’t require more than 16 gigs of RAM, and if they do, you should consider a portable workstation.

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Storage space is also generous. The Samsung Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US is fitted out with a speedy 512-gigabyte PCIe Solid State Drive. Sheer capacity and fast access times are adequate for most users, to say the least. You’ll be able to store your photos before editing them, or your extensive music collection, if you haven’t switched to online streaming services. Plus, a PCIe SSD ensures improved read or write speeds all over the board.

At the end of the day, what matters is how well all of these hardware components come together. Judging by individual performance alone, I’d say the Samsung Notebook 7 will handle about everything you’ll throw at it, including tasks and jobs more suited for a “pro” desktop, including running VM software, rapidly editing photo and video files, designing in Illustrator or CAD software, and the list goes on.

Graphics and display

You will find yourself struggling with games, in spite of the top level performance of the Samsung’s CPU, memory and SSD. That is because the Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US is equipped with only an integrated graphics card, namely the Intel HD Graphics 620. Sure, this is not an issue for folks who are not keen on gaming while sitting in front of their 13 inch ultra portable device. Everything else will work just fine and, more importantly, just as fast. Games such as Minecraft, LoL and other similar non-demanding titles will run just fine at acceptable frame rates. However, you shouldn’t even think about modern, big releases, since these will most surely require you to set all the quality sliders to low in order to get them to barely be playable, if at all.


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Display quality, however, is top notch. The Samsung features a 15.6 inch Full HD LED-Backlit display capable of 300 nit brightness. Also, it has an anti-glare coating, which means you’ll be able to work effectively even in the most sunlit rooms, or outside in full bright shine.

Interface and networking options

Interface options are rather spartan, keeping just the essentials around. Legacy ports have been scrapped in the favor of their modern counterparts, as is tradition with Samsung. Here are the ports:

  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI-out
  • 1 x MicroSD card reader
  • 1 x Audio combo jack

Connectivity is rather standard when comparing the Samsung to other similar notebooks. Having a dual band wireless card, however, means improved access times and transfer speeds and reduced latency while connected to the Internet over the air. It’s especially useful if your multitasking routine involves using your bandwidth over more than one app.

  • Dual-Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Portability and battery life

Although the Samsung NP730XBE-K02US looks like it should weigh less than it actually does, it scores big points on portability. Mainly because of how thin it is: just 0.54″, making it look like it should weight next to nothing. Still, it’s not heavy either, weighing just 2.84 pounds. These stats put the Samsung in the same league as the big guys: namely, the Dell XPS and ASUS ZenBook, which have fantastic portability.

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Battery life is also satisfactory. One full charge of its 3-cell Li-Ion 55Whr battery pack will likely hold a charge for up to 12 hours, which means you can leave your charger at home while commuting and even work or watch movies during the entirety of a transcontinental flight without the need to plug it in.

Conclusion

All in all, the Samsung Notebook 7 NP730XBE-K02US is a fantastic travel and work laptop. Thanks to its premium build, all-metal chassis, fantastic performance and portability, it’s ideal for traveling professionals, students, folks who often commute with their notebook, and so on. It’s a sort of jack of all trades among 13-inch devices. Like a middle option, sitting between the ASUS ZenBook 13 and Dell XPS 13, both feature-wise and price-wise.

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