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Samsung Series 3: 11.6" v. 12.5"

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September 15, 2011 5:25:57 PM

I'm trying to decide between the 11.6" and 12.5" models in the Series 3 line but some of the specs are confusing. I hope people who have either model can help clear them up.

As best I can tell, the only differences between the two are:

1) Screen size (obviously). Resolution is the same though: both screens are 1366x768, matte finish. Unclear whether there is any quality difference between them.

2) CPU: the 11.6" has an i3-2357M (1.3 GHz, 17W TDP) and the 12.5" has an i5-2410M (2.30 GHz, 35W TDP). Best I can tell the i5-2410M is a much faster processor, even beating the i5-2467M in the MBA 11". But that comes at a cost - the i5-2410M is twice as power-hungry at load. This relates to:

3) Battery: The 11.6" has a 4000 mAh removable battery, while the 12.5" has a 4400 mAh fixed battery. Some (in other threads here) have complained of poor battery life, as low as 2.5 hours, for the 11.6". I can't find any comparisons between the two models (or any real world tests of the 12.5" at all). You'd expect the 12.5" to have better battery life, all things equal, but of course they aren't equal - the CPU is hungrier. Not clear what effect this will have in real world conditions.

4) Hard drive: 320 GB vs. 500 GB. This is irrelevant for me since I plan to install an SSD.

5) Price. Around $550 (not including Staples' student rebate) for the 11.6" vs. $700 for the 12.5".


Am I missing any important differences?

I'm inclined to go with the 12.5" model. The jump in CPU power is great enough that it appears worth $150.I generally prefer a laptop as small as possible (that's why I'm not in the 13.3" market) but the difference here seems too small to worry about.

What gives me pause is the battery. First, I really like the removable battery on the 11.6". This in principle makes it possible to buy a second battery or, if available, a bigger one. I don't mind swapping or using a fat battery those few times when I need the staying power (think long flights) - though I can't find any replacement batteries yet. In any case the 12.5" doesn't give me that option, unless there's some kind of external battery pack like is available from third parties for mac laptops. Some might think this is clunky but I have no problem throwing a 60 or 100 watt-hour brick in my travel bag for all my devices. Is there a Samsung-specific or compatible generic alternative? Among other things the robust market for well-designed accessories like this tempts me back to the Mac world.

Second, and even setting aside the larger/external battery question, it's unclear how the real world battery life compares between the two models.

So my questions are really: A) what if any differences am I missing and B) what's the story with the 12.5" battery?

More about : samsung series

a c 572 D Laptop
September 15, 2011 11:36:51 PM

Have links to the models?

Battery life: How the laptop is used - how heavily it's tasked - has a lot to do with how long a battery will last. How will you use the laptop?
Have you found any independent reviews on each of those models?

edit;
I guess you didn't find any reviews on the 12" model. What reviews did you find on the 11" model?
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September 15, 2011 11:53:22 PM

WR2 said:
Have links to the models?

Battery life: How the laptop is used - how heavily it's tasked - has a lot to do with how long a battery will last. How will you use the laptop?
Have you found any independent reviews on each of those models?

edit;
I guess you didn't find any reviews on the 12" model. What reviews did you find on the 11" model?


Click on the models in the first line for links. Here's a review on the 11.6". For the 12.5" there's this short review, which says nothing about the battery.
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a c 572 D Laptop
September 15, 2011 11:59:29 PM

Samsung Series 3 (NP350) review It's battery last 6hrs in the PCWorld rundown test.
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September 16, 2011 12:43:00 AM

Best answer selected by richarnd.
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