In the recent past, manufactures have been inventing ways to outsell each other in the entry level laptop category. This has included the cutting of prices with the biggest beneficiaries being the users who now get notebooks with processors powerful enough for use at home, school, or work. The Samsung NP300E5K-L04US is such a case in point that comes with a 5th generation Intel Core i5-5200U processor for handling everyday tasks. The system does not score in terms of memory and storage for the powerful users but it can be praised for its room for expansion. The Samsung comes with a 4GB DDR3 RAM memory installed and 1 TB 5400 RPM of storage space. All this can be replaced to make the system faster and more appealing to power demanding users.
The 15.6 inch display comes with a TN panel and a resolution of 1920x1080pixels. It also has an integrated Intel HD 5500 graphics unit that is capable of handling less demanding games. As it is the case, you have to accept fewer compromises with the budget laptops such as lack of a touchscreen and an IPS panel. But then this compromises are fewer compared to the past.
The Samsung NP300E5K-L04US dons an all-black color with a plastic chassis. The design feels cheap but then this does not keep it away from delivering a powerful performance. The laptop measures 14.76 x 0.98 x 9.76 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds, which is a bit lighter than what we have seen on most 15-inch machines. It is lighter than the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM which is a 15.6-Inch Full HD Notebook that weighs 5.3 pound and measures 15.02 x 10.2 x 1.19 inches. As such, you can get to carry the laptop to college and back home to complete your assignments. Road warriors might also find it as a worthy companion if they consider its price tag and if they are not afraid to break their back.
Under the hood, the laptop houses a fifth generation Intel Core i5-5200U processor clocked at 2.2 GHz and can run up to 2.4 GHz with turbo boost technology. The Core i5-processor is no longer a most sought after system like it was some few years back, thanks to the entry of the seventh generation processor that is more powerful and faster. However, this does not render our dual-core processor useless since it still has the stamina to handle a number of activities that the office and home user normally does. The mid-range unit processor gets a 3500 score in CPU mark, a true indicator that you shouldn’t expect much in terms of performance.
The system includes 4GB DDR3L memory installed that could be sufficient for the basic users. However, if you want to push the system upwards, there is room for expansion up to 16 GB RAM. Luckily, there is a free slot on the motherboard so if you go with two 8GB RAM chips, the system shall be good enough to cater for the most demanding users. However, at 4GB RAM you can still get most of the jobs done and handle some multitasking.
The storage department maintains the basic and traditional I TB 5400 RPM that provides ample storage but does not score in terms of performance. This is a slow mechanical hard drive when it comes to loading of programs and booting speeds. However, Samsung seems to know that most users won’t be happy with the hard drive. With that in mind, there is a free M.2 SATA 3 (2280) slot that you can install the solid state drive to make the system faster in handling programs.
The Samsung NP300E5K-L04US is not a gaming monster as it comes with an integrated Intel HD 5500 graphics unit. For enjoyable and powerful gaming, a system ought to have a dedicated graphics unit that will get to keep good frame rates. The system can however get to handle less demanding games such as Counter-strike Go with a resolution of 720p and on high settings to deliver around 40FPS. When it comes to games like GTA 5 the system will be struggling to get 23fps even at low settings and resolution. This is understandable considering the fact that this is a desktop replacement laptop, therefore it will be unfair to expect much in terms of gaming performance at such a price.
There is a 3-cell 43wh battery embedded on the system that Samsung promises to offer up to 6 hours of usage time. Handling a number of activities such as text editing and lightweight web surfing, the system is likely to offer this time with a dimmed screen. You should expect around three to four hours of battery if you will be using the laptop on full brightness and playing more of videos. This is likely to drain the juice much faster compared to lightweight activities.
Samsung offers some basic connectivity options including two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port that offers faster connectivity with other devices. There is an HDMI output port that you can use to extend to a larger display accepting up to a maximum of 1080p resolution. This will allow you to watch your movies on an HD television or extend to a larger monitor without compromising on the quality of the images. The system does not include an optical drive, a feature most manufacturers are trying to phase out. So in case you need one, then you will have to purchase an external optical drive to read and copy your DVDs and CDs. Internet connectivity is well catered for with the availability of a fast Gigabit RJ-45 port for cabled connection. Wireless connectivity comes by way of a basic 802.11bgn Atheros Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0
The Samsung NP300E5K-L04US features a 15.6 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1920x1080p. Now this is a Full HD screen featuring a TN panel which is not as good as an IPS panel but then we cannot expect so much considering the price. The display comes with a maximum brightness of 250 nits with vivid and realistic colors and great contrast. The screen is not touch enabled but this should not be a deal breaker since the laptop is preinstalled with windows 10 which does not need a touchscreen to operate unlike windows 8/8.1 that entirely depended on touchscreen. There is a 480p webcam on the bezel above the display that comes in handy for video conferencing and chatting with friends and family via skype.
The Samsung NP300E5K-L04US is a decent entry-level desktop that comes from a reliable brand of the global electronics. The laptop offers all that it promises to do without stuttering while keeping it all basic. It is not that kind of a laptop that power demanding users will appreciate having but then the fact that it gives room for expansion makes it a welcome device to some. The 4GB RAM available can be expanded to 16GB and the presence of a free M.2 SATA 3 (2280) slot makes it possible to add a Solid state drive for quick boot times and loading of programs. The Full HD screen is also welcome since it is a rare scenario for systems on this category. One thing that is off-limits would be gaming as there’s no proper graphics card present. There is nothing we can do to change this but considering the price of the Samsung NP300E5K-L04US, it is worth a long look.