Samsung Notebook 7 Spin review: Great battery life ho-hum design

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

One thing Samsung is generally great at is displays. Even their basic displays look fantastic.

TA-ratings-89It was just a few months ago that I reviewed the 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 EXT. That was a laptop that impressed in battery life and display. Now, we have the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin in for review, and battery life is still impressive but its looks are a bit ho-hum. The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin jumps into a crowded hybrid market and is hoping to take a bit out of it as best as it can. Read on for the full review of the 2018 Samsung Notebook 7 Spin.

Specifications

The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin sent to us for review had the following features and specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – 8250U 1.6GHz (Turbo Boost 3.4GHz)
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 8GB (DDR3)
  • SSD: 256GB
  • Battery: 43Wh
  • I/O:
    • HDMI out
    • Headphone jack/Mic-in
    • USB Type-C
    • USB 3.0
    • USB 2.0
    • Barrel style power port
  • Display: 13.3″ FHD LED 16:9 touch @ 300nit
  • Front camera: VGA
  • Speakers: x 2
  • Security: Fingerprint sensor
  • Keyboard: Backlit with touchpad
  • Dimensions: 12.43″ x 8.48″ x 0.73″ (inches) 3.2lbs

What’s In The Box

  • Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
  • Power supply
  • Documentation and Manuals

Video Review

Design

Samsung has a basic aesthetic look when it comes to their consumer laptops, and the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is noticeably part of that look. The difference here is the 7 Spin is severely understated. Yes, the standard look is here, but there’s nothing else to set the design off. Other than the standard Samsung logo on the lid, this may as well be a generic laptop among the masses.

It would have been nice to see Samsung add a little flair to the chassis and overall look of this machine. Even some accents on the hinges or some texture on the palm rest, something to give it a sense of individuality would be great. The materials used for construction are solid and premium enough, although the bottom panel feels…just weird. It’s rubbery and tacky, which is great for grip but also feels strange.

Starting on the bottom, you’ll find the four rubber feet for stability on a hard surface. There’s also a nice long rear vent for pushing heat away from the internals. Finally, there are two speakers on the bottom, but more on those later. Not much to see on the lid, other than the Samsung logo.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Bland design cues, not ugly but not striking.

Over on the right side, you’ll find the microphone array, the fingerprint sensor, and one USB 2.0 port (this really should have been 3.0). Over on the left side, you’ll find the barrel port DC jack, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port, USB-C port, and headphone/mic jack. The addition of that USB-C port was a great move by Samsung.

Opening up the laptop you’re greeted with the 13.3″ FHD LED display. The bezels are average here, not super thin but also not super thick or gaudy. At the top of the display, you’ll find the VGA camera and camera indicator light. Of course, you have the backlit keyboard and touchpad along with a few LED indicators showing operational status.

Finally, this is a hybrid laptop so you have the ability to flip this into a tablet work environment. You can also use it in tent mode, or presentation mode and having this multiple options of use is going to appeal to some users.

Overall, this is a basic design with no flair or distinguishing design cues. It’s not horrible, but it’s also just plain, and we wish there was some more thought given to the look.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Keyboard is nice to use, not the best but good.

Display

One thing Samsung is generally great at is displays. Even their basic displays look fantastic. The display on our review unit was an FHD LED display and really did well with colors, blacks, and whites. The panel’s brightness is 300 nits, which is basic and average, it would have been nice to see 500 nits like the Notebook 9 EXT.

Colors on this panel are slightly oversaturated. Blacks are nice and contrasty with whites fairly clean and crisp. Reading text on this panel was comfortable, everything was sharp and easy to distinguish.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

At 300 nits, this display is great indoors but struggles a bit in bright outdoor light.

Our Samsung Notebook 7 Spin was touch enabled and touch responsiveness was good and acceptable. Gestures all worked as they should here and taps registered fairly quickly without having to try multiple times.  There are higher-end laptops that are better, but this works well enough for the price point it sits at.

Overall, this display has nice color, great blacks and whites, but the lower nit rating means it will have a few issues in direct or bright lighting.

Software/Ecosystem

The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is running Windows 10. There’s not much to say about Windows 10 other than we like it. It runs nice and smooth on the 7 Spin in both laptop and tablet modes. There are a few games pre-installed, some are just placeholders to the Microsoft Store, but you can uninstall these. Samsung also includes a few other pieces of software including:

  • Link Sharing
  • McAfee Live Safe (60 days trial)
  • Samsung Gallery
  • Samsung Message
  • Samsung Recovery
  • Samsung Settings
  • Studio Plus
  • Samsung Update
  • teamPL
  • Wi-Fi Camera
  • Wi-Fi Transfer

Some of these apps are great if you live in the Samsung ecosystem, so I don’t mind them so much. McAfee Live Safe is another matter. This is something I simply wish PC makers would omit from their software offerings. You can uninstall what you wish, although McAfee can sometimes be a pain to completely uninstall.

Overall, the software experience is good with a few minor exceptions in Samsung’s 3rd party affiliations.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Just the basic I/O

Performance

The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is rocking an Intel Core i5 with Intel UHD integrated graphics. Our review unit came with 8GB of RAM. You can configure these with better CPU’s, more RAM, and a bigger screen for an extra charge of course.

Web browsing, email, and word processing were all smooth and lag free. This is certainly not a machine for heavy apps like the Adobe Creative Suite. This is really a consumer level, basic use case laptop and it really does well in that capacity.

The keyboard is comfortable, although not one of my favorites, it will do. I found the travel of the keys to be good, but the spacing was just off for my personal liking. The trackpad is also acceptable, but it’s certainly not one of the best. It would be nice to have a slicker, more responsive trackpad, but the one provided gets the job done, it’s just that I’ve used better.

Overall, the 7 Spin did a great job of tackling what a basic user is going to need to do. I’m sure you can do light gaming on this, very light gaming, but don’t expect a workhorse for heavy apps or heavy gaming.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

The fingerprint sensor is great.

Speakers/Sound

The speakers sound decent but nothing mind-blowing. There really isn’t any bottom end and they sound thin. Good enough for YouTube and spoken word. If you value the sound integrity of what you’re consuming on screen, use headphones.

Camera

Just your standard webcam here, nothing really to get excited over. Good enough for video conferencing but not much else. Seriously though, I don’t know anyone who’s taking photos and video they care about with their webcam. It’s a webcam, it works for what it’s intended for.

Battery Life

Samsung quotes 9.5 hours of battery life on the 7 Spin and we averaged just over 8 hours with normal use. That being said, Samsung does make it a point to mention a few things about battery life and the quoted battery life of the 7 Spin.

Battery life will vary depending on the product model, configuration, power management settings, applications used, and wireless settings. The maximum capacity of the battery will decrease with time and use. Test results based on independent third party Mobile Mark (or Battery Mark) tests.

I generally run my displays at full resolution and full brightness so that probably contributed to more battery drain for me. Depending on your settings, you may get more or less battery than I did.

Overall, for this size of a laptop, I think the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin was more than respectable in the battery category.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Battery life will vary but we got just over 8 hours average.

Price/Value

The base model of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is $899.99USD, which is what our review unit was. You can spec these up to go well over $1100USD adding a 15.6″ screen, but that will give you significantly more CPU and RAM. The base model is probably enough for most consumers and it provides plenty of value for the money.

Wrap Up

I enjoyed using the 7 Spin during our review time. There are a few design elements that I didn’t particularly like, but aesthetics are going to be a personal thing. As a machine, it performs very well and will most certainly get you through the tasks you need to get through in a day. Battery life is really great for this size of a laptop and could probably be stretched further with better power savings settings.

Overall, this is a basic consumer machine for basic consumer uses. It excels at that goal and most consumers should enjoy using this machine. If you’re looking for something to run heavy apps or games, this isn’t going to be ideal for you. I’m sure it can run some things at some capacity but not well enough to be productive.

*We received a review unit of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin for the purposes of this review.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

$899.99USD +
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
8.9

Design

8.5 /10

Display

9.0 /10

Software/Ecosystem

9.0 /10

Performance

9.0 /10

Speakers/Sound

8.5 /10

Camera

9.0 /10

Battery Life

9.5 /10

Price/Value

9.0 /10

Nailed it

  • Lightning fast fingerprint sensor
  • Nice FHD display for this price point
  • Snappy performance
  • Great battery life for this size
  • Competitively priced

Needs work

  • Bland and ho-hum design
  • Strange mix of construction materials
  • Bulky as a tablet
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