The market for budget laptop is endless, and the seekers of these cheap notebooks are hungry. It is often the case that a simple, affordable laptop is all a person wants – which creates a huge demand for them. One good choice could be Samsung NP300E5K-L04US which seems to have a few good points at least: reliable manufacturer, large hard drive and decent processor. But are these things enough, and what are the disadvantages of this notebook then? You will know once you’ve read this review!
How is the laptop’s performance?
Intel Core i5-5200U used to be a very good processor 1-2 years ago, now it’s getting a bit old. But that’s not to say it’s useless, not at all. There are still plenty of things you can do with this dual-core 2.2GHz (2.7GHz turbo) processor. That includes pretty much all the activities a home or office user normally does. If you’re interested, the processor gets a ~3500 score in CPU Mark which is a perfect example of mid-range unit.
Currently there is 4GB (DDR3L) memory installed in Samsung NP300E5K-L04US. It’s not a wonderful amount, but for casual users it’s alright. Even some multitasking is doable with four gigabytes. But it’s not hard to add more – the default RAM is installed on one SODIMM chip and another slot is free on the motherboard. The maximum RAM you can go to is 16 gigabytes, that is definitely enough for even the most demanding users!
There is nothing groundbreaking in the storage section, a good old 1TB 5400RPM hard drive providing the storage for you. I’m positive some see this drive as negative due to its limited performance. Well, tell you what, the laptop has a free M.2 SATA 3 (2280) slot! You can install solid-state drive there, and I hear that it’s effortless to get to that slot.
Does this notebook work for gaming?
Gaming is the weak point of Samsung NP300E5K-L04US. To keep good frame rates you would need a dedicated graphics card, but guess if this laptop has one or not? Of course not, it’s impossible for this price. So you are left with the integrated Intel HD 5500. It can run less demanding games decently, those including Counter-Strike: Go on high settings and 720p resolution spitting out ~40FPS. However, something like GTA 5 is different – you’ll be struggling to get 25FPS even on low settings and resolution.
Is the selection of ports good?
Samsung NP300E5K-L04US offers average amount of ports. Three USB connector in a laptop is the most common, that is also found here. Of those, two are USB 2.0 and one is USB 3.0. The version 2.0 is much slower than 3.0, so use the USB 3.0 as often as you can.
If you feel the need to hook up an extra monitor to this you’re welcome to do so. The notebook sports a full-size HDMI output (maximum 1920×1080). It accepts, among other things, a HD television. Naturally a normal desktop monitor can be used as well.
You should not have problems with networking. A very fast Gigabit RJ-45 port is available for those who want to use network cable. Also a basic 802.11bgn Atheros WiFi adapter is included. It has the option to turn on Bluetooth 4.0 too.
There is one thing you won’t find here and that’s the optical drive! So, if you need to access discs, you need an external DVD burner. The good thing about them is affordability, they cost just like 25 dollars.
What other things does the computer have?
Samsung NP300E5K-L04US comes with a Full HD screen that is sweet considering the low price! On the 15.6″ LCD this 1080p resolution looks decent, giving good(ish) image quality. Yet, remember it’s a TN (Twisted Nematics) panel, not the premium IPS (In-Plane Switching). Obviously, you’re not getting a picture quality of a 1000 dollar laptop here. But for the money it works well. The display does not support touch and the maximum brightness is 250 nits.
On top of the screen you will find a 480p webcam.
The 3-cell 43Wh battery unit is promised a 6 hours operating time. Well, you might just get that with very lightweight web surfing and text editing with dimmed screen. With full brightness and throwing some videos to the mix, the battery life will be three-four hours.
Unfortunately, this notebook does not come with a backlit keyboard.
Samsung NP300E5K-L04US is not by any means a heavy-duty laptop, more like a choice for casual user. There’s plenty of performance for everyday tasks which includes anything you can do with browser, even streaming videos. Office type of use is also piece of cake, so is listening to music. I must also give points for the Full HD screen which is a rarity for this price. One thing that is off-limits would be gaming as there’s no proper graphics card present. Nothing can be done about that, but for the little money this Samsung costs I can not complain!