Samsung Announces Chronos and Ultra Windows 8 Laptops

By Wesley Fenlon

The two new Samsung Series 7 laptops offer optional touchscreen upgrades to make use of the modern Windows 8 UI.

Touch proved to be a surprisingly compelling feature for Windows 8 laptops, as we found out when we tested the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. We expect to see a whole lot more of that at CES next week, but Samsung's getting out ahead of the game by announcing two new members of its Series 7 laptop line with--you guessed it--touch screens onboard. The 10-point touchscreens are actually optional on the Chronos and Ultra, Samsung's two new notebooks, which aren't designed to fold up into tablet form like the Lenovo Yoga. Samsung's clearly got other priorities in mind with the Chronos and Ultra: Power and portability.

The 15.6-inch Chronos weighs in around 5.2 pounds thanks to a metal body and a hefty battery. Even with a 1080p screen, quad-core mobile i7 and Radeon 8870M (which should be a solid GPU for multimedia and a bit of gaming) Samsung promises 11 hours of battery life.

The Ultra drops down to a 13.3-inch screen but keeps the same 1080p resolution, which should make for a gorgeous hi-res display. Options on the Ultra include i5 and i7 processors, up to 1GB of dedicated video memory with a Radeon 8570M GPU and a 256GB SSD. Battery life is shorter, at eight hours, but that's still mighty close to all-day-use territory.

Samsung hasn't announced prices for either model yet, but they're obviously offering a few configuration options for each. Expect the Chronos maxed out with 16GB of RAM and a terabyte HDD to sit well inside the premium laptop zone, with the smaller Ultra taking up a more reasonable price point somewhere in Ultrabook territory.

Check out Samsung's promotional video for a closer look at the Chronos (and what seems like a strange Beast Wars take on anthropomorphic laptops).