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IFA 2012: Samsung launches touchscreen Series 5 ultrabook

Among the veritable smorgasbord of new Windows 8 systems unveiled at IFA is the latest iteration of Samsung's Series 5 ultrabook.

While it's slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor, the new model's dimensions and processor nonetheless fall well within the ultrabook parameters as defined by Intel. On first blush, the updated model looks like a dead ringer for its predecessor, with a svelte profile wrapped in an attractive aluminium chassis. The similarities continue until you notice the Windows 8 sticker on the right side of the palm rest. As your eyes continue drifting upward, they'll eventually settle on the critical ingredient that sets the Series 5 apart from its forebears: the touchscreen.

Although the 13.3in display looks exactly like the previous edition, it's actually a capacitive touchscreen. Clearly, Samsung is betting on the assumption that flipping, pinching, and swiping through Windows 8's tiled interface will make for a more intuitive and fluid user experience. Users wary of Windows 8's new layout won't be left in the dark either, as Samsung will include a utility that allows Windows 8 to replicate the familiar start menu and control panel seen on all of its earlier versions. This feature will be made all the more accessible since the new Series 5 will also sport the same touchpad seen on previous models.

Like its predecessor, the new Series 5 ultrabook features a fairly lean port selection. The right side sports dual USB 2.0 ports and a multiformat card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC). The left side, meanwhile, sports a USB 3.0 port, a mini VGA port, and a full-size HDMI port. Purchasers have the option of choosing either a Core i5 or Core i7 configuration for their system. UK pricing has yet to be revealed, but the ultrabook will run US customers $799 (£500) for the Core i5 model or $899 (£570) for the Core i7.

The revamped Series 5 ultrabook will be released in conjunction with Windows 8 on 26 October.