Samsung R720 review
Samsung's latest desktop replacement has a huge, high-resolution 17.3in display - and a tiny, tiny price tag
Review Date: 5 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £492 (£566 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
You might not be able to tell from the picture, but Samsung's R720 is one seriously big laptop. If you're looking for something portable, there are many better choices available.
Yet it's impressive just how much laptop Samsung has managed to deliver for so little cash. Corners do, of course, have to be cut at this price, but while the R720 drops the R620's Blu-ray and draft-n wireless, neither is a critical loss.
In fact, in most other regards, the R720 matches or exceeds its stablemate blow for blow. The processor might be inferior in name - it's an Intel Core 2 Duo T4300 rather than the T6500 in the R620 - but it's equal in performance terms, scoring an acceptable 1.00 in our benchmarks. The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 GPU is identical, and made short shrift of Crysis with an average of 40fps.
Turn your attention to the sizable 17.3in display and there's more to like. Unlike the common 1,366 x 768 resolution displays, the R720 goes up to 1,600 x 900. Quality is noticeably improved over its sibling too, with colour and contrast making a much better fist of our test photos.
Even the speakers - an often neglected part in any laptop, let alone one costing less than £500 exc VAT - are rather good. There's plenty of volume, surprising clarity, and a little bit of low-end weight to keep instruments sounding full and wholesome.
It's pretty heavy, weighing in at 2.97kg, but that's a good deal lighter than you'd expect given its sizable, jet-black frame. And it's made of stern stuff: there's a fair amount of flex in the huge lid, but the base feels stiff and reassuringly strong. Even its battery life is fair at 4hrs 11mins.
If we were to pick out any area for improvement, it would be the keyboard. It isn't bad - the layout is sensible - but it suffers from a light, overly plasticky feel.
Despite this, the R720 is a solid, affordable all-rounder. The high-resolution display and balanced performance make for a great budget desktop replacement. If the keyboard was just that bit better, we'd have whole-heartedly endorsed it.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith
check the small print
samsung are being a bit naughty here, the model with the T4300 processor is all but unavailable, having apparently been replaced by one with the T4200 cpu, which is obviously slower. Value-wise this is offset by a larger hard drive, but whether the R720 is still great value compared to other 17inch budget laptops I don't know, as the T4200 is a common chip in this bracket.
It would be useful for PC Pro to update this review, or at least compare like with like, there are plenty of sub-£600 17inch laptops out there to compare with.
By kbwilcox on 3 Dec 2009
A pain in the backside
I actually thought the samsung r720 looked great and sounded great when I first saw the reviews on it, however it has caused me no end of grief and money. After a few months of having it, it developed some strange hard disk problem, I put it in for repair and they replaced the hard drive, yes I lost everything on my laptop because the hard drive just died, 3 months later, same error, AGAIN! Runs slow as anything. Has constant errors. Not worth the time or money in my opinion. Take my advise, look elsewhere I wish I had, as I paid over £1000 when it first came out. VERY gutted!
By lmc88 on 23 Nov 2011
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