Samsung R720 review
Samsung's latest desktop replacement has a huge, high-resolution 17.3in display - and a tiny, tiny price tag
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.
|Price ex VAT||£492|
|Price inc VAT||£566|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||5|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||413 x 271 x 44mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T4300|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,600|
|Resolution screen vertical||900|
|Resolution||1600 x 900|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Fujitsu MHZ2320BH G2|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||TSSTcorp TS-L633B|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||4hr 11min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 23min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.00|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||40fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery Partition|
|Software supplied||CyberLink DVDSuite, CyberLink YouCam|