Samsung R620 review

12 Oct 2009

Samsung's latest squeezes every last drop from its budget to include Blu-ray, dedicated graphics and a 16in panel

Price when reviewed: 
670(£670 inc VAT)
4

Samsung has developed a creditable habit of providing impossibly good specifications in its budget laptops, and the R620 is no exception. This laptop packs in not only a 16in screen, but also a Blu-ray drive - both surprising inclusions in such a reasonably priced laptop.

Alas, these luxuries aren't partnered with an especially striking display. While large, its resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels means it doesn't make the best of bedfellows for HD movies, or any serious multitasking. You can sidestep the issue thanks to the HDMI port at the side, but we'd have preferred a higher-resolution display in the first place.

Image quality isn't stellar, with muted colours and weak contrast failing to capitalise on Blu-ray's strengths. And the weak, tinny speakers certainly don't help matters.

That 16in screen means it's a chunky old laptop, but it isn't a stout one. There's quite a bit of flex in evidence, both in the base and the screen itself. And, while we normally get on with Samsung's laptop keyboards, we weren't especially impressed by that of the R620. The light build extends to the keys themselves, which feel hollow under the finger. There isn't much wrong with the layout, and the numeric keypad is welcome, but it isn't a patch on its main rivals.

As you'd expect for the price, the Samsung doesn't boast the latest and greatest components. It does, however, make the best of what it has. The Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 processor is joined by an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics chipset, and it scored a middling 1.05 in our application-based benchmarks. Gaming performance was very capable too, with our basic 1,024 x 768, low quality Crysis benchmark returning an average of 41fps.

The R620 squeezes in a lot for its price, but it isn't quite the killer budget package it ought to be. If you need a keenly priced desktop replacement, forego the Blu-ray and opt for Samsung's cheaper and more balanced R720. Its battery life is marginally better too.

Details

Price ex VAT £583
Price inc VAT £670
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 383 x 260 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 2.720kg
Travelling weight 3.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T6500
RAM capacity 3.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 16.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/150
Hard disk Samsung HM320JI
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Optical drive TEAC BD-C24S-A
Battery capacity 4,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 47min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 28min
Overall application benchmark score 1.05
3D performance (crysis) low settings 41fps
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 DVD Suite, CyberLink YouCam