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Samsung R530 review

Verdict

Samsung delivers another cracker, with stylish design married to a top-quality display and keyboard

Review Date: 4 Aug 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £409 (£481 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Samsung has a reputation for defying expectations at budget prices, and its latest update to the R530 looks to continue the trend.

The R530 is far from the usual shy and retiring budget laptop. A crimson gloss gleams across the lid, infused with a chainlink effect beneath the surface, and on the inside a textured plastic interior attempts to masquerade as brushed metal. It may sound awful, but it manages to pull off the combination without looking garish.

The processor is the popular 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, the hard disk a par-for-the-course 320GB, and there's very little else to set it apart. It keeps pace, however, with a score of 1.2 in our benchmarks. Its only weakness is stamina. With a mere 3hrs and 39mins of light-use battery life, the Samsung isn't the most portable of machines.

Notably, however, the R530 redressed the balance when it comes to its generous specification and excellent design. As you'd expect at the price, there are some things missing - Gigabit Ethernet being the most disappointing oversight - but get acquainted with the Samsung and you're unlikely to care.

Samsung R530 front

The display is excellent. Images leap from the screen thanks to vibrant colour reproduction, bright whites and good contrast. The Samsung has one of the best displays we've seen on any budget laptop. Fire up a DVD and you'll be equally glad of the speakers below. What they lack in body and bass response they more than make up for with volume and clarity.

The final part of the package is comfort, and here the Samsung keeps the tempo high. It isn't the best in terms of feel or layout, but it's one of the most balanced. Each key has a positive action and a pleasant feel, despite a slight rattle to each press, and all the keys are where we'd expect them to be.

Solid, dependable and great value, the Samsung R530 is an excellent candidate as a desktop replacement laptop for use around the house. If you're not hung up on battery life, it won't disappoint.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

gigabit ethernet...

most businesses I know do not have gigabit ethernet except for server-server or backup purposes and as the laptop comes with Windows 7 Home Premium it obviously is aimed at home users who definitely wont have gigabit ethernet...too be honest I fail to see the benefit of 802.n at home as my broadband link is well below this and home users very rarely transfer wirelessly huge amounts of data.

By MDSmith71 on 4 Aug 2010

bluetooth...

on a different note however lacking bluetooth for a home laptop is a bit short sighted...

By MDSmith71 on 4 Aug 2010

Cracking laptop

I bought this a couple of weeks ago and it's a cracking laptop - fast enough to use as a desktop replacement, portable enough for occasional use on the move.

Minor niggles: 3 USB ports is too few. Battery life not great. But, for the price, an absolute cracker.

By KevPartner on 5 Aug 2010

Wot no BD?

All those HD specs, but no BluRay drive? Where's the sense in that?

By m789cox on 5 Aug 2010

Bluray?

On a £481 laptop?

You'll be lucky! :)

By SashaMuller on 5 Aug 2010

What processor does it really have?

I just looked at the specs on the Samsung website: there the R530 is listed as having an Intel® Pentium Processor T4400 (2.2GHz, 800MHz, 1MB). By way of compensation, they advertise a 500mb disk.

By contrast the R540 boasts an Intel® Core™ i3 Processor 350M (2.26GHz, 3MB).

I couldn't find any way to customise the specs.

How does this affect recommendations?

By martinstacey1 on 26 Aug 2010

@martinstacey1

You're looking at the old specification, Martin.

The model we reviewed is the NP-R530-JB01UK. Copy and paste that part code into Google and you'll find lots of retailers all ready and willing to relieve you of your cash.

By SashaMuller on 26 Aug 2010

R530 from Amazon?

Hi, great review. Could someone confirm the following is the correct version? http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003EJPK36/ref=
oss_product
It says available since March which made me worry if this was an out of date spec? Thanks. (Hannah, shot2bits' wife!).

By shot2bits on 1 Sep 2010

R530 from Netherlands

I got an R530 from an electricals retailer in the Netherlands and specifically asked for the i3 processor version (newer spec) but received the older T4400 spec which looked totally different!
Of course I complained and got the one I asked for.
The only difference to the UK spec, as far as I can see, is the US-International keyboard layout.
On the whole, a cracking laptop!

By n_beadle on 13 Sep 2010

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