Samsung R530 review

4 Aug 2010

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

Price when reviewed: 
481(£480 inc VAT)
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £409
Price inc VAT £481
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 380 x 256 x 36mm (WDH)
Weight 2.4kg
Travelling weight 2.8kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55 Express
RAM capacity 3.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
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/300
Hard disk Western Digital
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSSTcorp TS-L633C
Battery capacity 4,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 0
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
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 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 39min
Overall application benchmark score 1.20

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied CyberLink DVD Suite 6, Microsoft Works 9