Samsung P580 review

9 Sep 2010

It can't match the business heavyweights, but has a dash of style and a lower price to compensate

Price when reviewed: 
717(£717 inc VAT)
4

Dell, Lenovo and HP are the obvious choices, but few would immediately look to Samsung when choosing a business laptop. Yet its P-series of 15.6in portables offers a similar range of features to its rivals, in a chassis that has a little more style than business users might resign themselves to.

We're not talking glossy pink lids or a garish chrome trim, but the flagship model of the P580 is finished in a brushed black that feels nicer than it should. And the gently curving lid gives it a bit of an executive look, enhanced by the thin strip of indicator lights at the front edge.

Samsung P580

It's a look that suggests business with a bit of pleasure, and the array of ports fits in with that. It caters for old and new with D-SUB and HDMI outputs, plus a serial port at the rear (complete with plastic cover) for legacy devices. There are three USB 2 ports, one of which can be used to charge mobile devices while the laptop is asleep, and any disappointment at the lack of USB 3 is tempered by an eSATA/USB 2 combo port.

You also get a discrete graphics chip, complete with CUDA support. It's a GeForce GT 330M, and it has a bit more muscle than you might think: it managed 59fps in Crysis at 1,366 x 768 and Low settings, and a near-playable 25fps at 1,600 x 900 and Medium quality. That's plenty for a leisurely gaming session between bouts of hardware-accelerated Photoshop work.

However, it remains a business laptop first and foremost, and the core specification gives the P580 a fair amount of power. The Core i3-330M and 3GB of DDR3 RAM powered it to a reasonable 1.24 in our application benchmarks - fine for most tasks, albeit short of workstation territory. You won't benefit from Turbo Boost, but that dual-core processor supports Hyper-Threading and Virtualisation.

Details

Price ex VAT £610
Price inc VAT £717
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 371 x 256 x 35mm (WDH)
Weight 2.460kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
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 Nvidia GeForce GT 330M
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
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 282GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung SpinPoint M7
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSST TS-L633C
Battery capacity 4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Bluetooth support yes

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) 4
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 1
Parallel 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
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 39min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 8min
Overall application benchmark score 1.24
Office application benchmark score 1.04
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.34
Encoding application benchmark score 1.18
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.41
3D performance (crysis) low settings 59fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery disc