Samsung P580 review
It can't match the business heavyweights, but has a dash of style and a lower price to compensate
Review Date: 9 Sep 2010
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £610 (£717 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
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