Samsung R780 review

17 Sep 2010

An upgrade that fills the remaining gaps in what is now a great-value desktop replacement

Price when reviewed: 
1,114(£1,114 inc VAT)
5

For those who'd rather enjoy a big screen and plenty of features than carry a laptop around all day, Samsung's spacious R780 ticks all the boxes. It's been a popular choice with us since we first saw it around six months ago, with its slick Touch of Colour finish really setting it apart from the brash chrome-and-lights styling of most 17.3in desktop replacements.

It's had a couple of updates since, but none of that design has changed. The wavy fingerprint lines give it an organic look that's unbroken by anything but the black Scrabble-tile keys - the speaker grilles are as discreet as we've seen, and even the mouse buttons keep that red gloss intact. The multitouch touchpad has four little blue corner LEDs so you'll know where you are at a glance, and the slightly mottled coating - while not kind to sweaty fingers - gives a nice amount of friction and feedback.

Samsung R780

As you'd hope, that keyboard is huge, with none of the miniaturisation that plagues smaller laptops, and with room for a full set of Function keys and a numeric keypad. The backing has a little bounce to it, but the keys have the ideal amount of travel and there's plenty of wrist-rest to keep you comfortably typing in any position.

Look up from there and you're greeted by a 17.3in screen with an even, bright backlight and plenty of vibrancy to its colours. It's glossy, but not disruptively so, and viewing angles are as wide as you'd hope given its potential for watching movies in a bedroom or a hotel room.

This is where it first stumbles, however, as Samsung has stuck with a 1,600 x 900 resolution. It isn't a bad desktop experience, and the sharpness is perfectly acceptable, but as Samsung has chosen to add a Blu-ray drive to enhance the R780's media credentials, we'd have much preferred a Full HD screen to go with it.

Details

Price ex VAT £948
Price inc VAT £1,114
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 411 x 273 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 2.820kg
Travelling weight 3.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-620M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 17.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
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 640GB
Hard disk usable capacity 580GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung Spinpoint M7E
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical drive TSST TS-LB23A
Battery capacity 4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 1
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 0
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 Multitouch 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
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 8min
Battery life, heavy use 52min
Overall application benchmark score 2.00
Office application benchmark score 1.97
2D graphics application benchmark score 2.00
Encoding application benchmark score 1.74
Multitasking application benchmark score 2.30
3D performance (crysis) low settings 78fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs