Samsung R590 review

4 Nov 2010

Powerful, stylish and replete with features; if portability isn’t important, it’s the stand-out choice

Price when reviewed: 
750(£750 inc VAT)
5

Samsung’s R590 costs £638 exc VAT, but boy does it justify that. It uses Intel's 2.4GHz Core i5-450M processor with 4GB of RAM, which really powered it through our application benchmarks. An overall 1.73 is the kind of score we’d expect if paying closer to a grand.

That isn’t the only fine statistic, however. Nvidia’s GeForce 330M averaged a hefty 72fps in our Low quality Crysis test and remained just about playable at 25fps in the Medium quality test.

Samsung R590

So the R590 is a powerful piece of kit, and it adds to that with a fair dash of style and plenty of practicality. Samsung’s blue “touch of colour” finish is subtle enough to avoid looking tacky, but adds a little interest. The full-width keyboard is firm and usable, with a lovely action to the keys. There’s a number pad to the right, and the touchpad is responsive.

The 15.6in screen is very glossy, so this is very much a laptop for the softer lights of home rather than an office, and colours look slightly muted next to the most vibrant we see. But it’s sharp, the backlight is even, and both the hinge and the lid have a reassuring solidity that suggests a long and productive life.

Samsung R590

The Samsung’s day-to-day stamina isn’t so hot. Given all that power and a 4,400mAh battery, we weren’t surprised to find the R590 lasting just 3hrs 45mins in our light-use test. It’s unlikely you’ll be buying a 2.63kg laptop for its portability, but it is a weak point.

It’s pretty much its only problem, however, with Bluetooth, a 500GB hard disk, an eSATA combo port and an ExpressCard/34 slot all making for an attractive feature list. If you want all-round power in a gorgeous chassis, the Samsung R590 makes a compelling case for itself.

Details

Price ex VAT £638
Price inc VAT £750
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 380 x 256 x 37mm (WDH)
Weight 2.630kg
Travelling weight 3.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5 450M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 4.00GB
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 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 458GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung Spinpoint M7
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TEAC DV-W28S-V
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 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 45min
Battery life, heavy use 51min
Overall application benchmark score 1.73
Office application benchmark score 1.70
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.74
Encoding application benchmark score 1.49
Multitasking application benchmark score 2.00
3D performance (crysis) low settings 72fps
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