Samsung R530 review
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.
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.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||380 x 256 x 36mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-330M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD graphics|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Western Digital|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||TSSTcorp TS-L633C|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial 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|
|Pointing device type||touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.3mp|
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|