Samsung R530 review

Price when reviewed

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.

Samsung R530 front

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.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions380 x 256 x 36mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.8kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity3.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskWestern Digital
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSSTcorp TS-L633C
Battery capacity4,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typetouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 39min
Overall application benchmark score1.20

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedCyberLink DVD Suite 6, Microsoft Works 9

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