Samsung R560 review

£734
Price when reviewed

Not so long ago, PC Pro’s labs were regularly dominated by 15.4in laptops. A little big for carrying around on a daily basis, they make a good compromise between a chunky desktop replacement and a daintier portable. Samsung’s latest, the R560, is a good example of the genre.

It may cost half as much as some of the laptops here, but it isn’t short on performance. With a similar core specification to its smaller stablemate, the Q310, the R560 hit a score of 1.19 in our application-based benchmarks.

We’re glad Samsung has stuck with the Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and the 4GB of DDR3 memory, but we’re even happier to find that it has bumped up the storage and improved the graphics. The 320GB hard disk is on the generous side, but the real treat is the Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS graphics chipset. At Low settings, this helped the Samsung cruise to an impressive 55fps in Crysis. Stick to the screen’s 1,280 x 800 native resolution or below, and it will acquit itself surprisingly well with modern games.

Image quality is impressive, too. The glossy finish gives images a punchy, vibrant edge, and colour reproduction is spot-on. Only the narrow vertical viewing angles threaten to spoil the party.

Take a break from playing the latest games, however, and there’s still lots to like. The full-sized keyboard is delightful to type upon. The trackpad is accurate, with buttons that respond with a crisp, reassuring click.

Battery life is good, too, with light usage seeing the R560 fall just short of the five-hour mark. The 1hr 40mins it achieved under heavy usage is also impressive, and ably demonstrates the modest power requirements of Intel’s latest P-series processors.

So, what’s not to like? Well, the 2.66kg weight will dissuade many people from carrying it around. And the tinny speakers will have music lovers plugging in headphones.

But, as a modestly priced and sensibly proportioned desktop replacement, the R560 has a huge amount to recommend it.

Warranty

Warranty 1 year(s) collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 358 x 264 x 37mm (WDH)
Weight 2.7kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
Motherboard chipset Intel PM45 Express
RAM capacity 4GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS
Graphics card RAM 256MB
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 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 295GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA 150
Hard disk Samsung HM320JI
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Samsung TS-L633A
Battery capacity 5,200mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT £103
Replacement battery price inc VAT £118

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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 yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 288
Battery life, heavy use 100
Overall application benchmark score 79.00
3D performance (crysis) low settings 55fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied N/A

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