A multimedia laptop with a bright widescreen display
It used to be that if you wanted to do anything of any value on a computer you needed a desktop PC because laptops were not powerful enough.
Nowadays, full-sized laptops such as the Samsung R530 are a good alternative to the bulk of a desktop computer. The R530 is quite portable but it is a lot more powerful than the smaller and cheaper netbook or mini-notebook computers available.
The Samsung R530 offers good performance and has an eye-catching, 15.6in widescreen display. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio (the ratio of the screen’s width to its height), which means that widescreen video such as a film can be played without extra black bars appearing at the top and bottom of the screen.
It also gives plenty of desktop space when working, although it’s not as good as narrower screens for browsing the web, among other things.
The screen is backlit using LED technology, something that is not very common in current laptops but is becoming more so. It means the screen is brighter than standard models and it’s easier to see in bright sunlight. The lid is covered in a red and black finish and the chassis is brushed aluminium. Samsung has also squeezed a numeric keypad in, something that is fairly rare on laptops.
The Intel Pentium T4400 processor in the R530 is quite powerful. It’s a dual-core model that can handle most tasks home users are likely to throw at it. It also has 3GB of memory and a 320GB hard disk, split into two separate partitions.
Windows 7 Home Premium ran perfectly. The R530 cannot play 3D games well, since it does not have a separate graphics card, but it handled high-definition video fine, but other laptops are better for gamers.
On the sides there are three built-in USB ports and HDMI and VGA sockets for connecting screens. Although we would have preferred an extra USB port, the handy inclusion of HDMI means you can connect the R530 to a television and use it to watch video on a big screen.
The computer also has a built-in DVD writer, and comes with Cyberlink DVD Suite software for playback and editing of video, along with the Microsoft Works software for word processing and spreadsheet editing.
The R530 works well as a general purpose laptop for both work and watching video. Its battery life is reasonable, the brushed finish is nice and the screen is bright.
However, there is little else to set it apart from other similarly priced laptops, and if all you need is a computer for basic tasks, a cheaper model will work as well.
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A good choice if you are willing to swap netbook portability for better performance Good points Powerful processor; LED backlit display; easy to type on; capable of HD video playback Bad points Uses an old, inefficient processor
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