After much saving my daughter recently bought herself a laptop. Or rather, she gave me the money and left it to my judgement to get her one.
I came across the Samsung R530 quite early on and took her to try it in Currys. What I didn’t realise at the time is the sheer number of configurations of the R530 there are available.
The version I ended up getting appears to be exclusive to DSG (Currys, Dixons and PC World) – it has an Intel T4400 processor, 500GB hard drive and 4GB of memory. With the latter installed, I assumed the version of Windows 7 it came with would be the 64 bit one. I was wrong, so only 3GB is usuable (I submitted a query through Samsung support about this but never got a response), which is disappointing.
Unlike many of the bland looking laptops available, this one has a lovely dark red finish on its lid – something my daughter didn’t like at first, although she now describes it as “very stylish“. Inside, the keyboard is black and has a silver surround. Indicator lights are on the front and the whole track-pad has a blue light around it. The track-pad is easy to use and is multi-touch.
There are only 3 USB ports available, but there’s also an HDMI connector along with a VGA. It has a DVD writer and there’s also a 3-in-1 card slot on the front. Wi-fi is b/g and n but there’s no bluetooth. The supplied 6 cell battery will probably see a couple of hours of life, but it’s not fantastic.
The keyboard is good quality and easy to type on – it even has room for a numeric keypad. The screen is particularly good – with a glossy screen the colours are really vivid. It’s 15.6″ in size has a 1366×768 pixel resolution and has an LED back light. When it turned up in the post I was at work, and had many admiring comments about the quality of the screen. Graphics are built in.
Sadly, I spent a long time waiting for Windows to install and, particularly, a long time waiting for Samsung software to install – this includes a lot of trial software as well as other stuff that I really don’t need. I then spent a long time uninstalling it all. Once done, I used the Windows backup tool to create a disk image. The Samsung does come with its own backup software, which creates backups on another partition – a partition that you set-up yourself. It appears to put too much emphasis on the idea that this is THE backup solution – no, it’s not. In the case of a drive failure, a backup on the same disk isn’t going to help. And, by default, it wanted to use HALF the disk for backups. I turned it off.
Unfortunately, Samsung do not provide any kind of recovery disk and, again, queries about this were met unanswered by Samsung.
As if often the case, Samsung have included some full third party software for DVD playback, etc. There’s also an excellent piece of webcam software to make use of the quality webcam that’s built into the laptop called YouCam. As with the rest of the software, this is courtesy of Cyberlink.
At this point, I’ve turned to my daughter for her pros and cons…
- Brilliant keyboard
- Lovely screen
- Very stylish
- Good value
- Shows fingerprints clearly
Thanks to Quidco, I was able to use a money off voucher and get cash back so it cost a little over £437.
[review]Excellent keyboard and screen and superb value for money. Lacks Bluetooth and should have the 64-bit version of Windows 7. Average battery life and little heavy. More disappointing is Samsung’s lack of support – an inability to respond to queries, let alone include proper recovery disks.[/review]