Good build quality and generous hard disk capacity can't quite make up for poor performance and a higher price than PC Nextday's Versa.
Samsung’s R505 isn’t quite as attractive as the company’s more expensive models; its silver and black livery looks a little plain.
Build quality is good, though, and the keyboard is excellent, with ergonomic keys that have good feedback. With no numberpad, the keyboard has plenty of room for full-sized keys and the layout matches that of a standard desktop PC’s keyboard. The touchpad is small but responsive, and the buttons have a light action.
Image quality from the 15.4in 1,280×800 display is good. Colours are a bit muted and the backlight, although even, isn’t quite bright enough, but this is only noticeable when placed next to other laptops. There’s an HDMI port so you can connect to a larger monitor or a home entertainment system. The 320GB hard disk is generous, but we were a little disappointed at the lack of Bluetooth or Draft-N WiFi, and the complement of just three USB ports, when cheaper laptops are better specified. At least the R505 has an SDHC memory card reader and a 1.3-megapixel webcam, though.
However, the disappointment continued when our light-use battery test lasted just two hours and 25 minutes. We’ve come to expect long battery life from Samsung’s computers, so the R505 loses marks here. More ground was lost in our performance tests. The dual-core AMD processor is the slowest of any laptop here, and even the generous 4GB of RAM couldn’t improve its overall score. To keep things in perspective, the R505 is still more than twice as fast as any netbook, though.
The ATI graphics chip isn’t capable of playing demanding 3D games, but it can handle high-definition video. The speakers produce clear sound with good mid-range, but there’s no bass and the volume isn’t loud enough to fill even a small room.
We’ve given Samsung quite a few awards recently, but this budget model hasn’t impressed us much. The R505 is well built, but unless you want Vista Home Premium and the extra hard disk space, there’s no reason to spend the extra £70 over PC Nextday’s 81-2200 or Dell’s Inspiron 1545.
|AMD Athlon X2 QL-62
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Realtek High Definition Audio
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|ATI Radeon HD 3200
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive model
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|minijack audio output, minijack microphone input
|Windows Vista Home Premium
|Operating system restore option
|restore partition, restore disc
|Cyberlink DVD Suite
|one year collect and return