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Samsung R505 review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
419
inc VAT

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.

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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 1,280x800 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.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Athlon X2 QL-62
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size39x358x269mm
Weight2.6kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle25W
Power consumption active56W

Display

Viewable size15.4 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelTSSTcorp TS-L633A
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition, restore disc
Software includedCyberlink DVD Suite
Optional extras1971

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£419
Detailswww.samsung.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.cbccomputers.com

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