Samsung's R780 is an excellent desktop replacement that's only missing an HD display, but we've seen better specifications at a similar price.
17.3 in 1,600×900 display, 2.9kg, 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Last time we saw the 17.3in Samsung R780 we absolutely loved it. This time around we’re looking at the more expensive model (part code: NP-R780-JS0BUK). From the outside it looks identical to its predecessor and we love its shiny red and black finish.
Inside, it’s got a 2.26GHz Core i5-430M processor, compared to the original R780’s Core i3 chip. There’s a little boost in speed. Combined with the 4GB of RAM, this laptop managed an overall score of 85 in our benchmarks, showing that it’s incredibly powerful and will cope with pretty much any task. Annoyingly, there’s only a 32-bit version of Windows installed, so the laptop can only use around 3.5GB of its installed (and maximum) amount of memory.
Its fast performance doesn’t stop there and we were pleased to see a dedicated graphics chip: a 1GB Nvidia GeForce 330. This managed 28.1fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. Turning down detail settings would boost this frame rate, allowing you to play any modern game.
There’s more entertainment to be had from this laptop, thanks to the built-in Blu-ray drive. You can either watch films on the 17.3in display. This has a resolution of 1,600×900, so you can’t quite watch films at their full 1080p resolution. They still look fantastic, though, as the quality of the display is very high. Its glossy coating boosts contrast and gives colours a rich vibrant tone. If you’d rather use an external display or TV, the laptop has an HDMI output.
The built-in speakers are a cut above most, with rounded mid-tones and even some audible bass. They can pump out a reasonable volume, although treble sounds can become tinny with the gain pushed up to full.
We found the laptop a pleasure to use. Its keyboard has flat, low-profile keys with spaces between them and a full numeric keypad. We found it comfortable to use, although we’d have preferred more space around the cursor keys. The touchpad is flush with the rest of the inner chassis, and has the same continuous decorative design printed on it. Fortunately, there’s a blue LED at each corner of the pad, which makes it easy to spot even in the dark. The touchpad supports multi-touch features like pinch-to-zoom and can even be configured to treat each corner as a configurable, tap-sensitive button.
The 500GB hard disk provides plenty of space to install software or store your media collection. With three USB and one eSATA port, you’ll be able to connect an USB keyboard and mouse while still leaving enough room for a couple of external hard disks. There’s also a memory card reader which can handle SD, SDHC and MMC cards. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless mean that you’ll be able to take advantage of the fastest network connections available to you.
The R780 is a pleasure to use and can handle almost any game or application you’d use a desktop for. However, this model is more than £100 more expensive that the original version (NP-R780-JS02UK) and we don’t think the slightly faster processor and Blu-ray drive warrant this much extra, and we’re a little disappointed there isn’t a 1080p display. As it stands now, Sony’s excellent Vaio EC1S1EB is a better choice.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-430M|
|Processor clock speed||2.26GHz|
|Memory slots free||2|
|Sound||Realtec High Definition Audio|
|Viewable size||17.3 in|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce 330M|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Optical drive model||TSST TS-LB23A|
|Optical drive type||BD-ROM + DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||1x ExpressCard/34|
|Supported memory cards||SD, SDHC, MMC|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition, burn own restore disc|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|