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Samsung RC510 review

Tom Morgan
24 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
553
inc VAT

A great design, excellent keyboard and beautiful screen, but out-dated components make the RC510 hard to recommend.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.5kg, 2.53GHz Intel Core i3-380M, 6.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

We’re almost always impressed with Samsung laptops' stylish design and excellent build quality. The RC510 is no different; the outside might be made entirely from plastic, but the metal effect lid and smooth angular chassis look fantastic. However, underneath the attractive outer shell are some surprising component choices.

Samsung RC510 right side

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors have quickly superseded the previous generation, but Samsung has strangely decided to stick with an original Core i3 chip. The dual-core i3-380m runs at a fairly snappy 2.53GHz, but it can’t Turbo Boost for extra performance like a Core i5 or i7. Paired with a generous 6GB of RAM and large 640GB hard disk, the processor completed our multimedia benchmarks with an overall score of 46. This is by no means slow, but the equivalent Sandy Bridge laptop will be significantly faster. Even so, the Windows desktop felt responsive during everyday use. More disappointing was battery life; in our light use test, it couldn’t even reach a mediocre four hours.

Samsung RC510 left side

The second surprise comes from the choice of graphics card; the GeForce 315M might have a gigabyte of dedicated video memory, but it’s also two whole generations behind Nvidia’s current mobile line-up. It’s still powerful enough to play high definition video, either in 720p on the laptop itself or 1080p on an external display using the HDMI out port, but it can’t hope to play games at high levels of detail. A lowly 16.4fps in our Call of Duty test shows you’ll have to turn down graphics settings to get playable frame rates in modern titles.

Samsung RC510 keyboard

In spite of the slightly out-dated internal components, the RC510 was still great to use thanks to a keyboard with well-spaced keys. Each key has a responsive action, minimal flex and just the right amount of tactile feedback. There’s also room for a numeric keypad, and even though the keys have been slightly reduced in size they are still big enough to use without making mistakes. The large touchpad was also impressive, with a pleasant-to-use smooth surface. It responds well to multi-touch gestures, but the touchpad buttons aren’t great. Their silver plastic construction feels cheap, although we appreciated two separate buttons rather than a single rocker switch.

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