A well designed desktop replacement, but it isn't great value at this price
If you’re after a laptop with a big screen, the RC710 has a 17in display with a 1,600×900 resolution. However, inside there’s a first-generation Core i5 processor rather than a modern Sandy Bridge chip. The problem isn’t that it’s slow – more that the integrated graphics chip is much less powerful than the new version.
Samsung has attempted to avoid the problem by installing a dedicated graphics card. Unfortunately Nvidia’s GeForce GT 315M is also starting to show its age: it wouldn’t run modern games at a playable frame rate, as 16fps in our Dirt3 test shows. It can still hold its own when playing high definition video – you can watched 720p and 1080p footage on the laptop itself, but you’ll only see the full detail in 1080p videos on an external Full HD display.
Paired with 4GB of RAM, the Core i5-480M had no trouble with our multimedia benchmarks – a score of 48 is only a few points behind a second-generation chip. Battery life wasn’t too impressive at four hours in our light-use test, but the 17in screen draws more power than a 15.6in version which makes direct comparisons unfair.
The silver metallic-effect chassis has a minimalist design that will suit both home and business use, but its size makes it rather impractical for taking on the move At 2.9kg it’ll weigh you down and you’ll need a large bag too.
We were happy with the 1,600×900 screen resolution, as we wouldn’t expect a Full HD panel for this price. You can still work on multiple documents side-by-side without feeling too cramped. The glossy screen finish makes reflections slightly problematic, and viewing angles aren’t the best, but there’s enough screen tilt to avoid bright lights. Colours were slightly muted, but there was plenty of contrast and our test photos looked great.
The same couldn’t be said of the weak integrated speakers, which struggled to produce clear audio. Bass was noticeable by its absence, and the speakers suffered from slight distortion at maximum volume.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-480M|
|Processor clock speed||2.66GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Viewable size||17.3 in|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce 315M|
|Graphics/video ports||HDMI, VGA|
|Total storage capacity||640GB|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC|
|Other ports||minijack audio output, minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition|
|Warranty||one year RTB|