Samsung's R580 is a good value Core i3 laptop that's under $1000

Recommended
Samsung's R580 is a good value Core i3 laptop that's under $1000
Rating
Overall:

A Core i3-powered laptop that combines striking looks, solid performance and an alluring price.

Performance:
5
Features & Design:
4
Value for money:
5
Price
Price: $976
> Pricing info
Specs
Price 976
CPU model/brand Intel Core i3-330M
CPU speed 2.13GHz

Intel's Core i3 processors are set to power budget laptops to performance levels previously reserved for pricier portables, and Samsung's R580 is one of the first of this new breed. With dedicated graphics courtesy of Nvidia and a price tag that sneaks in below the $1000 mark , it looks set to bring portable power to the budget-conscious masses.

There's little question that the R580 makes a dramatic entrance. Samsung's Touch of Colour design makes a big statement, the lid infused with a glossy blood-red finish that stands apart from the legions of jet-black laptops on the market.

The interior is equally fanciful, with the Scrabble-tile keyboard surrounded by red curves sweeping from edge to edge. Dab a finger on the trackpad and its corners are lit by glowing-blue LEDs. For a budget laptop, the R580 is quite a looker.

It's no petite stunner, though, and the 15.6in display means it isn't particularly portable. Weighing 2.52kg, nor is it the lightest on the shoulder.

Look past the Flash Harry exterior and there's little to disappoint. The Core i3-330M processor lacks the Turbo Boost trickery of its Core i5 and i7 cousins, but the 2.13GHz clock speed propelled it to a grand score of 1.32 in our benchmarks. And the Nvidia GT 330M graphics chipset, while no 3D-accelerating goliath, provides enough gaming grunt for the mid-range market, only stumbling to an unplayable 14fps once we upped Crysis to medium detail and a resolution of 1280 x 1024.

Importantly, screen quality is very good. Viewing angles are narrower than you'll find on pricier notebooks, but they're still wide enough to prevent you from having to tilt the display to and fro on a constant basis. Images, both moving and still, leap from the panel with vivacity, with rich colours and good contrast setting the Samsung above many of its peers.

The alliance of a Core i3 processor and dedicated graphics take their toll when it comes to battery life, however. Despite the 4400mAh battery clipped to the R580's underside, light usage called for a return to the mains after a modest 4hrs 2mins.

The move to a Scrabble-tile keyboard - favoured by many manufacturers for their 2010 range refreshes - is, on the other hand, entirely successful. The keys have a positive action at the end of each stroke, and as they rest on a firm, solid base, with no undue flex or give, there's no hint of the vague, woolly feel that we've encountered on other laptops.

The layout could be a little better, however. We occasionally found our fingers hunting around to locate the needlessly shortened right Shift key.

Connectivity is bang on the money. Four USB ports, one doubling up as an eSATA connection, are distributed across the R580's left and right edges, and both HDMI and D-SUB video outputs make an appearance. An SD card reader nestles out of sight on the laptop's front edge.

On the networking front Samsung has again been generous, with 802.11n and Bluetooth catering for the wireless side of things, and Gigabit Ethernet ensuring blink-of-an-eye transfers if you don't mind resorting to old-fashioned cable. One neat touch is that the USB port on the R580's left-hand edge also has the ability to charge USB devices while the laptop is switched off.

Some might find the R580's attention-seeking looks a little too gaudy for their tastes, but there's no doubt that it makes a great case for Intel's new budget-focused processor.

Battery life isn't a strength - we're still waiting for the long-life Core i3 we know is possible - but the R580 does just enough to earn a recommendation. It provides good ergonomics, great performance and generous connectivity at a very sensible price.

This Review appeared in the July, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

See more about:  samsung  |  r580  |  computer  |  pc  |  laptop  |  notebook
 
 

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Comments: 7
Slatts
30 June 2010
Nice review Sasha.

informative and entertaining.

I'm tempted to go out and get me one of these on the strength of it.

I assume it comes with win 7 home premium 64 bit?




Comment made about the PC Authority article:
Samsung's R580 is a good value Core i3 laptop that's under $1000?
A Core i3-powered laptop that combines striking looks, solid performance and an alluring price

What do you think? Join the discussion.
retta1
1 July 2010
Sounds like a good one to upgrade the current lappy for dh. And one that I can have some fun on when travelling! It is also cheaper than the apple i was considering when i had the cash for it!
petergaskin
2 July 2010
re read the review - the laptop is too heavy and battery life will disappoint. thus not the best for travelling.
retta1
2 July 2010
I know the battery life isn't great but consider that the most I would spend on the comp whilst travelling is 30min as I tend to get car sick when looking at a monitor for tooo long! It can not be any heavier than the current lappy anyway peter!
petergaskin
3 July 2010
But for an extra $200, you can get the core i5 version. Which is the better investment?
Slatts
9 July 2010
As for battery life on the road, I've spent the better part of the last week on the road with my wife and kids.
They had a Dell Inspiron 17 inch laptop in the back running for the whole trip off a Waeco PerfectPower 12Volt DC to 240 volt AC inverter.
It's got a continuous rating of 150 Watts and handles a peak of 250 Watts.
I picked it up for a bit under $60.



Edited by Slatts: 9/7/2010 07:29:44 PM
bcooldude
19 October 2010
I'm using Dell XPS 1530 at the moment and have mostly been a Dell user. My wife wants to get a Samsung R580. Looks like a good machine. Is it a good price if i get the Core i5 under $1000 here?

Edited by bcooldude: 19/10/2010 09:27:41 PM
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