Hot on the heels of Samsung’s 2Kg portable Q210, comes yet another in its revamped line up. But this time around, Samsung has a different genre of market in it mind and its latest R510 boasts a very affordable price point. Among all the excitement that is surrounding the high end products that Samsung has been bringing to market lately like the stunning X360 notebook and the Omnia i900, it is very easy for us to forget the manufacturer’s reputation for providing us with great bargain notebooks at the budget end. The Samsung Q210 was a darn good affordable solution too, but its 12.1″ display is too small when put in comparison with the laptops with 15″ display and it still remains to be the most popular choice of display size for the laptops. The R510 has come as a solution with both the 15″ display and affordability factor too.
R510 – Simple, Elegant and Decent:
At the very first look at the Samsung R510 Laptop Computer, the word that would spring up in your minds is that, “it looks decent”. Though it is not that stunning looking that would set your hearts racing, it still looks very dependable, with a simple yet elegant design. The R510 is not a light weight machine, weighing 2.7Kgs and is bulky too, measuring (H x W x D) 39 x 265 x 358 mm. This does not come as a surprise as it is quite a common dimension of the 15.4″ laptops. The top to toe black of last year’s models has been abandoned in favour of a striking two-tone silver and black combination. The outer shell of the laptop has a glossy piano black finishing. And since the device has Glossy finish, Samsung has provided a cloth to combat the inevitable fingerprint and dust build up. The base and the lower edged are given a matte black finish.
Some design tweaks:
As you open the R510 15.4″ notebook, you will find the surprising touch of silver instead of the usual black. We are not saying that there is no black at all, in fact, the whole of the keyboard is matte black with piano black surround that subsumes the speakers a large power button set in a blue LED ring. Another tiny design note is that, there is a chrome trim around the touchpad. Though this does not give the laptop any sophisticated look, it just aids the absence of any media buttons. The media controls are integrated in the keyboard and this is a tactic that is often adopted by the laptop manufacturers to lower the cost of manufacturing and hence that of the device. But the absence of all of them is quite inconvenient and offering some of the basic controls would not hurt much.
Long awaited features included:
Samsung has included a feature in the keyboard that we had been longing for and wishing the notebook manufacturers would implement for a very long time, which is a secondary function key on the right side of the keyboard. Hence, we are happy to forgive them for omitting the media control buttons. Samsung has included this extra functional key on all its new laptops like the Samsung R410. This finally allows you to adjust the volume and brightness using just one hand as the keys are sensibly located on the arrow keys.
The keyboard does not let you down either. The surface of the keys is pleasant and will not pick-up the fingerprints that easily. The overall layout is excellent with the ctrl key on the outside of the left fn, a dedicated set of delete, home, pg up, pg down and end keys going down the right and a full sized enter key. There’s a row of full-sized number keys topped by a row of slightly smaller function keys. The keyboard also has a shortcut button for the Internet explorer. The keys feel crisp giving a very positive indication of long time durability. The curved front edge aids the ergonomic factors like comfort and the tactile feel and the entire layout makes prolonged typing a painless process.
Broad touch pad:
Samsung has had a miserable and awkward effort in the past with the touchpad and here it has got a relief. The mouse buttons are large and extremely easy to press delivering a slight hollow sounding click. Though the scroll zones are not marked, they are broad and very responsive. The keyboard has an anti-bacterial coating that uses silver-ion particles. Though this feature is common in the other Samsung laptops, it is worth a selling point.
1.3 megapixel Webcam:
The obligatory 1.3 megapixel model is nested in the top of the silver bezel. Samsung R510 15.4 inch laptop has also offered an application that helps you to record video and take snapshots. The webcam does not do a good job if there is some light source in the rear, but copes well in uniform lighting conditions.
Flaws with the design:
A minor flaw in the design is that, the indicators for the caps lock, hard drive activity, wireless connectivity, etc are on the front of the left palm rest as in the case of Dell Inspiron 1525, this means, you will not be able to see them while typing. We found that there is a very slight creaking in the lid but the general built quality is very good. The light and more plastic like feel of R510’s predecessors such as the R60 plus, is but a long and distant memory. The 2.6kg weight of the device is matched with a reassuring solidity and the ergonomics are top notch.
Display that goes with the price tag:
The display in R510 is very sharp and bright. It is accomplished at distinguishing grey shades that come close to some of the other desktop LCD monitors. It is sharp and clear with barely any noticeable backlight bleed and there is no banding across the colour tone ramps. While the horizontal viewing angles are good, the vertical angles are slightly less. The Liquid Crystal Display has Samsung’s SuperBright gloss finish that aids in boosting the clarity and sharpness. But then, this leads to the usual reflection problems when there is some light source behind you.
The contrast is a bit lacking and has a slightly bluish hue to skin tones that made it look less natural than Toshiba’s A300-177, but then is far from unacceptable. The restrictive native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is not as high as we would have liked but it will be really mean on our part to criticise it on our part, considering the device’s price tag.
Ports and Connectivity:
We are not very pleased with the unusual trend of the laptops of these days, of having the power socket at the rear, accompanied by two USB2.0 ports close to each other, followed by the modem and Ethernet jacks. And since these ports are very close to each other, there are lot of chances that a connector for one USB device will obscure access to the port. The sole province in the right side of the unit is of the DVD writer. You will find a very small three in one memory card reader at the front with support for SD, SDHC and MMC card formats. Though it hardly seems to be a prodigious selection, the SD and SDHC are at least the most commonly used format around these days.
The other connections are available on the left side of the unit and, though they are adequate, none of those stands out. The ports and connectivity on the left side of the unit includes USB, VGA and HDMI out, headphone and microphone jacks and a 54mm ExpressCard slot. Yet another thing that was expected, but went missing is the headphone socket does not double as S/PDIF, giving you analogue only sound. But we cannot blame Samsung as this is not unusual at this price point. It is very disappointing that, despite the large size of the laptop, Samsung had found space for only three USB ports.
The Samsung R510 runs on the 32 bit Windows Vista Home Premium edition OS. Hence, it lacks some of the features that the business users would have liked to have. For instance, a complete PC Backup and Restore is missing though there is a very simple file backup utility.
The internal specifications and configurations available:
Internally, the R510 15.4 inch laptop from Samsung is well specified. The Samsung R510 is available in several configurations; let us consider the highest end, that is based around a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 processor with 4GB of RAM. Graphics is handled by the Intel GMA X4500HD module integrated in the Intel GM45 Express chipset. This model has a 250GB hard drive that spins at 5400rpm. Some of the other options available are, 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 320GB.
Another configuration available is the one that runs on an Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 running at 2GHz, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD for graphics, 3GB RAM and a capacious 320GB 5400RPM hard drive. With a 320GB RAM, you will not run out of memory that easily. The processor is not a speed demon but is more than adequate for everyday use and with the name you must have guessed that it is not a Centrino 2 notebook. The graphics chipset is new and improvised.
The optical drive of the R510 is equipped with LightScribe which can produce professional looking media with logos, pictures, etc on the surface of the disc, as long as you use LightScribe compatible media.
Wired and wireless connectivity:
As far as integrated wireless connectivity is concerned, the R510 has 802.11 a/b/g and draft-n WiFi plus Bluetooth (2.0 + EDR). But it does not support mobile broadband for which, you will need a separate USB dongle. For wired connectivity, the netbook has Gigabit Ethernet and a V.92 modem. The Draft-N wireless will be lacking in the model using the Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 processor, this is an acceptable compromise made considering the price tag.
In terms of performance, the R510 powers through almost anything that is not essentially graphics intensive.
Samsung R510 has a very impressive overall Windows Experience Index rating of 3.8 out of 5.9. Only one subsystem managed to score above 5, 5.3 for the primary hard disk data transfer rate. The processor calculations per second and RAM memory operations per second, both these subsystems scored 4.9. And the desktop graphics performance for Windows Aero gained 4.1. The 3D and gaming graphics performance scored just 3.8.
The stereo speakers had very good volume with reasonable quality. They cannot be said to be well accomplished. The bass produces noise like hitting a tin with fork. We would say that the audio talents of the notebook is just enough for some voice conversations and light music. It is better off that you use a set of headphones. We still have not managed to find a budget notebook that can even come close to the outstanding speakers on the Satellite A300-177.
Battery and battery life of R510:
Samsung has not made any battery life for its six cell lithium ion batteries. So, when it is put to test with the laptop fully charged, in the power saver option and continuous DVD playback, the laptop expired after two hours and 34 minutes.
Samsung offers R510 one year international collect and return warranty.
The Samsung R510 is roughly the same price as its previous R560+, but beats it out in almost every aspect. Overall, it is a very good value for notebook. If you are looking for any other option, Dell Inspiron 1525 is a good choice. It offers similar specifications for just a few more pounds. The choice is yours, but we tended to go more towards the Dell Laptop as it had a slightly slimmer chassis and more options for customisation.
The Samsung R510 is an excellent mid ranged notebook with a simple and nice design, some great features and a very affordable price.
Samsung R510 Laptop Notebook – Technical Specifications, Features
|Model Name||Samsung R510 Laptop|
|Display technology||LCD with Super Bright gloss finish|
|Display diagonal size||15.4 inch|
|Maximum resolution||1280 x 800 pixels|
|Dimension (W x D x H)||358 x 265.2 x 31.8~38.5mm|
|Colours available||Black, Silver|
|Operation Systems||Genuine Microsoft Windows Vista® Home Premium
Genuine Microsoft Windows Vista® Home Basic
|Processors used in each configuration||Intel® Centrino® 2 Processor Technology
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor
Intel® Pentium Dual Core™
Intel® Celeron® Processor
|System Memory configurations||1GB (DDR2 / 1GB x 1)
2GB (DDR2 / 1GB x 2)
2GB (DDR2 / 2GB x 1)
3GB (DDR2 / 1GB x 1 + 2GB x 1 )
4GB (DDR2 / 2GB x 2)
|Memory Slot||2 x SODIMM|
|Graphic Memory||Intel® X4500 128MB Integrated Graphics|
|Graphic Processor||Intel® X4500 (Integrated Graphics)|
|Sound||HD (High Definition) Audio
EDS (Enhanced Digital Sound) Effect
|Multimedia Player||AVStation Now Play AVStation|
|Speaker||4W Stereo Speaker (2W x 2)|
|Integrated Camera||1.3 Mega Pixel integrated digital motion camera|
|HDD (5400rpm S-ATA)||120GB, 160GB, 200GB, 250GB and 320GB|
|ODD||DVD Super Multi Dual Layer|
|Wired Ethernet LAN||10/100/1000 LAN|
|Wireless LAN||Atheros 802.11b.g
Intel 802.11a.b.g/n (MIMO)
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR|
|Keyboard Type||89 Key with Silver Nano technology
|Touch Pad||Scroll Scope, Flat Type|
|Software installed||Magic Doctor, Update Plus, Easy Display Manger,
Easy Battery Manager, Easy Network Manager,
Easy SpeedUp Manager, Adobe Acrobat Reader,
Operating System Recovery DVD and System S/W
Media (Including Cyberlink DVD Suite)
|I/O ports||VGA , HDMI , Headphone-out, Microphone-in,
Internal Mic, Express PC Card (54mm), 3 x USB 2.0,
Multi Card Slot 3-in-1 (SD, SDHC, MMC) and
DC-In (Power Port)
|Security features||McAfee Virus Scan (Trial Version), BIOS Boot Up Password,
HDD Password, Kensington Lock Port and
SAMSUNG Recovery Solution III
|Standard Battery||6 Cell lithium ion|
|AC Adapter||60Watt / 90Watt|
|Warranty||1 Year International Collect and Return|