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Samsung R540 review

A decent all-round laptop for performing basic tasks at a bargain price

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Decent office performance
  • Memory
  • 500GB hard drive

Against

  • Graphics performance

Just because a laptop is low cost doesn't mean it has to be light on features, and the Samsung R540 packs some serious hardware into its sub-£399 frame.

At the heart of this laptop is an Intel Pentium 2GHz processor which, although still lowly on the scale, outstrips the Celeron that powers the Fujitsu LifeBook A530. There's also 4096MB of memory, double that of the LifeBook, and a 500GB hard drive, again, twice the size.

The Samsung's processor came out results in our lab tests, helped hugely by the extra RAM. In real terms, the extra processing power and RAM do wonders for the performance of the Samsung R540.

Basic tasks perform noticeably smoother and faster, and you can even stretch to harder tasks like editing standard-definition video.

Metallic chic

The chassis of the Samsung is solid, and feels well built. The plastic top doesn't feel especially high quality, but the shiny metallic look will turn heads, and also evoke surprised noises from any stranger who finds out its price tag.

Samsung r540

The Samsung's screen is sharp and bright, and is perfectly adequate for watching SD movies and viewing your pictures. At a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 the panel isn't capable of 1080p, not that the laptop could play it back anyway.

However, the Samsung R540 does come with a HDMI out port, so that you can connect it quickly to HDTVs, which makes it really easy to show off photos, or watch movies in the comfort of your living room.

Battery life is also admirable with four hours of use away from the mains if you're out and about. If you are planning to be on the move with the R540, the 2.4kg weight is something your back will thank you for. While it's no ultraportable, students could easily take this to the library or lectures and work comfortably without needing to stop to recharge it.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 235 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 211
3DMark 2003: 3476

Graphically, the Samsung is above average, but it still uses a weak onboard chip, rather than a dedicated GPU. This means that there's a lack of graphics memory which, like any other type of memory, negatively impacts on performance.

The HP Pavillion dv6 is also around the £399-price point but features a dedicated graphics card and, predictably, it tears strips off the Samsung. This means that playing HD video will be a struggle and even simple games won't be as smooth.

What's more, sharing large amounts of memory will impact on other parts of the system, further draining resources.

At such a bargain price, the Samsung is an attractive proposition. If you're looking for a laptop for basic word processing, email and web browsing tasks, and are not worried about playing games, then you won't be disappointed.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothNo
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyR
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelP6100
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory3 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.40 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height38.3 mm
Width379.6 mm
Depth255.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesR
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelR540
Product NameR540 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNP-R540-JA0BUK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

If you want to live life to the full and savor every detail then the innovative and family-friendly Samsung R540 notebook offers all the high-end style and multimedia entertainment you need, but without the high-end price tag. As well as simplifying everyday tasks with Geniune Windows 7 Home Premium its ultra sharp 15.6" screen features a proper 16:9 aspect ratio, so you can enjoy the very latest high definition (HD) movies and games with incredible visual intensity and fidelity. Its expertly crafted, with a robust chassis, Silver Hairline lid design in a sophisticated Silver hue, with a complimentary Silver interior. So you can get even more out of life - and look great anywhere you go.

Package Contents
  • R540 Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter