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Samsung RF511 review

A distinctive look and feel, but not nearly enough to justify the price

Our Verdict

Product features

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

View full specification

For

  • Good office performance
  • Good screen
  • Nice design

Against

  • Annoying pre-installed software
  • A bit pricey
  • Graphics performance

The Samsung RF511 is a mid-range laptop which offers solid yet unspectacular performance, at a less than inspiring price. With so many great laptop bargains on the market this year boasting new Intel chips, we reckon that Samsung has missed the mark with this middle-of-the-road outing.

With its muted grey metal trim around the keyboard and austere black-on-silver keys, the kind of room which would suit Samsung's RF511 will have black leather couches and smoked glass tables. It's a world away from the designer minimalism of something like the Asus Zenbook and a design that will repel as many as it attracts.

But once you look at the glossy baked plastic lid, you begin to wonder who exactly the RF511 is aimed at. Is it a workhorse machine for open plan offices? Or something that could be a desktop replacement for the family home? We're just not sure – and the problem is that Samsung doesn't seem to have the answer, either.

If you're shopping around, there are two versions of the RF511 available: one has a discrete graphics processor supplied by Nvidia for extra gaming power; the other relies on Intel's HD Graphics 3000 GPU that's built into a Sandy Bridge chip. This is the latter incarnation, meaning that the latest games are going to be beyond your aspirations.

Like the Packard Bell TS13HR, you'll be able to get some older games running at a playable rate, but forget your secret ambition to be a soldier in Battlefield 3 if you choose to arm yourself with the RF511. Far Cry 2 runs fairly well on it, though.

Samsung build

So, if it's not extra games performance that Samsung is offering punters, how does it distinguish itself from the almost £180 cheaper Packard Bell TS13HR? For the extra outlay here you get a Core i5 processor (rather than the Core i3 in the Packard Bell) and an extra 250GB of hard drive space.

It's not much lighter, though, and the battery life isn't any better if you're running video or doing anything more challenging than browsing the web.

We can report, however, that the RF511's screen is an improvement over the TS13HR. The contrast levels are even better for richer colours all round, but it's not that much better. Certainly not £150 so.

Limited benefit

So what about those differences between the Core i5 and Core i3? With the former, you get Hyper Threading and Intel's Turbo Boost technology. That's reflected in the benchmarks, but they don't have as much real world benefit as you might imagine – certainly not unless you're encoding a lot of video or doing the kinds of high intensity workloads that this laptop really isn't otherwise designed for.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 168 minutes
Cinebench: 9960
3DMark 2006: 4740

As far as using the the RF511 or the TS13HR for photo editing, watching videos, surfing the web and office suites, there's not a huge performance advantage to be gained by spending the extra money.

What you do get for the extra money is a lot of bundled software. Unfortunately, most of this borders on the intrusive rather than the genuinely useful. Internet security pop-ups and notifications about Wi-Fi also have a habit of knocking out other running applications. If you're after a no-frillls 15-incher, there's little reason to buy the RF511 over the cheaper TS13HR.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA, Intel
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce GT 540M, HD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Reader/DVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated, Shared
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyRF
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli5-2430M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed2.40 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.60 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM65 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedBD-ROM/DVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologySuperBright
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Height37 mm
Width379.6 mm
Depth255.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesRF
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelRF511
Product NameRF511 Notebook
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNP-RF511-S03UK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Seeing is believing - especially with the Samsung RF511 notebook. Hidden beneath its stylishly minimalist design is the very best in digital technology to provide an extremely powerful mobile multimedia centre. You can experience the ultimate in state-of-the-art 3D gaming and high definition (HD) multimedia thanks to a 15.6" HD/HD+ LED SuperBright display, with up to 300nit brightness, and the blistering performance of a powerful nVIDIA graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. It also sounds just as good thanks to the immersive audio of its unique Enhanced Acoustic Chamber system. And to make sure you always get the best possible performance, the latest Intel Core i5 Processor automatically allocates processing power where it's needed most, while Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium enables effortless multi-tasking.

Package Contents
  • RF511 Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year