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Samsung R20 Aura
Hi, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.
Hey PC, what are you doing tonight?
Well, I’m having the latest version of Microsoft Office installed, a fancy new printer hooked up and I’m going to play a whole bunch of games. How about you, Mac?
Erm... well I cost nearly twice as much as you, so now my owner can’t afford any of that stuff sooooo.... I’m just going to browse the net and check email.
You, see it’s all very well harping on about how fantastic the Mac is, and don't get me wrong I think they're great, but when it comes down to it, price counts for a lot. This Samsung R20 is a case in point – it does the classic PC job of offering a lot more for your money than an equivalent Mac. This is particularly relevant as in designing the R20, the first of its notebooks to appear under its new Aura branding, Samsung is clearly gunning for the black MacBook.
The key talking point is the lid, which, though it doesn’t really come across in our picture, is piano key smooth, shiny and very impressive.
While this is great, it means that when you open up the notebook you’re rather brought down to earth with a bump. The finish and design really doesn’t manage to hide the fact that this is a budget piece of hardware making the lid seem as if it actually comes from a different notebook altogether.
Before I go into the notebook in detail though, it's worth talking about the spec – a T2250 Core Duo CPU with 2MB of cache, backed up with 1GB of RAM. There’s a massive (for a notebook) 160GB hard disk drive, and a dual-layer DVD burner. The presence of a Core Duo, rather than the newer Core 2 Duo might make some people stop but in fact for Core 2 Duo’s that don’t have 4MB of cache, there’s not much difference to the previous generation. A feature that Core 2 Duo does have is hardware support for virtualisation but if you need this, you have to set your sights higher than a £600 notebook.
The spec is impressive for the price. The Toshiba Satellite U200 that we looked at last month cost more but sported a lower clocked CPU, half the RAM, a much smaller hard disk and slower integrated graphics. The latter is quite significant as the R20 is running the RS600, the new chipset from ATI featuring integrated X1250 graphics, which is said to be appreciably quicker than anything you can get right now from Intel. We’ll see.