Review Price £391.85
Samsung R530 - Connectivity, Usability and Audio-Visual
Just like the specs, the connectivity on the R530 is as basic as it comes. HDMI is included for digital video outputting, as is the old-school VGA alternative. There are three USB ports, two of which are next to the DVD drive and could potentially block one another off if using large devices. On the front is a memory card reader, and there are two audio jacks for audio connectivity.
One of the R530's best elements is the keyboard. It's nice and large, and features a useful numeric key pad to the right. Best of all, however, are the nicely defined key actions. Matched to a good layout, they make typing on the R530 an unlikely pleasure. Laptops of this price so often fall foul at this point, so the R530 gains extra brownie points.
Regrettably Samsung has persisted in an error it was also guilty of with the Q330, its 13.3-inch offering. Instead of putting the touchpad directly below the spacebar, it's set slightly to the right of it. Consequently, when typing, it's easy for your palm to jog the pad and the cursor on the screen. This is annoying, and can result in frustrating errors when typing. It can be solved by increasing the sensitivity of the 'Palm Check' feature of the touchpad driver, but without a little guidance this setting is very hard to find.
It seems a trivial thing, but a company of Samsung's experience ought to be able to get this stuff right by now. Nonetheless, positioning aside, the touchpad is very good. Its surface glides smoothly, and the two buttons offer decent feedback. It also features the now obligatory multi-touch support, and it works perfectly well.
For a sub-£500 laptop, the R530's screen is particularly good. Though viewing angles are predictably shallow, the display produces crisp, clean colours, decent blacks and is very sharp and bright. It doesn't have the fidelity for colour critical work, but for general image editing and video viewing it's more than adequate.
While Samsung's laptops tend to have good screens, the opposite can be said of its speakers. Those on the R530 aren't terrible, but like most laptops they lack any mid or low-range power and merely serve as a fallback when nothing better is to hand.