Summary

Our Score

7/10

Pros

  • A lot of screen for the price
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Roomy keyboard

Cons

  • Limited gaming performance
  • Mediocre viewing angles
  • Poor built-in speakers

Review Price £514.92

Key Features: Intel Pentium T4300 processor; 4GB DDR3 RAM; 17.3-inch 1600x900 pixel screen; Windows 7 Home Premium; 6-cell battery

Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung generally prefers to stick to the mainstream segment of the laptop market and the R730-JA02UK we're looking at today is a good example. It's a 17.3in desktop replacement laptop that retails for around £480, making the Samsung R730 a potential option for anyone who wants a large, functional machine at a reasonable price.

Despite measuring a sizeable 441mm across, the R730 weighs just 2.84kg, which is quite light for such a large machine. This is mostly because the R730 isn't weighed down by too many advanced hardware parts, such as a discrete graphics card. As a consequence there's plenty of open air inside the machine, so it rarely gets hot or noisy.

Of course it also means this is no gaming laptop, but we wouldn't expect it to be at this price. Outside of 3D applications, however, it's a decent performer. Its dual-core Intel Pentium T4200 processor ticks along at 2.1GHz and puts in a decent performance in our benchmarks. Provided you stick to fairly regular computing tasks it'll cope easily, even extending to some video editing.

This CPU is backed by a plentiful 4GB of RAM, though the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium can't use it all. These days it seems a bit thoughtless not to include a 64-bit OS, but that's Samsung's choice. A 320GB hard drive provides the storage, while Wireless-N Wi-Fi is included for wireless networking. There's no Bluetooth, though, and Ethernet is of the slower 10/100 variety.

Connectivity is a little spartan for such a large machine. All the basics are there, including: HDMI and VGA for video; a memory card reader; audio jacks; and three USB ports, but there's more than enough space to fit at least a fourth USB port on there. Being greedy we'd love an eSATA port, too, but it's not something 90 per cent of users will miss.

Aesthetically, the R730 is an odd mixture. We really like the lid, whose graduated, glossy red finish and imprinted patterns look really smart, but opening the machine reveals a machine a good deal less exciting. Its plain, matt silver finish will wear well, but it's hardly exciting to look at. It's also strange that the one piece of contrast, the glossy segment above the keyboard enclosing the speakers and power button, is deep blue rather than red like the lid.

It's also interesting to note that the backlit ring around the touchpad is only lit in the corners, unlike the R620 and R522 before it that featured an even backlight all-round. It doesn't look as good without it.

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