Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price £514.92

Samsung R730 - 17.3in Laptop - Samsung R730

So the R730 is best described as functional, but for some that's just fine and the R730 is both great to use and well-made. Decent quality plastics are used throughout and the chassis as a whole exudes assiduous workmanship.
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Best of all, however, particularly if you find smaller laptops somewhat cramped, the R730 sports a roomy keyboard with a full number pad. Keys feel a little on the light side, but the feedback is crisp and positive and the layout is pretty much spot-on. Odd backlighting aside, the touchpad is very good, too. Its surface is large and smooth, while the two individual buttons (Samsung doesn't use the sometimes unreliable rocker-style buttons) are snappy and receptive.

Another boon for usability is the screen. Its large 17.3in size certainly helps, but so does the 1,600 x 900 native resolution. It might not please the purists who demand a Full HD capable display, but for regular folk it provides a nice balance between readability and desktop real-estate - it's certainly more comfortable to use than similar 1,366 x 768 resolution laptops.
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As for the screen's quality, it's about what you'd expect. Colours are quite nice, it's bright and it's sharp, but shallow viewing angles make it hard for more than a couple of people to view the screen at the same time.

One element of the R730 that really struggles is the speakers. It's never been a Samsung speciality really, but the tinny, imprecise output of the R730 is spectacularly disappointing. Anything beyond an online video clip is best avoided.
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As ever, we tested battery life using Mobile Mark 2007. It's not a key factor for a large laptop like this, but the R730 lasted over three hours in the Productivity benchmark and just short of two in the more intensive DVD playback test - both good results for this kind of laptop.

Verdict

There's nothing particularly outstanding about the Samsung R730, but it's a solid, well-made machine that offers good value. Were it £30 or so cheaper it would score higher, but nonetheless it's a decent entry-level option.

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