Intel's Core i processors, in all their forms, have impressed us greatly and the Core i3 in the R580 is little different. In PCMark Vantage the R580 outperformed the likes of the Sony VAIO CW1S1E/P we reviewed last year by a comfortable 10 per cent. Had Samsung used a 64-bit OS, like the Sony, the R580 would likely have performed even better. Another instructive comparison is the Samsung R730 we reviewed last week. While it costs slightly over £100 less (18 per cent), the R580 outperforms by 28 per cent. Even ignoring the superior feature set (e.g. better design, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth and larger hard drive) that's a pretty good return on investment.
This is a machine that could be used for some gaming, too. It produced a comfortable 50.2 frames per second (fps) in our Trackmania Nations casual gaming benchmark, compared to the paltry 13.4fps of the R730. A result of 16.6fps in the more demanding S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat benchmark does show its limitations, but with some compromise many modern titles will run on the machine okay.
In our MobileMark 2007 battery life benchmark the R580 managed 211 minutes (three hours, 31 mins) of productivity and 104 minutes (1 hour, 44 minutes) of DVD playback. Though nothing particularly outstanding, these are both good results for a machine of this kind. Reducing the brightness (we test at 100 per cent) in DVD playback would probably increase the latter to over two hours, so you could watch most films on a single charge.
A combination of style, features, performance and value make the Samsung R580 a great, well-balanced all-rounder that will stand the test of time better than most.