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Samsung R780 - 17.3in Laptop - Performance & Verdict

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung R780 - 17.3in Laptop


Our Score:


What really pleases us about the R780, however, is its performance - mainly because it hits a great sweet-spot in terms of performance for the money. In PCMark Vantage, which tests overall system performance, its Core i5 processor comfortably bests the Core i3-equipped Samsung R580 we reviewed and the AMD-powered HP Pavilion dv6-2113sa.

Had Samsung installed a 64-bit OS these results would doubtless have been even better, as it wouldn't have been outperformed by the HP in some tests - detail of which can be found in the full results at the end of the review.

What's particularly encouraging, however, is the gaming performance on offer. While this particular configuration, which utilises an nVidia GeForce GT 330M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory, doesn't make it an out-and-out gaming machine, it still managed a perfectly playable 35.5fps in our STALKER: Call of Pripyat gaming benchmark.

This means many titles will be playable at medium settings, which our test is run at, though you'll probably have to leave effects like anti-aliasing turned off. In less demanding games, such as our Trackmania Nations test where the R780 achieved a silky smooth 89.5fps, you'll have no problems at all.

Predictably, though, battery life isn't a strong suit. In the Productivity segment it lasted just 150 minutes (2hrs, 30mins), while in the DVD test it even fell behind the HP in dying after 83 minutes - less than an hour and a half. Given the machine's intended use, though, these are good enough for the brief moments the R780 is likely to spend away from a power socket.


Samsung has once again captured a powerful mixture of performance and value in the R780. Its Blu-ray drive might be wasted on the sub-Full HD display and rotten speakers, but for general computing tasks its shines and delivers decent gaming performance to boot.


April 13, 2010, 3:59 pm

No, no, no. This is always an annoying cost-cutting measure. If you're gonna have a BD drive, then show all of it off with a 1080p display. Especially once you get to 17".


April 13, 2010, 4:41 pm

tbh I quite like the fact that the res is not 1080p, it means the GPU would stand a better chance at driving games at native res. At the size, your not going to see the difference in the detail that 1080 would give anyways.


April 13, 2010, 6:17 pm

1080p on a 17" display makes little difference when watching movies. In fact, it makes little difference full stop really.


April 13, 2010, 6:23 pm

@Jones @cjb110 - it's not about gaming or movies, it's simply about having far more screen retail estate. Personally I couldn't live with anything less than 1920 x 1080 on a 17in screen. Then again, I can't live without 1680 x 1050 minimum on a 15in screen so I'm probably unusual!


April 13, 2010, 6:57 pm

I don't buy that you can't tell the difference - I've seen the 720p/1080p video difference with my own eyes. That's not boasting about fantastic eyesight either. It's simply because your head is pressed up against a computer display in a way that you probably don't do with regular television. At that distance, 17 and 18 inch displays may look just as big as when you're sitting on your couch across your room from a 32-50 inch telly.


April 13, 2010, 8:02 pm

I understand the "real estate" argument - just has never been an issue for me from a whole manner of perspectives from the home music production I do to with software like Sonar to the constant spreadsheet and accounts based production software like Sage I use at work, not to mention more basic funtionality in word processing and what not.

GoldenGuy, Im not sure what movies/videos you are watching but I just cant tell the difference - and my eyesight is excellent! I can imagine maybe the most recent movies like Star Trek or 2012 having some differences but the older films I tend to watch just wouldnt benefit much from the extra resolution.

Im a hypocrite anyway in that I have 1080p displays for my laptop and TV but I dont really see much of a difference from my older displays. Black and colour depths/brightness are more important to me as well as things such as how well the backlighting in laptop displays is. Id also argue that you dont see much of a difference in 720-1080p in TVs in the 40 inch display range either.

It comes down to use at the end of the day. I can imagine a higher resolution being a great benefit in certain uses but for every day use? It's not that big a deal to me.


April 13, 2010, 8:12 pm

@Jones - the screen real estate argument is simple: I need more space in order to have multiple windows open. Given that - in journalism - you pretty much live with a word processor open that's a hefty chunk of the screen gone.

That said, I can't see a lot of difference between 720p and 1080p content on a laptop - or even most TVs for that matter. I think other elements such as black levels and motion handling are far more important than resolution. Same goes for cameras and the ridiculous megapixel race.


April 13, 2010, 8:36 pm

@Gordon- I definately see where you are coming from from the journalism perspective and I agree that more resolution would make a huge difference in a working environment.

I cheated a little when at work. We use 15" laptops at all times and I complained about the native resolution being too tiny with larger resolutions looking blurry and got myself a monitor which I use as a second display. I suppose that's why I dont have big desktop/resolution issues at work then!!!


April 13, 2010, 9:48 pm


Well speaking of examples, one of the best off the top of my head is where George Clooney is staring at a departures board in Up in the Air - there is a marked difference in the legibility of the destinations and times.


Sure lots more things matter besides resolution. If we're talking TVs then black levels (white levels too), consistent backlighting, motion blur handling and ***input lag*** {tap, tap, tap}...

Horace Coker

April 14, 2010, 1:26 am

I’m fairly sick and tired of hearing the term full HD for laptop and computer screen displays. Who the hell wants it? What I want is 8:5 aspect ratio (or 16:10 if you prefer) not 16:9! 8:5 aspect ratio is a much better option for the vast majority of folk who have no interest in watching Blu-ray movies on a laptop or desk top computer for that matter. (Great for a telly, I agree.) I blame the reviewers for pushing this format with the ghastly term ‘full HD’! For a computer screen, give me 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 any day of the week over so called ‘full HD’. For a start 3:2 photos don’t actually fill a 16:10 screen but they look a sight better than they do on a 16:9 screen! There are umpteen other reasons why 16:10 is a good compromise between the old 4:3 and 16:9.

And another thing nobody ever seems to mention – a friend of mine recently demonstrated his all singing all dancing new ‘full HD’ telly with a Blu-ray movie that was shot in cinemascope aspect ratio (21:9) and there was massive black portions at the top and bottom of the telly - what’s all that about? Lots of DVD and Blu-ray films seem to be in this mindless format! A complete waste of real estate on a 16:9 telly!

By the way a little bird told me that Samsung have realised their mistake and are in the process of bringing out Windows 7 64-bit models of the R580 and R780 later this month, so I’d hang fire and wait till you can actually use all that 4GB of ram!


April 14, 2010, 1:48 am

@Horace - probably best not tell you the Philips Cinema 21:9 (http://www.trustedreviews.c... is expected to lead to laptops adopting that aspect ratio too!

Tony Walker

April 14, 2010, 2:56 am

Must post about the keyboard.

Very mushy compared with Apple and Sony keyboards. Check it before yu buy if this is importand to you.

From your friendly neighbourhood keyboard fascist.


April 14, 2010, 3:49 am

horace have you been living in a cave? the black bars are there to match the original aspect the film was shot in,you can easily change the aspect ratio or zoom on the tv,of course the picture will now fill the screen but both ends are chopped off,its up to the individual presonally i prefer the black bars as i see the film how it was shot.

the problem isnt the dvd format but the complete lack of 2.35:1 screens.


April 14, 2010, 6:30 am

@Horace Coker

Well I don't think I'm alone in mulling over the frustrations of Apple's increasingly vibrant displays alongside its prolonged dismissal of Blu-Ray. I'd love to watch BDs on my MacBook. 16:10 is the MacBook's ratio of choice, and because I do watch and edit quite a lot of video, I find it a slight annoyance (though cropping to fit is usually minimal and just fine) but I agree with you on it being the best compromise for web browsing and productivity with the extra height.

I really thought it was gonna be the ratio of choice for the iPad, following the form factor of the Touch and iPhone (but where you vary the bezel width accordingly to make the iPad more square). Don't you think 4:3 on the iPad still seems to bit odd and old school? And notice the significant difference when they were demoing zooming on a 1.85:1 film like Up (just passable) and a 2:35:1 film like Star Trek (total mess)?


April 14, 2010, 8:15 am

@betelgeus - see my comment above (21:9 may not be a perfect 2.35:1, but it displays this content flawlessly


April 14, 2010, 2:40 pm


Yeah, I've never seen one of those 21:9 (approx.) sets in the flesh, so to speak, but I can completely understand that there is an inexplicable satisfaction with a picture filling an entire screen, and seeing that with a big 2.35:1 blockbuster movie would look fantastic.

If you are going to have black bars to maintain the aspect ratio, then I'd rather they were large like an anamorphic movie on a 16:9 set. It's those small ones like on a 16:10 set where the picture only doesn't quite fit, that irritate the eye. I guess it's a trade off - if the bars are minimal, then cropping won't damage the picture much; if the bars are large, they can look very cinematic but cropping is gonna chop people's heads in half (e.g.; Star Trek on an iPad).

Tony Walker

April 15, 2010, 12:35 am

2nd attempt at a comment on this item.

The keyboard is mushy when compared to an Apple or Sony keyboard of this type. Try it before you buy if this is important to you.

Tony Walker

April 15, 2010, 4:13 am

The keyboard is mushy when compared to an Apple or Sony keyboard of this type. Try it before you buy if this is important to you.

damo 1

September 15, 2010, 1:52 pm

I've been using this laptop for a few months now. I find the trackpad infuriating. It is an obvious attempt to copy the Macbook user experience but fails badly. The two fingered scroll is hit and miss and the source of much frustration. It is very easy to touch the pad with the lower part of your hand while typing causing the cursor to jump to another part of the screen. I've had MANY docs ruined by the cursor jumping back halfway through whatever I was composing.

Further I find the screen viewing angle rather narrow. I compare it to my macbook which was only slightly more expensive.

The battery is woefully inadequate especially for a screen of this size. Do not even consider taking this laptop on a plane. If you're not near a power supply you will be frustrated sooner rather than later.

Samsung's own interface touches are ok but a little annoying when for eg adjustment of volume or brightness obscures the screen. Unfortunately if you leave it on for more than a day or so it slows down and does not have the speed to even adjust volume quickly.

My scores:

Battery: 4/10

Design: 6/10. Ok if it's your thing.

Features: 5/10. It's no good giving something features if they don't work well or haven't been thoroughly tested (not for human use anyway)

Performance: 6/10. not good enough for W7 which is what it comes with. SLOW start up it slows down more if left on.

Value: 6/10. The purchase price is ok but that is not the same thing as value.


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