Like its connectivity, the specifications on the RV720 are average, meaning they’ll more than suffice for the average user and the laptop’s intended market, but power users may wish to look elsewhere. Helming the crew of innards is one of Intel’s capable ‘Sandy Bridge’ dual-core Core i3 processors, specifically the i3-2310M, which runs at 2.1GHz by default. Neither turbo-clocking nor virtual cores are available, so what you see is what you get, and you can’t upgrade to a Core i5 or i7 model either.
The CPU is backed by 4GB of RAM, and a surprisingly generous 750GB hard drive – great for storing lots of content, and far more than we would expect for the money. As Samsung manufactures its own hard drives, it can afford to put in a large capacity like this without increasing costs too much.
Graphics are the weakest link, as they’re of the Intel integrated HD3000 variety. Consequently, only casual gamers need apply, as evidenced by a 41fps average in TrackMania – which is a very undemanding game to begin with - at Medium detail and 720p, or an unplayable 16.4fps average in Stalker at the same settings (to give a more realistic indication). However, everyday tasks like general productivity and watching HD video won’t bother this chip in the slightest, and it’s even up to a bit of video encoding.
With the RV720’s size you won’t necessarily want to take it out and about too frequently, but if you did, its 4400mAh/48Wh removable battery powered it for four hours and 30 minutes in our light battery test (with screen brightness at 40 percent and wireless radios turned off), which is still good for a desktop replacement.
Even taking its relatively minor negatives (poor audio and graphics, and average screen) into account, value is where the RV720 really shines. The choice of current-gen Core i3, brand new 17in laptops available for around £400 can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand (note that we’re not referring to older Pentium or Athlon-based machines, nor even the first-generation Core i3 models). Throw in the attractive, durable design and the whopping 750GB hard drive, and this Samsung really represents a bargain.
If you’re willing to spend £100 more there are plenty of alternatives with slightly better specs, but even then this configuration of the RV720 is still an attractive buy thanks to its build and usability. This considered, it’s one of the best value desktop replacement laptops we’ve looked at in a long time, currently unmatched by anything that even value brands like Acer and Dell have to offer.
Though its connectivity and specifications are nothing to get excited about, its solid build, decent battery life, excellent design and great usability - along with a totally bargain price - ensure that this Samsung is one of the best 17.3in laptops going if you’re on a budget. In fact, it has very few rivals for around £400, meaning it comes thoroughly recommended.