Though it lacks Turbo Boost for dynamically increasing its clock speed according to load, the P580’s 2.13GHz Core i3 is fast enough for most tasks, and features Hyper-Threading for virtual quad-core support. As you can see in the graphs, it holds up very well against the Samsung R590‘s 2.4GHz Core i5.
Gaming is certainly possible, with older and less demanding titles running smoothly at the screen’s native resolution with all details turned up. Even advanced games like Stalker: Call of Pripyat can be run at medium detail in DX10, with a playable 34 frames per second average in our standard run-through. The R590’s faster processor makes absolutely no difference here: both Samsung laptops sport identical graphics cards and achieve identical results.
Best of all, under all but the heaviest loads the P580 is virtually inaudible and never gets unpleasantly hot to the touch.
Unfortunately, our largely positive impressions so far are somewhat let down by this laptop’s battery life. Again results are identical to the R590, and though the P580 uses the same capacity 48Wh, 4,400mAh battery, we were hoping the weaker CPU would give us slightly more longevity – besides, short battery life is more forgivable on a consumer-oriented laptop. Doubtless thanks in part to its integrated Intel graphics, the 17.3in HP ProBook 5320m also shows it up rather badly. Still, if you don’t generally spend more than three hours away from a power outlet, the P580 will serve you well.
Samsung doesn’t charge as much of a premium as most manufacturers do for their business machines, and at £660 including VAT the P580-JS00UK is good value. Of course, its P-range does lack extras like a metal finish, fingerprint scanner and the extensive software applications the likes of HP and Dell supply, though you do get a one-year international warranty.
However, the main question is whether, as a business or ‘professional’ user, you’ll need this machine’s powerful 3D graphics, which are responsible for quite a chunk of its price. Admittedly these will also provide genuine speed enhancements for graphics-accelerated applications such as Photoshop, but going the Intel integrated route, you can get a Dell Vostro with a faster Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 7,200rpm hard drive for less (albeit lacking the included Windows XP OS).
Samsung’s P580 offers a lot for its price, but it’s not necessarily what business users will want. However, if you fancy some 3D gaming or frequently use graphics-accelerated applications, and can live with its short battery life, this versatile and durable laptop is a good candidate.