Inside, however, the R410 isn’t anything like as interesting. Directing proceedings is an Intel Core 2 Duo T5550, with two cores running at 1.83GHz with a 667MHz front side bus and 2MB L2 Cache. This is supported by 2GB of RAM and somewhat unusually is all based on the ATI Radeon RS 6000ME chipset, rather than one of Intel’s. This does mean, however, that you benefit from the slightly superior ATI Xpress 1250M integrated graphics.
Another more useful feature is the 320GB 5400rpm hard drive. This is very generous for a notebook costing less than £500 and allows for more photos, music, and video than the majority of people will need. As ever there’s a DVD Re-Writer as well, so there’s always scope to move data onto disc instead.
Everything else, though, is fairly standard. You get 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet for network connectivity, but no Bluetooth. There’s a 1.3 Megapixel camera for video chat, but physical connectivity is fairly limited. A single D-SUB (VGA) port is the only video output, no HDMI here, with 3 USB ports, a 34mm ExpressCard slot, headphone and microphone jacks and a 3-in-1 card reader rounding off the features. Other absentees are a hardware wireless switch and media playback keys, features that are increasingly standard in this price range.
As with most Samsung notebooks, the screen is a good one. It has a glossy finish and a 1,280 x 800 native resolution, is bright, sharp and as noted previously the 14.1in size is nice one for general viewing. An even backlight helps film viewing and though it’s not the most colour accurate display around, for the price one can hardly complain.
It’s something that can’t be said of the speakers. One never expects miracles on notebooks, particular on mid-sized ones such as this, but those found on the R410 are particularly disappointing. They lack any real bass, aren’t especially loud, and will quickly necessitate a decent pair of headphones or desktop speakers.
Happily, Samsung does gain some brownie points for not overloading its machines with useless software. You’ll find all the basics, such as DVD playback and authoring software and a trial version of McAfee Virus Scan, while Samsung’s own software isn’t overbearing and is generally useful.
One final useful feature comes on the battery pack, which has a battery meter. This is an invaluable little tool, enabling you to check your batteries charge without powering up the system.