Despite this the R530-JA03UK is capable of handling everything the average consumer might throw its way, but then so is the dual-core Pentium T4400 (also running at 2.2GHz) found in Samsung’s otherwise identical JA08UK, which is available for significantly around £50 less.
Alternatively, there’s also the more expensive Core i3-330M version of this laptop to consider, which still costs less than £500. Though users who need the extra processing power will likely want more than 3GB of RAM too, a Core i3 processor offers a decent speed bump for the money and thus makes the Core 2 option look singularly unattractive.
As ever with Intel’s integrated graphics, 3D gaming is pretty much out of the question – as evidenced by the usual unplayable frame rates in TrackMania Nations Forever. You can still offload HD video decoding to the graphics under Windows 7, however, so it’s not totally useless!
Moreover, while the dedicated graphics of the other machines listed here allow for superior graphics performance, Intel’s integrated graphics are far more frugal; as witnessed in our battery benchmarks.
Here the R530’s 4,000mAh (44Watt-hour) battery will comfortably see you through 143 minutes (2hrs, 23mins) of DVD-viewing or 229 minutes (3hrs, 49mins) of productivity with wireless radios turned off. Considering the screen is useable at lower brightness settings than 40 per cent, it’s conceivable to squeeze out four hours or more.
This is promising, but on the whole these results are nothing special compared to other, similarly-sized laptops with integrated graphics. As such it only does a little to alleviate the R530’s otherwise average performance. It also doesn’t compare all that well with other laptops out there, as there are plenty of competing machines that offer superior specs
With its R530 range, Samsung offers the bare minimum required in a decent laptop, which in turn allows it to reach some fairly aggressive price points while maintaining good ergonomics. Unfortunately for the Core 2 Duo-based JA03UK model under review, it’s not the best value option in the range and doesn’t compare favourably to some competing offerings either.