Inputs are another area where little has changed from the Q310, except for placement. Unfortunately, Samsung still doesn’t offer e-SATA, which is becoming ever more prevalent and essential if you want to swap large files between external drives. Digital audio connectivity in the form of S/PDIF out is another regrettable absentee, though the sorts of price driven users that might opt for the R560 are unlikely to miss such a feature.
Besides these absentees, the rest of the selection is decent. On the left is a single USB port, VGA and HDMI for video connectivity, 3.5mm headphone and microphone sockets and a 54mm ExpressCard slot. On the the front there’s only the memory card reader, while the right is quite sparse, housing a LightScribe capable DVD-writer and Kensington lock slot.
On the notebook’s back there are a further two USB sockets, the power socket, a Gigabit LAN port and the good old 56K modem. Wireless connectivity, meanwhile, is well taken care of by 802.11 Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR.
Getting to usability, the touchpad is rather good. It’s large enough, pleasantly textured and responsive, while the solid left and right buttons are also large and feature good feedback with a positive click. Likewise, the keyboard is pretty solid. It has large, well-shaped keys and an excellent layout, including Samsung’s signature secondary function key to the right that allows one-handed adjustments of brightness and volume. If anything the key travel is little shallow, but keys do have a firm and crisp feel to them and for a notebook at this price, it’s a pretty decent effort.
After using the Medion Akoya S5610 one might bemoan the lack of number pad as well, but the Medion is more or less exclusive in having this feature so it wouldn’t be fair to penalise Samsung.