As ever the speakers are rarely a strong point of any laptop (with Toshiba’s Satellite A300-177 being a notable exception) and the R560 doesn’t break the trend. Audio sounds tinny and distorts easily, lacking both volume and depth even at maximum volume. Thus a set of headphones or something like the excellent Edifier M300 Plus 2.1 speaker set are worth investing in.
Battery results, on the other hand, were fairly encouraging, with the R560 stopping just a minute short of three and a quarter hours in our Productivity benchmark. As demonstrated in the Reader test, with frugal use you can easily eek three and a half hours out of the machine and a DVD at maximum brightness lasted a decent two hours and ten minutes.
But is the Samsung R560 worth your precious cash? There is no question that it’s excellent value for the hardware you’re getting, even if certain components in that hardware are not exactly budget-friendly. The 4GB of DDR3 RAM, for example, is not only more than the OS will use, but DDR3 only offers a slight increase over DDR2 in performance for a large increase in cost.
So, if f you’re into portable gaming but can’t afford better graphics, then the R560 is definitely worth considering. If on the other hand you’re after a basic 15.4in notebook for everyday use and the occasional film, then the Samsung R510 is a far better option since it is now readily available for £390 online.
Its most significant competitor, however, is Medion’s Akoya S5610. While the R510 offers far better battery life, slightly more speed, superior graphics and, from the right angle, a better screen, the Medion gives you more connectivity and a full number pad for £155 less. In the end it’s a tough call to make, though if you intend to do any gaming or use GPU-accelerated applications, the Samsung’s 9600M GS alone is worth the premium.
Samsung’s R560 is let down somewhat by its screen’s poor viewing angles, but remains a very powerful notebook which is good value for what you get if you need its power.
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