The Samsung R530 laptop is affordable. As such, it’s no metal-clad Apple MacBook Pro beater, but then again it doesn’t try to be. It’s well designed, well made and has a price tag of around £500. If you’re in the market for such a machine you should stick the Samsung R530 on your shopping list. Read on to find out why in our Samsung R530 laptop review.
Read the rest of our Samsung R530 review
Samsung R530 review: Design and build
Samsung R530 review: Budget rivals
The Samsung R530 is a 15.6-inch laptop. The screen features a 16:9 aspect ratio, so is great for viewing a couple of websites simultaneously, or for watching movies. The resolution is a pretty unspectacular 1366 x 768 pixels, but is in keeping with other laptops at this price range. No better, no worse.
Samsung has fitted the Samsung R530 with LED backlighting to help preserve power, leading to a battery life of around three and a half hours. Colour reproduction is reasonable, with the glossy Super-TFT coating helping to offer vivid hues, although darker colours aren’t as deep as those found on more expensive laptops. The glossy finish is also slightly intrusive when out and about, where you’re more likely to see a reflection of your face than the website you’re trying to view.
The Samsung R530 manages to raise its game when it comes to quality and usability, however. The design is surprisingly nice for such a budget choice, with an attractive brushed finish to the palm rests, and subtle coloured inserts that complement the design.
The lid on our Samsung R530 review sample was finished in a deep red, with a pattern helping to distinguish it from other laptops. Another neat design point is the backlit touchpad, with blue lighting around the edges. Although we rather like it, we’re also thankful that it turns off after a couple of seconds, so it doesn’t get in the way when watching films.
The most impressive feature on the Samsung R530 is its keyboard. It’s a full board, including a dedicated numeric keypad, so it’s easy to work for entire days at a time with no discomfort, with the Samsung easily matching laptops costing twice as much.
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Samsung has cut costs through the use of a budget Intel Pentium chip inside the Samsung R530, mind. Although Pentium processors have always lagged behind Intel’s high-end offerings in terms of performance, the latest chips are surprisingly fast. Our review sample – the Samsung R530-JA02UK, to be exact – featured the Intel Pentium T4400 chip, running at 2.2GHz. Along with 4GB of memory, it offers more than enough power for daily tasks.
There’s a trio of USB ports spread between the right and left side of the Samsung R530. However, two of them are located right next to each other, so you’ll struggle to fit more than two USB peripherals simultaneously.
Along with a VGA port for hooking up a monitor or projector, there’s also an HDMI port on the Samsung R530. It’s easy to plug in a high-definition TV, then, outputting HD content from your hard drive. If you do want to store movies, you’ll be happy to find a 500GB hard drive in place – again matching laptops that cost considerably more.
The Samsung R530 is a respectable all rounder of a laptop. It’s not particularly inspiring, and some of the plastics used on the bottom feel a little cheap to the touch, but there are few other faults we can find. Performance is also impressive at this price range.