Latest in Samsung's R-series of laptops is the NP-R470, a very well-balanced mainstream notebook contender from Samsung.
Build and Design
The R470 looks very similar to the entry-level Samsung R420 we reviewed earlier. It has a glossy black screen lid, bezel, and palmrest. The Samsung R470's all-black looks are nice and sober, but the glossy shell is a fingerprint magnet. Despite made of plastic, our review unit was decently built, with the screen firmly supported on dual-hinges. Everything felt tough and strong in its 2.3-kg frame—a decent weight for a 14-inch notebook. The 14-inch LED-backlit screen was evenly lit, one of the brightest we've come across, visibly brighter in comparison to the Dell Studio 15 and Lenovo Ideapad Y450. It had better viewing angles as well, but picture quality was around the same. Its keyboard has an anti-bacterial coating and is spill-resistant, according to Samsung, which is good to know—although we didn't test those claims. The six-cell battery pack has a convenient indicator scale that illuminates when pressed and accurately displays remaining battery charge.
The six-cell battery pack has a convenient indicator scale that illuminates when pressed and accurately displays remaining battery charge.
The Samsung R470 has very good building blocks at the hardware level. An Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2-GHz processor, 3GB of DDR2 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive is a decent combination on any mainstream notebook these days. It comes with Nvidia GeForce G210M dedicated graphics and 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. A DVD writer, three USB ports, VGA-out, multicard reader and an ExpressCard slot are all standard, but the R470 also comes with Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth connectivity, and an HDMI port. Disappointingly, the Samsung R470 doesn't bundle in Wi-Fi Draft-N support, but it has a very useful eSATA-powered USB port combo. It not only enables faster data transfer between an external drive but also allows you to charge USB-powered devices through it even when the laptop is in sleep mode or switched off, and it worked spotlessly.
The Samsung R470's keyboard has well laid out, slightly raised and isolated keys—kind of a cross between the Dell Studio 15 and Acer Aspire 5542G. The keys are soft to touch and the result is a fast-n-furious, uninterrupted typing experience with minimal effort. The touchpad has an illuminated blue strip around it for effect. It isn't exactly smooth and has barely a hint of textured finish—enough for a great touchpad experience, though.
The Samsung R470 scored over 90 in WorldBench 6. In fact, in terms of pure performance, the Samsung R470 was second only to the Dell Studio 15 amongst recently reviewed laptops - better than the Acers and the Gateways. Multitasking wasn't an issue, and we especially liked watching high-def content (both 720p and 1080p played flawlessly) on its LED-backlit screen. Onboard audio from its twin speakers gave a better than average audio experience. All throughout our testing, the notebook didn't unduly overheat and ran fairly quiet. Its Nvidia GPU is capable of handling casual gaming. Its six-cell battery lasted just over 1 hour 30 mins on BatteryEater's benchmark—better than the Dell Studio 15, Acer Aspire 5738G, and Gateway ID58. Expect 3 hours from a single charge on a conservative battery setting.
Out of our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops, buy the Samsung R470 for its very good LED-backlit screen, good onboard sound, a nice responsive keyboard, and dedicated graphics. And it offers very good value for money at its asking price of Rs. 45,000.