Samsung R20 laptop review

4.5 out of 5
£550

For

Cheap, great weight

Against

Average battery, poor graphics

When it comes to notebooks, Samsung may be overshadowed by some of the larger far-east manufacturers but we’ve been impressed with almost all the machines they’ve released of late.

The Samsung R20 is another great machine that manages to mix portability with a price that can’t really be ignored.

At £550 (inc. VAT), it offers fantastic value for money, as it comes with the latest specification comprising an Intel Core 2 Duo T2250, which runs at 1.73GHz.

This chip may not be the fastest in the range but it’s a dual-core chip that packs plenty of power. It’s paired with 1024MB of memory, which really helps things tick over nicely. Overall, we found that it handled everything we threw at it with a certain degree of style. You can seriously multi-task on the notebook and not see any significant slow down.

The design is neat too. It weighs in at 2.3kg, so is more than portable enough for carrying around on a daily basis. It keeps this weight down thanks to the use of a 14.1-inch screen. It comes with s Super-TFT finish, so images look great and while this size of screen has fallen out of favour of late, for mobile users it means you get plenty of screen for little weight.

Battery life isn’t as good, as we only managed to get 2 hours from the system when running a mixture of movies and word processing, so you may need to invest in a second battery.

In keeping with budget machines, graphics are handled by an integrated chip, but instead of the usual Intel offering, you’ll find an ATi’s Radeon Xpress 1250, which gave the Samsung the most impressive 3D performance we’ve seen so far from an integrated solution.

One advantage of the screen size is that you get a decent sized keyboard. The keys are well spaced on the R20 and we found them firmly mounted, which isn’t always the case with cheaper notebooks. Overall, we were more than impressed with how comfortable it was to use.

Connectivity comes in the form of standard Ethernet and 802.11g wireless LAN, so you won’t have any trouble connecting to networks.

The addition of a DVD rewriter means you can create discs and backup the hard drive, but with 160GB of space, you won’t fill this up too quick, we expect.

There’s also a 6-in-1-card reader built-in the front of the machine, making it easy to transfer files from your digital camera.

Verdict

The Samsung R20 is a great example of what can be achieved in a notebook when power and portability are required.

It’s highly portable and while the battery life isn’t the best we’ve seen, it’s more than made up for by the budget price.

For this money, this is an impressive notebook to use.