Samsung's R series features no-nonsense laptops that aim to combine comfort with all-round usability. The R720 manages to do just that and, while it isn't the most powerful machine, those after a desktop replacement system at a good price will find plenty to like.
The widescreen 17.3-inch panel is crisp and detailed, thanks to the 1600 x 900-pixel resolution and this makes it suitable for everything from word processing to watching DVDs. Brightness is sufficient, but the shiny Super-TFT screen coating makes irritating reflections an issue.
Build quality is generally good but, due to its large size, many of the matt-black panels bend under pressure. Durability is lacking as a result. For home use this won't be an issue, however. The shiny lid is a magnet for fingerprints, however.
The keyboard is large and firm, providing an excellent typing experience. The dedicated numeric keypad is also handy for those who regularly input data. The whole keyboard is splash-proof and also coated in a silver ion substance which helps prevent germs from breeding.
Although not exceptionally fast, the Intel Pentium processor and 4096MB of memory provide decent performance, meaning multi-tasking office tools and running the occasional resource-intensive multimedia program won't be a problem.
The ATi graphics card is coupled with 512MB of dedicated video memory and provides sufficient power for entry-level games, as well as relatively intensive photo or video editing applications.
The 320GB hard drive will store significant amounts of data, which you can also back up using the built-in DVD rewriter.
Portability isn't the Samsung's strongest point, with the 167-minute battery life falling well behind the Acer's here. It's also a large machine to carry around, although the 3kg weight is surprisingly light.
A dedicated subwoofer is built into the chassis to enhance your audio experience, but we noticed little difference in sound quality from the other laptops here.
802.11g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are included, giving you good networking options. Four USB ports are in place, one of which allows you to charge peripherals – such as an MP3 player – even when the machine is switched off.
An eSATA port provides rapid data transfer rates to external devices, and HDMI and VGA ports round off the specification.
While not as powerful as the Acer Aspire 5739G-654G32MN or Mesh Edge15 TT, the Samsung R720 is a solid desktop replacement system that will carry out most of the tasks asked of it without issue. It's also very comfortable, usable and well priced.
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