Samsung RC510 review

Nvidia's Optimus boosts this well-priced 15-incher

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Our Verdict

A powerful 15-inch laptop that's competitively priced and beautiful to look at

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Bright screen
  • Lovely chiclet keyboard
  • Core i3 power
  • Decent graphics performance
  • Classy design

Against

  • Average battery life
  • Low resolution screen
  • Heavyweight construction

The 15-inch Samsung RC510-S03UK laptop shows off exactly what Intel's Core i3 performance beast of a chip is capable of. It's also reasonably priced – you can currently find one for around £580.

It's pretty, too, with glossy fingerprint-magnet finish and a profile which makes it look much thinner than it actually is – a trick the MacBook Air has perfected and one the RC510 pulls off well. The overall look is certainly a step up from Samsung's previous laptop range, which only sidestepped the generic tag thanks to a couple of well-placed curves.

Equipped with the Nvidia Optimus GeForce 315M GPU chip and a full gigabyte of video memory, its specification certainly promises a lot. We can safely predict that the Core i3 is going to do enough to keep it competitive, but is this that rare beast: a mid-range 3D laptop powerhouse?

There are several versions of the RC510 out there, but we tested the RC510-S03UK, which features the Core i3 processor. You might find it listed with a Core i5 – it certainly seems to be a widespread specification – but that seems to be an erroneous listing. Check thoroughly before buying.

Intel's Core i3 has changed the way things work in the laptop market. The chip comes in at a low-end price but offers the sort of performance you might expect from a much more expensive processor. So much so that it could be stealing business from machines that feature i5 and i7 processors.

Who needs the best when something that should logically be rubbish is actually brilliant? We reckon Intel could be doing itself out of more lucrative business, but as tech enthusiasts first and foremost we can't complain about brilliance being placed within every man's reach.

The Samsung RC510 also features Nvidia's Optimus tech, which promises the ultimate compromise between battery life and performance by dialling up the RC510's graphical performance only when it's needed.

The mobile version of the GeForce 315 provides the pixel-shifting grunt, and with 6GB RAM on board (and the requisite 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium to handle it) it's clear that Samsung has attempted to make this the strongest machine it can for the price.

Aesthetically it's rather pleasing; the ports are well spread on the left and right of the case, with a pair of USB connectors available on each, and the speakers are tucked into a single grille at the rear of the keyboard.

The keyboard itself is 'Island style', which means it's a chiclet keyboard with big gaps between the keys. This is supposed to reduce typos, and we can say from our own clumsy perspective that it seems to work. It certainly looks good, if that's what you're worried about.

Samsung has also managed to include a number pad without completely screwing up the main keyboard layout. The right arrow key nestles next to the '0' and the number pad keys appear slightly narrower than those of the main keyboard, but these aren't huge concessions as far as such rearrangements go.

There's a gigantic multi-touch trackpad in the middle of the main keyboard (so slightly off-centre) with distinct buttons and a texture mercifully more matte than the glossy lacquer of the wrist-rest. There's nothing worse than a glossy track pad, after all.

Rounding out the package there's a 15.6-inch LED-driven widescreen panel, which Samsung claims is SuperBright. We can attest that, when turned up to full brightness, it's a little brutal on the retinas. You'll probably keep it around mid-way if you value your eyesight.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity640 GB
TouchscreenNo
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA, Intel
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce 315M, HD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated, Shared
Maximum Battery Run Time4 Hour
Finger Print ReaderNo
eSATANo
FireWire/i.LINKNo
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DVINo
eSATA/USB ComboNo
DisplayPortNo
WimaxNo
Product FamilyRC
Operating System Architecture64-bit
ThunderboltNo
Processor Modeli3-380M
ColourBlack, Silver
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSamsung
Processor Speed2.53 GHz
Processor TypeCore i3
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.56 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologySuperBright
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Height35.1 mm
Width381.7 mm
Depth256.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesRC
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelRC510
Product NameRC510 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNP-RC510-S03UK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Imagine a world that is brighter, sharper and filled with naturally vibrant color - and that's what you get with the Samsung RC510 notebook. Its 15.6" HD display boasts an exceptional 300nit brightness, so images just burst into life. And that even includes the videoclips that you can record and play using the integrated 1.3M (HD) webcam! It delivers incredibly clear and natural images that span right across the widescreen, so you can see even more of what going on. You can also enjoy effortless multi-tasking and great family entertainment with a choice of the latest Intel Core i3 Processor, as well as genuine Windows 7 Home and a NVIDIA Optimus graphics card, which dynamically allocate resources where they're needed most. And with its stylish matt metallic casing and Island keyboard the RC510 guaranteed to look good anywhere.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • RC510 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year