Speaking of software, Samsung bundles a stack of demos with this machine, all time-limited and designed to encourage you to cough up subscriptions for McAfee anti-virus; Pheonix's laptop-tracking service, Failsafe; and AnyPC remote access.
Samsung bundles a stack of utilities
Samsung's own software centres covers the utilities: a network manager that allows you to set up multiple 'locations', each with their own network and printer settings; a battery life booster that ensure the battery is never charged beyond 80 per cent of current capacity, reducing its per-charge runtime but extending its overall longevity; and the ability to allow the USB port on the left side of the machine to feed power even when the notebook is asleep or shutdown.
I tried the USB power feature but without success - it would only power up my iPhone when the system was up and running - so I can't personally recommend it. I can't praise the battery life, either: it only managed fractionally over two hours in Reg Hardware's PCMark Vantage loop test. But this is a desktop replacement, after all - you don't buy a machine like this if you want the acme of mobile computing.
I'm not sure about the angular design, either, but that's an entirely subjective judgement. A fellow Vuture stuck his head round the door and declared it the "most ugly" laptop he'd seen. That's overly harsh - the R580's burgundy red colour scheme is cute, especially the way it fades to black at the edges, but there's a sense here of someone in Samsung's design team trying too hard.
Case in point: the glossy fingerprint magnet that is the wrist rest area and keyboard surround is a sea of wavy red lines the might be a topographical map of Hades.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here?
And why did Samsung have to make the touchpad so small. Actually, it's not that wee, but it does look a trifle lost. So you don't lose track of where it is, the pad has four blue pinprick LEDs, one at each corner, to tell you 'I'm here'. Sorry, Samsung, but it's unbelievably naff. It doesn't look cool, it doesn't look tough in a boy-racer kind of way, it just looks silly.
nice review, if obsolete already
I bought one of these on Monday. It's the JS04UK spec machine, which has 4 gig of Ram and a 320 Gig disk with Windows 7 64 bit. The top of the range JS05UK runs an i5 with 4 gig ram and 500 gig of disk, also W7 64. This review seems to be of the deprecated JS03UK model spec which samsung no longer ship. The 04 and 05 are the only listed current models for the uk via the importer. The 03 and 02 are still available though.
My observations based on a couple of evenings so far...
The machine seems robust, with a tough solid feel, quite unlike the plastic fantastic budget cases I see provided by work.
Windows Experience chucks out a 5, with the weakest value being the graphics, the rest are 5.5 and up, with the CPU over 6.
Setup took forever, because it insisted on backing up the system, which is a good idea, just not fast.
It also gave the option to partition during install, though with no real info on what to do. Good job I knew what it was fishing for, and I got the scheme I wanted.
Keyboard feels solid and responsive, but I keep hitting the wrong keys because the num pad forces me further to the left on the keyboard than I'm used to. I'll get used to it, I'm sure.
There's a lot of demos, but that's not unusual, and they were soon vanished.
Initially the screen seemed awful, however the setup screens are all low res, and when it finally booted up properly, the screen is sharp and clear.
I bought this as a development box that I can use on trains planes and automobiles, so the target usage is IDEs such as Eclipse, and it runs that smoothly doing builds with no hassle.
Second monitor seems seamless, and took a bit of setting up with resolutions, but nothing untoward.
My biggest complaint is that it's running windows 7, and this is my first encounter with it. I'm not impressed so far, and linux will be trialled shortly.
Good system, crappy keyboard on Canadian model.
I picked up an R780 in Canada about a month ago after my wife's Dell Inspiron 1420 suffered a sudden GPU failure and we needed an immediate replacement. With a GT330M GPU and an i5-430 CPU, it was reasonably specced for both everyday computing tasks and even some light gaming. On the plus side, it's a lot quieter than the Dell that it replaced, and the performance is notably better.
There are a number of downsides to it, however. Samsung really should have done something better with the large swath of plastic between the keyboard and the screen. The odd-looking speakers and the power button still leave a large chunk of real estate empty.
Furthermore, the keyboard of the Canadian model is not the same as the one pictured in this review. The Enter key is double-height but narrower, and the pipe/backslash key has been located to the right of the apostrophe key! If that wasn't annoying enough, they also made a duplicate of the *same* key on the left-hand side of the keyboard between the Z and the now half-width shift key. A poor design choice.
Things I'd like to know...
Can we get pictures of all around the machine? (Even the bottom) Now I know I'm asking a lot here, but can you guys flash up Ubuntu on laptops when you review them? I have no need of a Windows laptop, but Unix/Linux is actually useful (I know - weird).
I quite like laptops with "striking" designs - helps to identify the machine (especially on site where most people have black or grey).