The Samsung RF510 is a high-performance 15.6-inch laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit version). This model is available with both Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, our review model - the RF510-S02 - came equipped with a 1.6GHz Core i7 processor.
Features and Specs:
- Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6GHz processor with Turbo Boost
- Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics engine; 1GB dedicated graphics memory
- 15.6-inch HD LED backlit display, 1366x768
- 4GB Memory; 640GB 5400RPM HDD; Multi-layer DVD burner; 802.11n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 3.0; Gigabit Ethernet
- Built-in camera; SD card reader
- USB 2.0, 3.0; HDMI, VGA outputs; Microphone in, headphone out.
- Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Attractive design: The shiny exterior finish, chrome-colored accents and black chicklet-style keyboard makes this laptop turn heads. On the inside, you will find aluminum inlays surrounding the black keys and a unique display bezel made of textured plastic. A chrome power button sits to the right of the volume controls and is accented with a blue LED ring.
Large hard drive: The RF510 comes equipped with a 640GB hard drive, one of the largest available for laptop computers. Spinning at 5400 RPM, it isn’t the fastest disk on the block, but its large capacity more than makes up for it.
Fast processor: Intel’s Core i7 processor is fast. Running at 1.6GHz it felt like a processor twice its speed. Working with large photo and video files is an enjoyable experience with this much horsepower. Rendering previews in Adobe Lightroom was a trivial task, and it completed even the most complicated photo edits with ease. On the Windows performance scale (1.0 to 7.9) this machine clocks in a 5.9, which is good even for a desktop machine.
Keyboard: The “chicklet style” keyboard was a delight to type on. It is also a full-size keyboard, which includes a traditional numeric pad – this is uncommon for a 15-inch class notebook. If you’ve used a MacBook made after 2008, you will have a good understanding of what this style keyboard feels like.
Display: At a resolution of 1366x768 the 15.6-inch display often felt cramped. 1440x900 would have been a more comfortable resolution for this size display. Compared to other laptop screens, the color temperature on this monitor is very “cool” - images and videos were displayed with a blue tint.
Battery life: During most of our testing, battery life never passed 2 hours - and in some cases the machine needed to be plugged in after only an hour and a half. Adjusting the battery profile from the factory default, “Balanced,” to a power saving mode had little effect on overall run times. Plan on packing the AC adapter.
Trackpad: The trackpad earned points for recognizing multi-touch gestures, i.e. two finger scrolling, swiping, etc. but suffered from serious issues with accidental input. Even with the “PalmTracking” set to maximum, it would often move the cursor around during typing.
Size: The overall dimensions of the laptop are fairly typical for a 15-inch machine (14.9” W x 10” D). However, it weighs in at 5.7 pounds and when closed it’s nearly 1.5-inches thick. Compared to a ThinkPad T410 (14.1 inches) and MacBook Pro (15 inches), the RF510 felt uncomfortably bulky when it was being toted around.
The RF510 is a powerful laptop in an attractive housing. With USB 2.0, 3.0 and HDMI inputs/outputs, there is plenty of room to grow. The built in SD card reader will come in handy for the photographers out there and the full-size keyboard is an added bonus for a notebook of this size. However, the bulkiness and poor battery life make the RF510 a less than ideal choice for a mobile workstation. If you are planning on pairing this machine with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, the fast processor and sub-$1000 price tag should outweigh some of the cons. However, those looking for a portable Windows 7 laptop may want to consider a lighter weight alternative.
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