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Samsung R590 review: Samsung R590

The Samsung R590 is a decent performer in the mid-level space. We'd have preferred a more attractive screen, a less cheap-looking exterior and Optimus-enabled technology, but ultimately it does well for the price.

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Craig Simms
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Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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Samsung's R590 arrived at our labs in a deep sea blue, with faint ripples embedded in the design. It's highly glossy, loves fingerprints, and has four blue LEDs at each edge of the trackpad to show when you've touched it, in addition to its textured surface.

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7.8

Samsung R590

The Good

Decent expandability and good performance.

The Bad

The usual weedy speakersCheap feeling constructionSeemingly attracts more fingerprints than usualNo Optimus technology.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung R590 is a decent performer in the mid-level space. We'd have preferred a more attractive screen, a less cheap-looking exterior and Optimus-enabled technology, but ultimately it does well for the price.

The keyboard is island style and there's a numpad included, as befits its 15.6-inch size. The 1366x768 LED backlit screen seems oddly distant and deeply set, and unlike Samsung's specs sheet online, which claims it's non-gloss, it is most definitely glossy.

The speakers and power button both have silver trims, but these look cheap compared to the rest of the laptop, and make it appear more budget than it is. The sound is, incidentally, run of the mill and bassless — you'll need dedicated speakers or headphones to get the most out of it. It is otherwise suited to system sounds alone.

Lining the outside are a VGA and HDMI out, a generous four USB ports (one of which has an integrated eSATA port), headphone and microphone jacks, ExpressCard 34 slot, SD card reader, gigabit Ethernet port and a DVD+-RW drive.

Internally, it sports an Intel Core i5 M450 at 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 640GB hard drive and runs off Nvidia's GeForce GT 330M graphics, meaning the laptop doesn't have access to Optimus technology. Wireless is offered in both Bluetooth and 802.11n forms, although the latter only supports 2.4GHz.

Samsung has chosen Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit for the operating system, and has also included CyberLink's DVD Suite and YouCam, a string of game demos, McAfee Security Center, Norton Online Backup, Skype and Windows Live Essentials.

Performance

The R590 was an impressive performer, clocking 7442 in 3DMark06 and 7160 in PCMark05, making it capable of some modern games at modest settings, and any productivity or office work you should choose to throw at it.

Battery life was reasonable at one hour and 41 minutes, which was tested by turning all power-saving features off, setting screen brightness and volume to maximum and playing back an XviD file at full screen. This is a particularly harsh test, and casual use will see much greater battery life.

The Samsung R590 is a decent performer in the mid-level space. We'd have preferred a more attractive screen, a less cheap-looking exterior and Optimus-enabled technology, but ultimately it does well for the price.