There are several versions of this laptop. Our review sample was based around a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 processor with 4GB of RAM. Graphics are handled by the Intel GMA X4500HD module integrated in the Intel GM45 Express chipset.
Our review sample came with a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5,400rpm. Other options are available at 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 320GB. The optical drive supports LightScribe, so you can produce professional-looking media with logos and suchlike etched onto the disc's surface (so long as you purchase LightScribe-compatible media).
The R510's integrated wireless connectivity runs to 802.11a/b/g and draft-n Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth (2.0+EDR), but not mobile broadband (for which you'd need a USB dongle). For wired connections, there's Gigabit Ethernet and a V.92 modem.
Despite the R510's size, Samsung has only found room for three USB ports. Two sit on the back of the casing, where they are stacked vertically. They ports are quite close together, and it's possible that a connector for one USB device will obscure access to the other port.
The back of the chassis also houses the Ethernet and modem connectors. The third USB port is on the back of the left edge. Further forward, there's a VGA connector for an external monitor, an HDMI port, microphone and headphone jacks and an ExpressCard/54 slot. The right edge is free of connectors, housing only the optical drive. At the front, there's a flash card reader for SD-compatible media.
The R510's overall Windows Experience Index rating of 3.8 (out of 5.9) is quite impressive, although only one subsystem scored more than 5.0. This score (5.3) was given to the primary hard disk (disk data-transfer rate) subsystem. Processor (calculations per second) and RAM (memory operations per second) both scored 4.9, while graphics (desktop performance for Windows Aero) got 4.1, and gaming graphics (3D business and gaming graphics performance) brought up the rear with 3.8.
Samsung doesn't make a claim for the life of the six-cell li-ion battery. To test it, we fully charged the battery and chose the 'power saver' plan. Then we played DVDs continuously until the laptop expired, which turned out to be after 2 hours and 34 minutes. The stereo speakers deliver good volume and reasonable quality.
The Samsung R510 is a stylish yet affordable laptop that's suitable for both work and leisure use. With a 15.4-inch screen and decent performance, it's worth a gander.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet