With the R710, Samsung is targeting those who want a powerful entertainment laptop that doesn't break the bank. Although available for around just £770 online, the configuration reviewed here, the R710-AS09UK, not only boats a high-resolution screen, beefy processor and fast 3D graphics, but also a Blu-ray drive, so you can use it to watch movies in high definition.
Thanks to a red flash on the front lip that gradually fades into black as you move towards the middle of the machine, the R710 stands out from the crowd without looking overly gaudy.
The red flash also looks rather like a go-faster stripe. Perhaps that's what Samsung intended, because, under the bonnet, there are some seriously speedy components at work. The R710-AS09UK's muscular 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 processor and 3GB of RAM helped it to score an impressive 5,117 in PCMark05, which means that it handles complex multitasking without breaking a sweat.
It's no slouch when it comes to 3D graphics either, with the Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS chip helping it to post a respectable score of 2,543 in 3DMark06. It should handle the latest games without too much bother, as long as you back off the graphics detail settings a tad.
With a 17-inch widescreen display, the R710 is fairly large, so it's probably more suited to sitting in a living room or study than jet-setting around the world. But it does boast decent battery life. In the intensive Battery Eater Classic test, it managed to keep running for 2 hours before it ran out of puff -- good going for such a powerful and feature-rich laptop.
Connectivity is also impressive, as there are both HDMI and D-Sub connectors for hooking it up to an external display, four USB ports and a seven-in-one card reader, which is handy for transferring photos and other files from cameras and smart phones. Wireless-n Wi-Fi is included and Bluetooth is also available.
As with most desktop-replacement laptops, the R710 is quite large and, as it tips the scales at 3.1kg, you're going to think twice before deciding to lug it with you on a long journey. Also, despite all the extra real estate on offer under the keyboard, Samsung has kitted it out with a smaller than usual trackpad. The one found here is about two-thirds the size of those found on the latest similarly sized HP models, for example.
Despite boasting a Blu-ray drive for high-definition movie playback, the screen only has a 1,440x900-pixel resolution, so you can't watch movies in true 'Full HD' without linking the laptop up to a 1080p TV via its HDMI port. The screen also falls slightly short in the brightness stakes -- it's noticeably dimmer than the likes of the HP HDX X16.
Despite the display's lack of a 1080p resolution, the Samsung R710 is still a very impressive entertainment laptop. We love its fast performance, good 3D capabilities, Blu-ray drive and spacious keyboard. If you're looking for an entertainment powerhouse, it won't disappoint.
Edited by Charles Kloet