The Bottom Line
May 14 2011 - If you're looking for an affordable gaming notebook that has a large screen, the Samsung RF711-S02 laptop is a contender. With a big 17.3-inch display, this laptop is surprisingly lightweight. Equipped with a quad-core 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 processor, the Samsung RF711-S02 also features a spacious hard drive and 4GB of DDR3 memory. For casual gamers, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M graphics card with 1GB GDDR3 will let you play newly released titles with only minor setting downgrades.
- Quad-Core Processor
- Slow Hard Drive
- Amount of Memory
- Display Isn't Full HD
- Intel Core i7-2630QM Processor
- 4GB DDR3 Memory
- 17.3-Inch LED HD+ 1600 x 900 Screen
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M Optimus Graphics Card
- 750GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
- 1.3MP HD Web Camera
- Bluetooth, HDMI, Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0 Ports
- 6 Cell Battery
- 16.3" x 10.8" x 1.27~1.49" @ 6.39 Pounds
Review - Samsung RF711-S02 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop
Samsung is well known for high definition televisions and mobile phones, but the company also has a successful line of notebook computers. The RF711-S02 is a 17.3-inch laptop that can be used for gaming thanks to a dedicated graphics card. The large screen is perfect for those who rely on a mobile gaming platform, such as students. Unfortunately, the screen does not support full HD 1080p resolution. Instead, the max resolution is 1600 x 900, which is disappointing. However, if you're on a budget, the street price on this notebook falls under $1,050, which isn't bad for a 17.3-inch system.
Another nice feature is the processor. The Samsung RF711-S02 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-2630QM quad-core mobile processor. While it is the more economical chip in the 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 line, the 2630QM does a great job and offers fast performance. The base clock speed is 2.0GHz with Turbo Boost taking it up to 2.9GHz.
The Samsung RF711-S02 also includes 4GB of DDR3 memory. While this will suffice for most mainstream users, it is a bit on the low side for a high performance machine. The RF711-S02 does support up to 8GB via two memory slots, so you could swap the included memory for two 4GB modules.
Gameplay is also smooth considering the Samsung RF711-S02 is equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M video card with 1GB DDR3. When using the GT 540M, it's best to disable anti-aliasing, but other than that, the card performs well even in the latest games. What's nice is that this card features Optimus technology, which switches between high performance and energy saving graphics without having to manually change the settings. This helps improve battery life.
One downside to the RF711-S02 is hard drive performance. While the 750GB drive is spacious, it definitely won't win any races at 5400RPM. You'll find load times to be slower using this drive compared to a 7200RPM hard drive or a hybrid drive/SSD.
Another beneficial feature is the amount of ports on this notebook. The RF711-S02 has an HDMI output, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. One of the ports even lets you charge an electronic device, such as an MP3 player or smartphone, when the notebook is powered off. This is just a little extra convenience.
Overall, the Samsung RF711-S02 is a great notebook for the price, especially if you're just getting into gaming or trying to stay on budget. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M is an above average graphics card for a system under $1,100. There are a few disappointing features, such as a slow hard drive, minimal amount of memory, and the lower resolution screen. On the other hand, though, a 17.3-inch gaming laptop with a quad-core processor for $1,049 makes up for it.