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Samsung R540-JA06 15.6-inch Budget Laptop PC

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Samsung R540-JA06 15.6-inch Budget Laptop PC

Samsung R540

©Samsung

The Bottom Line

Apr 5 2011 - Samsung's R540 offers a similar level of performance for a budget classed 15-inch laptop that comes with a fairly standard set of features. What sets the Samsung apart from the competition has to do more with less tangible items such as running cooling than most laptops and featuring less bloatware. Of course, it does have its downsides as well including a lower capacity hard drive and a smaller trackpad. What may be the decided factor of whether to get the Samsung over a different brand is the cost. Street pricing can be found as little as $500 which can make this an outstanding value.

Pros

  • Runs Cooler Than Most Laptops
  • Limited Amount Of Trialware Software

Cons

  • Hard Drive Is A Bit Smaller Than Competition
  • Smaller Trackpad The Is Offset From Keyboard

Description

  • Intel Core i3-380M Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
  • 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
  • Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
  • 14.9" x 10" x 1.5" @ 5.3 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter

Guide Review - Samsung R540-JA06 15.6-inch Budget Laptop PC

Apr 5 2011 - Powering the Samsung R540-JA06 is the Intel Core i3-380M dual core mobile processor. This is a fairly typical version of the processor that is found in the budget class of laptops. It provides a good amount of performance and can tackle just about any type of task thanks to the 4GB of DDR3 memory. It does get bogged down in more intensive tasks such as desktop video compared to slightly more expensive Core i5 based laptops. One nice aspect of the R540 though has to do with heat. Even under heavy loads, the R540 ran much cooler than other laptops.

Unlike many other budget laptops that have moved towards larger 500GB hard drives, Samsung equips the R540-JA06 with a smaller capacity 320GB hard drive. This provides it with roughly one third less storage space for applications, data and media files. The drive also spins at the 5400rpm rate which results in slightly less performance because of its lower density. A dual layer DVD burner handles all playback and recording of CD or DVD media. Also includes is a 3-in-1 card reader than handles the most popular forms of flash media cards.

The 15.6-inch display on the Samsung R540 comes with a rather typical 1366x768 resolution and glossy coating that makes it difficult to view in certain conditions. The brightness and color of the screen seemed to be a bit better what can be found in this price range but it isn't something that many may notice off hand. The screen does have restricted viewing angles just like many of the screens in this same price range. The graphics are handled by the standard Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics that is just fine for web or even high definition video playback. It does not have sufficient 3D performance for handling even casual PC gaming.

Samsung equips the R540-JA06 with a fairly standard six cell battery pack with a 4400mA rated capacity. In DVD playback tests, this yielded just under two and a half hours of running time before it went into standby mode. This is pretty much average for this type of system and should yield roughly three to three and a half hours of more typical usage.

While Samsung has used isolated keyboard layouts for some of their laptops, the R540 uses a mix of a traditional keyboard and a isolated one. The keys are flat but don't have the spacing of a isolated or chiclet design. It works well enough and they did include a full sized right shift key unlike many other 15-inch laptop layouts. The trackpad on the other had has some issues. First it is smaller than what you typically find on a laptop of this size. Samsung also decided to line this trackpad up with the center of the laptop rather than the center of the space bar. This can cause issues with the right palm rest area when typing. At least they use dedicated trackpad buttons rather than the integrated or single rocker bar design.

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