The Bottom Line
- Good General Performance
- Relatively Light For 17-inch Laptop
- USB 3.0 Ports
- Older More Modest Performing 3D Graphics
- Display Lacks 1080p HD Video Support
- Annoying Hard Drive Partitioning
- Intel Core i7-720QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 2.0, Two USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.9" x 1.5" @ 6.4 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, PowerDVD,
Guide Review - Samsung RF710-S02 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jan 12 2011 - Samsung's RF710-S02 marks the company's first entry into the larger 17-inch laptop market and it does so with a fair amount of performance thanks to the Intel Core i7-720QM quad core processor. This helps the system perform extremely well when multitasking or doing intensive tasks such as desktop video editing. The downside is that this will fall behind some dual-core processors in non-threaded applications. The 4GB of DDR3 memory help it run smoothly under most conditions.
Storage features for the Samsung RF720-S02 are quite good. It comes with a larger capacity 640GB drive that provides 30 percent more than the average laptop. Samsung is one of the companies that partitions the drive into system and data areas that can be somewhat annoying requiring the user either repartition the drive themselves or adjust the Windows settings to use it properly. The drive does spin at the slower 5400rpm rate that does impact performance somewhat. They do include a Blu-ray compatible drive for playing back high definition movies. It can also playback or record to CD and DVD media.
With the Blu-ray functions, it is somewhat disappointing the Samsung decided to use a 17.3-inch panel with a native resolution of 1600x900 that falls short of support full 1080p video. The panel itself offers a good deal of color and brightness. The graphics are powered by an older Direct X 10 NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor. This is fine for dealing with HD video playback but its limited performance means that it is less suited for those that also want to game on the system. It will restrict gaming to more casual games or lower resolutions and detail settings.
One surprising addition to Samsung's RF710-S02 is the new super speed USB 3.0 ports. This is not officially supported by Intel's chipset and as a result has not made it into many laptops. This is extremely useful for future proofing the laptop as it does not have an ExpressCard slot like many other consumer class laptops. It is also useful for high speed external storage since there is no eSATA port.
The keyboard on the RF710-S02 uses the isolated keyboard design that is becoming standard for most laptops. It is comfortable and accurate but the half sized function keys at the top of the keyboard can be problematic at times. It does feature a full sized numeric keypad as well. The trackpad is a nice large size and features two distinct buttons unlike the button bar found on many new laptops.
In order to keep the weight below six and half pounds, Samsung decided to use a relatively small six cell battery pack. With all the high performance features on the system, this does mean a reduced running time but this is becoming more common in this laptop size. In DVD playback tests, the laptop was able to run for one and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. Blu-ray playback will reduce this time due to its more intensive demands. More typical usage should yield around two and a half hours.