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Not everyone who has a notebook is interested in taking the computer with them on the road. Instead, they just want the flexibility of using the laptop in any room in the home, operating as a desktop replacement more than anything else. Samsung’s Core i5 powered R780 seems geared towards that crowd.¬†While far from being a high-end gaming rig for hardcore gamers, this 17.3-inch notebook PC is no slouch in the specs department either. And it has an attractive sub $1000 price point to boot.

Features and Specifications

The Samsung R780 is the 17-inch variant in the series that also includes the smaller 14-inch R480 and 15-inch R580, boasting slightly elevated specs in a larger package.

The configuration as tested in this review includes an Intel Core i5-430M processor with two cores running at 2.26Ghz and a 3MB shared cache. Inside, we find 4GB of DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT330M (1GB) graphics, 500GB hard drive, Super Multi Dual Layer optical disc drive, HD audio, 2W x 2 stereo speakers, and 1.3 megapixel webcam.

The 17.3-inch LED HD+ display boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio with a maximum resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. Connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, VGA-out, HDMI-out, and a multi-card reader. Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit rounds off the specifications but it’s puzzling that the 64 bit variant isn’t installed due to the system’s 4GB of DDR3 RAM onboard. This means you’ll only be able to use 3.5GB of it.

The Samsung R780 is supposed to retail for under $1000 US but we’ve had a hard time locating a street price for it even with our shopping page. It’s little brother, the P580 seems a little easier to find but overall availability is a little scarce.

What’s in the Box?

Not surprisingly, there isn’t all that much to find when you crack open the box to the Samsung R780 notebook PC. In addition to the computer itself, you get a six-cell battery, power supply brick, and power cable, as well as a cleaning cloth and some basic documentation. Our unit did not come with a restore disk or driver disc which points to a secret partition on the drive that gives us that fail safe restore in case we completely pooch our system.

Still, the added cost of having discs at hand would have been nice especially if you want to do a completely clean installation and eliminate any “bloatware” that might be on the drive fresh from Samsung. It also would have been nice to have the disc to flip the OS to 64 bit.

Overall Design and Style

One thing you can say about Samsung these days is that they’re pretty darn consistent. Just about everything that I’ve seen lately comes with that Touch of Color aesthetic style and the R780 is no exception.

You get that same red-black color scheme throughout most of the visible portions of the notebook. This glossy look is certainly attractive, but it also happens to prominently display your fingerprints and dust. That’s why they include that cleaning cloth, you see.

I’m personally more of a fan of the smaller notebooks in the 13-inch range, so I did find the 17.3-inch R780 to be somewhat unwieldly. You do have to remember that this is a desktop replacement, though, so the form factor makes sense. The larger screen also makes productivity and long hours behind the screen somewhat more bearable. This eliminates the need for an external monitor immediately.

The port placement generally makes sense too with a couple of USB ports and the optical drive on the right. On the left are the power, VGA, LAN, HDMI, eSATA, USB, headphone, microphone, and ExpressCard. The multi-card reader is in the front.

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