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Samsung RF511

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£43.20 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk marketplace See more offers
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      10.05.2012 18:56
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      The RF511 is almost perfect, but just needs some minor improvements.

      I received the RF511 this morning and I have to say that Amazon's service has been brilliant in that they dispatched this via next day after my initial RF511 order went walkies in the West Midlands, courtesy of CityLink.

      First impressions on this laptop are mixed. To start with the good: the i5/8GB/1TB spec is reasonably fast, it's handled everything I've thrown at it without a hiccup thus far. This includes 1080p HD, processing RAW files in LightRoom and, even though I didn't buy this for gaming, The Sims 3 - which the HD3000 integrated graphics did a decent job with on high settings.

      On that note however, the fan does like to spin-up a bit in LightRoom and when I took The Sims 3 for a spin, things got hot, 80*C hot. Otherwise, the RF511 does stay quiet and cool. I've generally noticed it hovering around 30-40*C in SpeedFan on general internet/music/Microsoft Word use.

      What I will say is that Samsung's "superior LCD screen" is anything but. It has a washed out appearance and oddly the image deteriorates left-to-right, top-to-bottom whilst sitting straight on, despite good viewing angles. The slightest shift will make one part of the picture hazy under the backlight whilst giving deeper colours to another part. Very odd.

      Coupled with this, the RF511 sucumbs to the stereotype of lapptops having poor speakers whilst my previous Lenovo E520 packed speakers which sounded 'full-bodied'. Why can't a £600 Samsung laptop do the same?

      With the aforementioned in mind, the RF511 is a bit so-so for those situations where you end up watching a movie with your mates around a laptop. In terms of the screen, I have found Intel's gamma adjustment slider goes a short way to fixing things; I suggest putting it down to 0.9 to make things a little less washed. The speakers however will always sound naff.

      In terms of pre-installed software the RF511 comes with a lot of it, so much so that you can get a decent amount of scroll on the add/remove programs. Thankfully most of it is either Samsung/third-party drivers or Samsung software, but there are a few things like "WildTangent Games", "WordCapture X Pro", "Norton Online Backup" and a suite of CyberLink software which you might want to remove. Norton's security software is especially annoying (I'd suggest Microsoft's Security Essentials, it's free).

      The build quality feels decent enough, however the lid does flex if you lift it from a corner however - and whilst the typing experience is good, the noise of the keys varies around the large ENTER key. But things feel pretty solid otherwise and I haven't heard any creeks from the chasis yet (that being said I haven't exactly stress tested it, nor do I want to :P).

      Lastly, in terms of design I have read criticism which I think is down to the colour scheme - I'll admit the oddly grey/silver scheme keyboard is at odds with the black super-gloss lid (note: fingerprint and scratch magnet) - and - further, the chrome hinges look kinda tacky, but the RF511 is nothing bad to look at in my opinion.

      On the whole, the RF511 is good, but it's not anything I'd recommend when priced too far over the £500 price mark, which it is. Less than this and coupled with Samsung's VAT back, it makes for a great deal, but otherwise I'd recommend a Samsung series 6, 7 or 9, or perhaps the Dell Inspiron or XPS 14z.

      Review also posted on Amazon.

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