Review Samsung R70 Notebook

They are among us... A long time ago, first reports about the new Intel chip set including new CPUs and video cards appeared in our news. Now time has come. We may report about: "Santa Rosa" built-in in the Samsung R70 with Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 CPU and NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GS video card. You can read here what can be expected from the new multimedia class.

Samsung R70 Logo

Case

As already well-known, Samsung focuses on design and layout. Of course also many of us know, that this does neither guarantee a good look nor please everybody's eyes. At least regarding the R70's design, it seems that Samsung made good decisions.

The case is totally black, missing out any color highlights. However, needless to be afraid of a - lets call it like that - "Thinkpad dullness"
A pleasing line arrangement which is applied to the R70's case ensures this. Simple right-angled inter-component gaps, but still cone-shaped edges and beveled corners do not only look good, they have also a positive impact on handling this notebook.

Generally, this notebook's haptics feel very comfortable. The base unit and their surface feel soft and velvety. This stems from a roughened surface. The  display cover was coated with a black mirror finish, which further improves the look of this notebook.

Only daily use can prove how resistant this surface is against possible scratches and other evidences of use. To be on the safe side we recommend using a  soft notebook bag, in order to appropriately protect this good looking surface. The Samsung R70's workmanship convinces too. We could neither detect noticeable gaps nor wobbling parts. The used materials also give a high-quality impression.

Regarding robustness and stability of the case, the R70 scores unsurprisingly also rather good. The case is sufficiently resistant against applied forces and also against torsions. The only weak point is next to the optical drive at the bottom side of the notebook. Here the surface of the case yields slightly under pressure.

The display is also very robust and the review uncovers a moderate resistance against torsions, but a rather pressure sensible display cover. The
hinges are beautifully placed in a kind of molding, however, adapting the display position leads to a slight see-saw.
Furthermore, we have to mention that a transport hook is missing. On close, the display is automatically completely drawn closed by a mechanism and securely kept closed with sufficient tension force. In order to protect this notebook from object penetration, we recommend to carry it in a separate cover.

The ports of this notebook are mainly at its right edge as well as near the right corner on the back side. So, cable spaghetti are avoided by an order which is proper for both left and right handed users. The HDMI port provided at the right side is note-worthy. It and both audio ports are relatively near to the front of the right edge.

Front Side: Cardreader
Samsung R70 Interfaces
Left Side: USB, VGA-Out, Fan, HDMI, Audio, PCCard
Samsung R70 Interfaces
Back Side: Modem, Battery, 2x USB, LAN, Power Connector
Samsung R70 Interfaces
Right Side: DVD drive, Kensington Lock
Samsung R70 Interfaces

Input Devices

The first impression is received by the look of the keys. They are colored identically black than the surrounding parts and also please by their otherwise decent appearance.

Besides this, the keyboard also works first-class. The keys have a comfortable point of pressure and resistance and a well dimensioned travel. Typing with these geometric, but not unergonomic keys feels very comfortable. All of the keys can be hit without any problems and also the noise level emitted during fast typing is alright.

We liked the touch pad mainly because of its surface, which is comfortable in use. Its sliding properties are very good, because of a somewhat roughed up surface. Regarding precision and response the pad is without any anomalies.
Both buttons stand out against their surrounding by their coating, but they can still be used without any problems.

For the benefit of a decent design, hot keys were completely missed out. All functions are supported by assigning additional functions to some of the keys, which can be invoked in combination with the FN key.

The power switch is shapely integrated at the left upper corner of the keyboard. Beside it, there is also a very decent button for the AVStation Software, which supports the playback of videos and music without the need of starting the operating system.

Touchpad
Samsung R70 Touchpad
Tastatur
Samsung R70 Tastatur

Display

Color Diagram
Samsung R70 Display measurement

The Samsung R70 is equipped with a reflecting (Glare Type) 15.4 inch wide screen display with a maximum resolution of 1280x800 pixels and, so, follows the current trend. However, it's noticeable that for Vista with its  graphical gimmicks and oversized window frames a higher resolution would be preferable.

The measured maximum brightness was 164.4cd/m² at the center of the display. A good value. As the brightness only slightly diminishes at the upper edge, the illumination is still acceptable at 80.4%. The average brightness of 143.3 cd/m² is also throughout acceptable.

The color diagram depicts optimal red and green color curves and, as usual, a lowered blue color curve, which lets the colors appear warmer.

132.2
cd/m²
134.9
cd/m²
132.9
cd/m²
145.0
cd/m²
164.4
cd/m²
142.5
cd/m²
142.8
cd/m²
148.3
cd/m²
146.6
cd/m²
Information
Maximum: 164.4 cd/m²
Average: 143.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Black: 0.7 cd/m²
Contrast: 235:1
Distribution of brightness

The black value of 0.7 cd/m² and the maximum brightness of 164.4cd/m² lead to a good calculated contrast ration of 235:1.
Regarding its speed of reaction, the display scored average without any anomalies.

Operation Outdoors
Samsung R70 Outdoor

Even outdoors, it is still possible to rather well identify the contents of this display. This presumably stems from its good average brightness. However, in very bright environments you'll face the usual reflections, which make working difficult.

The stability to the vantage point of this display can horizontally be characterized by a good area of operation, and a diminishing contrast and reflections at very acute angles.
Vertically, the panel's area of operation is just sufficient. Outside it, you'll quickly face the usual darkening or whitening.

Video showing impact of the vantage point

Performance

The Samsung R70 presumably demonstrates the future standard multimedia configuration. So to say, the currently most common combination of  Core 2 Duo and Geforce Go 7600 video card or X1600/X1700 video card, is likely to be replaced by Intel's new processors and  NVIDIA's Geforce 8X00M video card generation.

Particularly, this new processor generation features a 800 MHz front side bus and the so called "Dynamic Acceleration Technology", short DAT. The benefit for the users will be an up to 20% faster computer.

The new Geforce 8600M GS video card is the successor of the well-known and approved Geforce Go 7600. In the future the "Go" will disappear from the model name and be replaced by  "M" (maybe short for mobility ?!).

Technical innovations are DirectX 10 support and a new vertex and pixel pipeline technology. So called "steam" processors are responsible for the tasks formerly performed by the pixel and vertex shader ("unified shader").

And where is the benefit for the user? Of course - what a surprise - another plus regarding speed and performance. In total, the performance of the new Geforce 8600M GS video card scores slightly better than a Geforce Go 7600 or 7700.

Our benchmark results conform with this. Whoever counted on considerable performance gains, will be disappointed. The Doom 3 as well as the FEAR performance test uncover that the 8600M GS scores the same or even slightly below a Geforce 7600/7700 and is only able to outperform them at maximum performance demands.

Performance Comparison Doom 3
Performance Comparison Doom 3
Performance Comparison F.E.A.R.
Performance Comparison F.E.A.R.

The practice test with current games like Call of Duty and Supreme Commander uncovers that the performance level of this notebook is similar to hitherto existing multimedia notebooks. It's exiting to look at games with DirectX 10 support. That remains to be seen, because at the time of writing no games with DX10 support are available.

In total NVIDIA meets the expectations regarding technology development, although big positive surprises fail to appear. The 8600M GS is likely a video card to be used in middle-class notebooks.

Last but not least the 160GB hard disk built-in the Samsung R70 has to be mentioned. It is average regarding transfer rates and access times. However, the memory capacity should be alright.

Further information about the video card can be soon found here or in our comparison of mobile video cards. Detailed information about the Core 2 Duo CPU can be found here.

Please also look at our benchmark list of mobile processors or at our benchmark list of mobile video cards, in order to compare this notebook to other configurations.

Benchmark Comparison 3DMark
Samsung R70 Benchmarkvergleich
Benchmark Comparison PCMark
Samsung R70 Benchmarkvergleich
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE15452 points
3DMark 054765 points
3DMark 06
 
2743 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Sony Vaio VGN-FS485B (min)
 740, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900
54
   ...
Sony Vaio VPC-YB3V1E/S
 E-450, Radeon HD 6320
2706
Sony Vaio SVT-1111M1E/S
 2367M, HD Graphics 3000
2708
Samsung NP-R70
 T7100, GeForce 8600M GS
2743
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 905S3G-K01DE
 A6-1450, Radeon HD 8250
2774
HP ProBook 4710s
 T6570, Mobility Radeon HD 4330
2777
   ...
Alienware M18x R2 (max)
 3920XM, Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
29496
PC Mark
PCMark 054464 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Dell XPS M1710
 T2500, GeForce Go 7900 GS
4450
HP Pavilion dv6-1199eg
 RM-75, Mobility Radeon HD 4530
4464
Samsung NP-R70
 T7100, GeForce 8600M GS
4464
HawkForce Mobile.ForceM13.S1
 T6400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
4479
Acer Aspire 5920G
 T7300, GeForce 8600M GT
4482
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
160 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 5.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 47.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 35.1 MB/s
Access Time: 19.7 ms
Burst Rate: 74.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.5 %

Further Benchmark Results:

Call of Duty II
Resolution 1024x768, Anti Aliasing off, Shadows on: 15-30fps
Resolution 1280x800, Anti Aliasing off, Shadows on: 15-25fps

Supreme Commander
Resolution 1024x768, Med. Details: 15-30fps - playable
Resolution 1280x800, Med. Details: 5-20fps - hardly playable

Emissions

Loudness

This notebook scored especially good regarding noise emissions. During idle mode the Samsung R70's emitted noise is very decent and even in very quiet environments very scarcely audible, although the fan runs all the time.
This property is supported by a big vent hole at the left side, which helps emitting the waste heat without much creation of swirl and, so, also only with low noise emissions.

Under load the notebook can be clearly heard, but is is still far away from being loud. Generally, the noise of the fan can be characterized as low-frequency noise.

Noise Level

Idle 32.4 / 41.3 / 41.3 dB(A)
HDD 37.9 dB(A)
DVD 36.5 / dB(A)
Load / 41.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Not only the noise emissions also the surface temperature of this notebook cannot be objected to. With a maximum of 36.8°C at the left side of the keyboard (fan) the top side heats nearly equally than the bottom side.

Upper side

palmwrist: 32.5°C max: 36.8°C avg: 32.7°C

Bottom side

max: 36.8°C avg: 33.0°C

Speakers

The speakers are left and right above the keyboard and they sound absolutely alright. The maximum volume is alright, too, and they sound is still 100% clear at maximum volume. However, the basses are as usually dull.

Battery Runtime

The Samsung R70 is equipped with a 5200 mAh battery, which provides sufficient power for unplugged work between a minimum of somewhat about an hour and a  maximum of roughly four hours.
Especially, the runtime for wireless Internet access with about 3 hour is alright and allows a workable mobile use.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
3h 55min
WiFi Surfing
3h 05min
DVD
2h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 24min

Power consumption

Idle 23.2 / 30.3 / 34.8 Watt
Load 58.4 / 56.7 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         

Verdict

Samsung R70
Samsung R70

Initially, the Samsung R70 attracted our attention primarily because of the brand-new hardware technology. But, soon it convinced us completely.
Besides a felicitous layout, we also found that the choice of materials and the workmanship are sound, and that the input devices are user-friendly. The R70 does not only look good, also its haptics are enjoyable.

The R70's display has a good maximum brightness and a good illumination and a well acceptable average brightness of 143.3cd/m². If any, the  stability to the vantage point can be considered a weakness. The reflections can also make working cumbersome.

As already mentioned, we were basically interested in the new technology, codename "Santa Rosa". The new Intel T7100 CPU and the brand new NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GS video chip provided good performance, although in total they did not meet our hope for a big performance increase.

Another plus of the R70 are its low emissions. The noise as well as the temperature emissions are alright and are hardly annoying.

Least, also the battery runtime is passable. A battery runtime between one and four hours makes the Samsung R70 also fit for mobile use.

Reviewed: Samsung R70
Sansung R70

Specifications

Samsung NP-R70

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel PM965
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR2 PC5300 SDRAM, max. 4096MB, 2x1024MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA Glare Type TFT Display, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
160 GB - 5400 rpm, 160 GB 5400 rpm Fujitsu MHW2160BH PL: 160GB, 5400rpm
:: Connections
PCCard Typ I/II, Mikrofon, Headphones, 3x USB 2.0, VGA-Out, HDMI, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 36 x 358 x 264
:: Weight
2.72 kg
:: Battery
, 5200 mAh Lithium Ionen Akku
:: Price
1299 Euro
:: Additional features
HDD: 160GB, 5400rpm, Fujitsu MHW2160BH PL, Realtek ALC262 HD Audio, DVD +/-R (DL) Toshiba-Samsung TS-L632D,

 

The glossy black coating of the display cover...
Samsung R70 Image
...gives the Samsung R70 a stylistic, elegant look.
Samsung R70 Image
But also its inside pleases by good workmanship...
Samsung R70 Image
...and a decent design with clear forms.
Samsung R70 Image
Time will show, how durable the elegant coating actually is, if the notebook is intensively used.
Samsung R70 Image
The Samsung R70's case seems to be...
Samsung R70 Image
...very stable and robust.
Samsung R70 Image
Besides the standard ports, it is also equipped with a HDMI port.
Samsung R70 Image
We also liked the R70 keyboard, which scores by comfortable typing.
Samsung R70 Image
The measurement values of the display were alright, however, it clearly reflects and has slight weaknesses regarding stability to the vantage point.
Samsung R70 Image
The highlight of the Samsung R70: Santa Rosa chip set with Intel T7100 CPU and Geforce 8600M video card.
Samsung R70 Image
The Samsung R70 scored good at the benchmark tests, however, the performance at current games is only average.
Samsung R70 Image
A plus: the noise emissions are very low.
Samsung R70 Image
Also the R70's temperature emissions are without anomalies.
Samsung R70 Image
The sound of the speakers is also alright, but, the basses are weak.
Samsung R70 Image
Even the battery runtime between 1 and 4 hours is passable and makes a mobile use possible.
Samsung R70 Image

Pro

  • Pleasing design
  • Very good workmanship
  • High-quality case with good haptics
  • Keyboard comfortable in use
  • Bright display, good illuminatioin
  • Good performance
  • Low noise and temperature emissions
  • Workable battery runtime
  • Contra

  • Sensible display coating
  • Opening angle of display limited
  • Display without transport look
  • Similar Notebooks

    Rating

    Samsung NP-R70
    08/31/2007
    J. Simon Leitner

    Chassis
    90%
    Keyboard
    90%
    Pointing Device
    86%
    Connectivity
    82%
    Weight
    79%
    Battery
    78%
    Display
    89%
    Games Performance
    90%
    Application Performance
    95%
    Temperature
    83%
    Noise
    86%
    Add Points
    90%
    Average
    87%
    87%
    Multimedia *
    Weighted Average

    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Samsung R70 Notebook
    Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2007-05-20 (Update: 2013-05- 8)