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By Andrew Gould 26 June 2009

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The general idea behind notebooks is portability, with power and performance coming second. Obviously the guys behind Samsung’s desktop replacement notebook- the R710, did\'t get the memo. The R710 is an absolute monster in size and power.

Size
When you have a 17\" screen on a notebook, you know it’s not going to be light. At 3.1 kg the Samsung R710 is about the same weight as three netbooks. But for that you get performance to match what most desktops can throw at you, and an anti-bacterial keyboard complete with number pad.

Performance
Power and performance are what the R710 is all about. Our test model had an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (T6400) rated at 2GHz, with a very impressive 3032MB of RAM. This was more than enough to run games, resource-intensive applications and watch HD videos. The 300GB hard drive makes it easy to store your music and videos. In our experience, the more hard disk space the better, so if you can, go for a 500GB drive. Gamers will also be thankful for the nVIDIA GeForce Go 9600M GT graphics card, which makes gaming not only possible, but a treat.

Looks
If you’re worried that a notebook this big will look unsightly you need not worry a jot. Samsung has given the R710 a lick of red glossy paint that will definitely get it noticed. But it’s really the screen we like. The 17\" WXGA (1440 x 900) glossy display will give you the HD experience, although it’s not full 1080p resolution. Add to this the optional Blu-ray player and you have yourself a nice HD entertainment unit.

Connectivity
The Samsung R710 has most of the connectivity options you’ll need, including 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi and HDMI to hook it up to a HDTV. A 7-in-1 card reader is included but no
FireWire. One bit of bother is that the trackpad is relatively small, making a mouse a must have.

All-in-all the R710 is a well endowed computing power house.

PROS
Well designed; good performance; Blu-ray drive included in some configurations. Relatively low price.
CONS
Screen not as bright as we'd like; compared to similar notebooks, the trackpad is relatively small.
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