Most of us don’t want to spend more than a few hundred on a notebook computer -- Samsung’s answer is their $699.99 R540, featuring a 15.6-inch display and dual-core Intel Core i3 processor. We take a look.
Our Samsung R540-JA02 review unit has the following specifications:
This R540 model has entry-level specifications; competing notebooks with a similar configuration can be had for $100 - $150 less online. The R540 is also offered in a higher-end configuration featuring a Blu-ray drive, low-end ATI Radeon graphics card and a more powerful Core i5 processor for MSRP $999.99 (a little on the pricey side).
The R540 has a generic design with an attractive-looking faux aluminum finish. Design features are minimal; the R540 does not even have volume up/down buttons. The notebook is constructed entirely of plastic; as a result it weighs only 5.29 lbs. The chassis has an average thickness for a 15.6” notebook at about 1.4 inches. The R540 is covered in mostly glossy plastic, which smudges up quickly and is difficult to clean.
The lid shares the lackluster build quality; it flexes easily when gripped by the corners. Ripples appear on the screen when pressure is applied from behind; the screen is not well protected. Overall, even for a budget notebook the R540 falls short of expectations.
Ports and Features
The highlight of the Samsung R540’s no-frills port selection is HDMI. There are three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, VGA, and a SD card-only reader. There is no ExpressCard slot and no eSATA or USB 3.0 ports for high-speed data connections. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Left: Kensington Lock slot, AC power, VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 2.0, microphone and headphone jacks
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