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My newest toy : Samsung R517

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by gxsaurav, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    I bought my Desktop PC from Lucknow to Delhi as I am more avid fan of a desktop then laptop, so now I needed a computer for my home in Lucknow, something my dad & sisters can easily use.

    Few days ago, I went to Nehru Place to buy a laptop with my friend, he was eyeing netbooks which all had Intel Atom CPU & were available for Rs 20,000 approx. However, he wanted to run Windows 7 on it & doubted the power of Intel Atom with Intel GMA 500 onboard graphics which is default on all the Netbooks out there. He wasn’t wrong, Intel Atom doesn’t have sufficient power to give a good Windows 7 experience.

    Then we saw something which we really like & found totally worth them money. We found Samsung R517 Laptop for just Rs 25,000 which comes with FreeDOS. The reason it is available for this cost is due to the exclusion of an Operating system which reduces the cost. I bought this laptop for my family today.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    By looking at the laptop, you can easily confuse it with Lenovo ThinkPad R series laptops. Even I was confused when I saw it for the first time. Samsung has tried to go with a no-frills, no-jazzy look with this laptop. Its a simple, plain laptop which has enough potential & power as primary laptop for my family who uses a computer ones in a while only & there tasks constitutes of browsing, Microsoft Office, chatting, watching movies, music etc but the most important thing to note here is that they don’t use the computer everyday. There, it opens ones or twice a week only.

    Keeping this in mind, I decided to buy this laptop for my home too as I did not want to spend a lot of money & wanted something which can support Windows 7 Home premium easily & can be used for the next 3 years without even touching.

    The laptop configuration is as follows :

    Intel Pentium dual core T4200 running at 2 GHz with 800 MHz FSB
    15.6” glossy screen with a resolution of 1376X768px
    2 GB DDR2 800 MHz RAM
    250 GB 5400 RPM Samsung SATA2 Hard disk
    Intel GMA X4500 onboard graphics
    Realtek 5.1 channel HD audio
    .3 MP webcam which is sufficient for Video chats
    rest as usual, like Wi-Fi, etc. One thing to note that there is no Onboard Bluetooth. I wonder why Samsung decided to exclude it. I bought a generic Bluetooth dongle with it for Rs 150.

    For full configuration, check Samsung’s Product page for R517

    The right hand side of laptop has only the DVD writer while the left hand side contains 3 USB Port, one Wired LAN port, Micro SD card reader, Audio & Mic ports & one VGA Port to attach external monitor.

    [​IMG]
    Like I said, simple yet effective package. There isn’t what people won’t need & it is sufficient for most people as far as hardware peripherals are concerned.

    I decided to install Windows 7 home premium & decided not to install pirated software as long as not required. I was surprised to see that we can make a fully working Windows system without paying anything for the software. Here is what I used :

    1) Browser : Internet Explorer 8 is given in Windows 7 by default but I decided to install Google Chrome official version with extensions like Adsweep, flashblock & smoothscroll just because it is faster then IE 8 overall. Also, Chrome integrated with Windows even better then Firefox. Firefox would have been too alien for them as IE 8 or Google Chrome are good enough out of the box while Firefox needs a lot of extensions to make it work good.

    2) I decided to use Free Download Manager which easily integrates with both IE 8 & Chrome. It automatically takes over Chrome’s downloader using a Netscape compatible dll.

    3) Chatting : Personally, I have moved to Digsby, but my sister still prefers to use individual messenger clients because they provide better features like PhotoShare of Yahoo messenger. I install what we all are used to using, latest version of Google talk, Yahoo messenger, Skype & Windows Live Messenger.

    4) Office suite : Though I could have given them OpenOffice, but just because I had a license spare & my sister is more familiar with Office 2007, I gave her Office 2007 Student edition as she only needs Excel & Word.

    5) E-Mail : Well, she is better off using Web mail clients considering the huge space in GBs that they allow today.

    6) Windows Live Suite & applications : This is something worth noticing. With Windows 7, Microsoft has tightened the integration between Windows Live apps & Windows. Frankly speaking, everything is already given which is just a download away. I installed Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Photo Gallery & Windows Movie Maker which is enough for the way they use & manage videos & images. Considering I also have a Sony CyberShot digicam which I will be giving at home, Windows Live Photo Gallery fulfils the requirements completely. All they do is copy the image, crop out the unwanted areas & mail to whoever is concerned.
    7)
    For image editing, I decided to stick with Paint. Usually, there isn’t much editing they will need, except for resizing, cropping etc which paint is good enough to do because with Windows 7, Microsoft made Paint a half decent editor with basic features which are usually used like resizing, cropping.

    8 ) For security, I decided to stick with a properly configured Windows Firewall, Windows defender & Microsoft Security essentials antivirus. These 3 integrate beautifully in Windows 7 & they run like “Set it & forget it “. Besides, its free & sufficient enough. I also turned on UAC.

    9) I am an old fan of Yahoo! Widgets, so I installed this instead of using Windows Gadgets.

    10) InfraRecorder for CD Burning. Though I taught my sister to burn Data CD & DVD using Windows 7’s inbuilt Disk Burning utility but this comes in handy when burning other type of CDs like mp3 or picture CD.

    11) Peazip for archiving. Its a simple & free no frills Archiving utility. Right click & select "extract" for ZIP, RAR etc or right click & select "Add to Zip".

    12) Inbuilt Microsoft Remote desktop for fixing the computer if needed over the internet between home & Delhi

    Sticking to only the default configuration helps. Things are tightly integrated & now all they have to do, is to open the laptop & use it without worrying about anything.

    Well, I don’t know all about using habits of my family, so I will be updating this post as required.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  2. sakumar79

    sakumar79 Active Member

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    @saurav, nice review... One point is maybe you should install some software for image editing that allow batch editing (when you want to resize a set of photos before you send by email, etc)... Irfanview and Photofiltre are a couple of possible alternatives.

    Also, have you installed necessary codecs for multimedia play?

    Arun
     
  3. axxo

    axxo 99.9% Idle

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    good one for sure. But I feel asus x83vm-x1 owes me when it comes to true value...more importantly for an extra 4k, 4G RAM, Vista 64bit home premium, 9600GS, 320GHD,esata,hdmi, etc.
     
  4. desiibond

    desiibond Bond, Desi Bond!

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    that's a really nice review. can you let us know how the battery backup is, how HD video playback quality is?
     
  5. OP
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    gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    Why pay Extra 4k for all these when my family won't be using it at all? They don't need 4 GB RAM, 9600GS, eSata or HDMI etc, they just need a laptop which is solid on build quality, easily serviceable in Lucknow ( The Samsung service center is 2 km from my home )

    Forgot to mention, I installed Picasa 3 later on & Windows 7 codecs from Shark 007

    @ Desibond

    a trial download 720p HD movie worked flawlessly. Since the resolution is 1376x768 so what's the point of playing 1080p HD Video, it will down sample anyway.

    There is an option in BIOS enabling which the laptop's battery will charge to a maximum or 80% only. It says this is for increasing the battery life. Since most of the time the laptop will be used on A.C power, battery will last long anyway I think. (correct me if I am wrong, I am un-aware here)

    The shopkeeper said 3 hrs of battery. Right now its fully charged (80%) so will test it today.
     
  6. amitabhishek

    amitabhishek Bad to the bone

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    Congrats Saurav!!!

    IMO you should have given Ubuntu a shot. Just a thought :).
     
  7. desiibond

    desiibond Bond, Desi Bond!

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    running laptop only on ac actually decreases battery life.
    -----------------------------------------
    Posted again:
    -----------------------------------------
    gxsaurav and ubuntu. u kidding?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  8. OP
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    gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    One thing I can say, is that if someone wants to use Linux as the primary OS, then he should buy this. I booted from Linux mint 7 Live CD & all hardware was supported out of the box.

    I showed it in the office today & people were laughing saying "Dude, its a Samsung. You should have bought something like Dell or HP". I said, consider where & how this will be used & then say.

    This is the first time I am using a Samsung laptop, but considering we know how laptops r made, (Apple laptop, dell laptop... all made in Quanta), this will hold for a long time.

    Besides, this wasn't supposed to be a Power house or something, but just a simple desktop replacement for a desktop I would have purchased otherwise for home for something like 20k just that this is small in size.
     
  9. m-jeri

    m-jeri Caballero de Real Madrid

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    Yuck...

    The laptop got no looks.. and the build qlty is really low. Well, you dont intend to take it outside so its ok.b ut it does the work for the 25k i guess so be happy.
     
  10. OP
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    gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    I know the laptop doesn't got looks but 2 things

    1) Where it will be used, looks don't matter much. They are happy with the looks of this laptop.

    2) Looks are for 2 days only. Once you are a power user, looks won't matter but asthetics & keyboard button quality will.
     
  11. m-jeri

    m-jeri Caballero de Real Madrid

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    You bought it. no need to justify. :).

    besides the build qlty is really bad, evident from the second and third pics and in general for samsung laptops. who is the power user using this?

    but as u said for avg use its ok.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  12. VD17

    VD17 New Member

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    Intelligent buy and an excellent review. I'll keep this in mind since my dad and aunt both might want to buy something like this in the future.
    By the way, how's the sound quality and the display?
     
  13. OP
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    gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    The display as you see is glossy, something we designers do not prefer. But for home use its good, videos look awesome on it, specially 720p.

    Sound Quality is even better then my desktop's onboard HD Audio by realtek. The one in this laptop also supports SRS
     
  14. aritrap

    aritrap Mobile Addict

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    @gxsaurav You sure that the GMA500 on the netbooks wont be able to handle Windows 7?

    I set up a Windows 7 Ultimate on my friends HP Mini 110 today. All visual goodies like Aero and 3D Flip are working fine.
    The system does not feel slow. It is as fast as in XP.
     
  15. NIGHTMARE

    NIGHTMARE ANGEL OF DEATH

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    hey congrats bro
     
  16. OP
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    gxsaurav

    gxsaurav You gave been GXified

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    No, I am not sure. I testing this on a Dell Mini 10 & Windows 7's performance wasn't enough for my liking. I installed home premium to test on the dell

    @Nightmare. thanks
     
  17. MetalheadGautham

    MetalheadGautham AFK

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    Extra 4K meaning 29K price for an ASUS lappy @ that config ? In India ? You serious ?
     
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