Samsung NP-RV511-S02UK

I bought a new laptop the other week, a Samsung NP-RV511-S02UK. I have been using a Samsung NC10 dual booting Ubuntu and XP. An NC10 is a wondrous thing but when push comes to shove, a 1280×600 resolution is too small for Visual Studio work – especially when you want to see a PDF at the same time.

I’m keeping the net book – I just replaced the battery on it. I forgot how much care Lithium Ion batteries require. After two journeys to the desert in two years I’ve watched the average life go from around 5 hours under normal use to 1 hour 50 minutes. Last week I noticed it was hitting 50% then telling me I had 8% and needed to charge – so I figured a cell was bad and ordered a new battery (a very reasonable £40 for an after market model). Now I’m relieved to see everything is back up at 5 hours.

I’ve had a couple of days to play with it and get it set up (I’m away on a course next week). First impressions are excellent.

Windows 7 Home Premium comes with Windows Media Centre, which is useful because the TV tuner software that came with my aged Freecom DVB-T is looking rather dated. Windows 7 didn’t recognise the device but luckily I have a copy of Freecom’s BDA driver (which has 32 and 64 bit drivers). I had to go into Device Manager and manually update the drivers.

Running the Windows Experience rating gave me a 4.9. Then I realised that I had no idea what that meant – apparently the index score is based on the lowest score of 5 components rated from 1 to 7.9. I would have expected “Gaming graphics” to have been the bottleneck but actually at 5.9 its not bad – I play a few titles on Steam and ran Bioshock at maximum resolution (1366 x 768) with no problems. The only game I’ve got (which isn’t many) that I have issues with is GTA IV but I have a feeling that’s something to do with DRM or Windows Live for Games.

The HDMI port is very useful, no problems with an HDCP connection between the laptop and my Panasonic TV. Lovefilm and Sky Go on a big screen are much better – my wife isn’t keen on crowding around a laptop screen.

Battery life is pretty good for this specification of laptop, I’m writing this using the “Balanced” setting, with a couple of applications open and downloading a big file over WiFi with the Bluetooth on – it’s at 81% and reading 3 hours 47 minutes.

Updates were a pain, three needed before the touch pad did multi-touch. About 1 Gb all told, with a service packs for Windows 7. That’s where the fun started because the Windows 7 SP failed repeatedly so I downloaded the system update readiness tool – take notice of this advice from Microsoft:

Although the progress bar may appear to stop, the scan is still running and you should not cancel the update.

It certainly appeared to stop. However it did complete and didn’t solve the problem. In the end I downloaded SP1 from Microsoft’s Windows 7 Download Centre (903 MB) and that did install. There’s a lot of forum posts on the Internet about this sort of problem with SP1 and with all the bits and bobs that are installed by Samsung for power management, updates, display and wireless it comes as no big surprise that there are issues with large updates.

Really pretty pleased with this laptop.