Although only having owned one of these since the end of August, I have to say I'm very impressed.
The Samsung R400 was specifically purchased for lightness of weight because I just couldn't manage with the very small 10" screen on 'netbooks'.
Initially I was going to purchase one of the Toshiba 13" notebooks (I've been a steadfast Toshiba user for a long time) but the somewhat larger 14" screen plus an i3-350M Intel Core chip along with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit operating system (rather than the 32 bit version) swung me towards this particular model.
As usual with Amazon, their 'Super Saver' free delivery service was stunningly quick and after charging the battery fully for the first time (the battery does not come fully charged) I was soon setting the unit into operation.
The 'in built' set up system ran smoothly and efficiently - although a tumbling hour glass or something similar to indicate the system was still working would have been nice as there are lengthy periods when I wasn't sure if it was running or had stopped. Mind you I made the same grumble about my last Toshiba - seems to be the way the manufacturers are going.
Anyhow, once the operating system was fully installed I was able to give it an operational check over and, it's quick, very quick. Connection to my BT Homehub Wi-Fi was easy and the Samsung has very sensitive ears as the Internet Access module picked up five Wi-Fi networks that had never appeared on the Toshiba.
As usual, there are a lot of what I'd term 'junk' programmes loaded onto the machine but again this is commonplace nowadays and it's extremely to uninstall anything you don't want.
I've loaded all my usual software including Office 2007 (as I like it and have just about got to grips with it after reluctantly abandoning Office 2003). Office 2010 - which Microsoft would like you to buy - was just a step too far and, frankly cost too much for my wallet.
The surface of the notebook is unusal, almost like the skin of an orange when looked at closely, but my goodness it really allows you to get a good grip on the closed case (unlike the super slippery Toshiba). The battery holds a charge for between 2 and 4 hours depending upon how many programmes you have running - which isn't at all bad for such a compact battery and if used in the battery saver mode I'd think you might get another 1/2hour, maybe more, before needing to plug in the charger.
Three USB2 ports are nice to have and an improvement over the Toshibas rather meager two.
The screen is fully adjustable for brightness and is exceptionally crisp and clear and, rather surprisingly to me, has pretty accurate colour rendering - much better than the odd tonal colours from the Toshiba. I do a lot of photo editing on screen and this extra accuracy does speed up image manipulation.
I purchased (seperately) a 14" zipped protective slip case by Case Logic and am well pleased by the accurate fit, and ease of carrying.
Because I'm often in outdoor locations where there is no wi-fi network I own a Vodafone wireless 'dongle' and am really pleased with how well this works with the Samsung. The Samsung works with the 'dongle' in places where my previous laptop just didn't received a signal.
"Pros" - Lots, indeed far to many to list here.
"Cons" - Only one. Whoever decided that a dull bronzy green was a good colour for the icons above the lights along the front edge of what is a bronzy red coloured laptop should have been shot !
"Would I recommend it to my friends?" - Absolutely. Many have already seen it being used and all express surprise at just how much additional viewing area there is from the 14" screen compared to a 13" screen.
Good design. Keyboard and touch pad are comfortable. The screen is really nice. Web cam good quality. No useless and annoying programs from the manufacturer. DVD writer runs fine. The temperature while running photoshop cs4, skype video chatting, chrome, and winamp simultaneously are normal. Fan not noisy.
The only thing I can complain is the built in speaker, it's not that great, but if you connect it with an external one, the sound is great, so goo sound card too. But for the price, it get its 5 star.
This is my first lap top, took me a bit of time to find one that suited my budget and had the spec I was looking for. I use it as much for work as play and needed it to run with speech to text software, (Dragon Naturally Speaking). It also needed decent batttery life and not too heavy for lugging around during work. Have now been using it for about 4 weeks. So far it is doing the job, it seems to be coping with dragon no problem, and the battery has coped with work up to 3 hours so far. Found start up easy enough and backed up my system as mentioned by another reviewer, but didn't seem to take as long only needed 1 DVD and took less than hour. Although I am not a computer guy so have probably missed out a step. Overall build feels solid, I like the keyboard has good size keys and no number pad which suits me fine as I don't need to do lots of number work. It has 3 USB ports which is great as I add the seperate keyboard and mouse and still room for flash drive etc. I have used the wireless connection on my home broadband which is (virgin cable 10mb) and it is as fast as the wired connection on my desk top. I haven't tried it outdoors yet. The 14 " screen was one of my worries but it has proved to be no problem with word documents, or internet pages, just make sure I use my specs. Decided it was worth keeping the size and weight down as I will be carrying it around a lot. Overall, good lap top, but payed a bit more for the 14 " screen, i3 processor and 4GB ram that was needed for the Dragon software. Otherwise would have gone for one of the cheaper 15/17" 3GB models that are around.
I bought this laptop for the combination of spec versus price versus size. I travel regularly on business and needed a laptop which is portable enough without being miniscule and impossible to see text clearly, along with enough power to cope with lots of programmes running at the same time when sitting with clients. This machine is fast enough, the screen is very bright and clear and the keyboard is excellent. While the previous review went on about back up problems, I can't understand why you would need to back up to discs when an external hard drive does the job far better and faster and there are tons of on-line ways to back up data. Some people need to catch up with what is possible! I have only one problem which is a known and constant issue with Skype interfering with sound settings but other than that I would recommend this laptop. Samsung if you are looking, please offer other colours than the slightly odd 'Peacock red' in future. I would also add that after confusion over the price if buying direct from Amazon, the problem I had was dealt with almost instantly and a refund of a difference in price was agreed very quickly. This together with free delivery to Spain included makes Amazon a favourite supplier for me right now!
This laptop feels solid and well built, the screen is clear and bright, text on boot up is a good visual size and there seem to be lots of Samsung add on pieces of software. Once set-up it takes 2 minutes to boot up to usable which is not too shabby for a windows machine. Bearing mind however that this is with a clean install and MacAfee disabled as I prefer MS security essentials. Once they are loaded the boot time goes to 2 mins 10 secs, again not too shabby. The keypad is nice and responsive and I like the track pad which is of a fair size with two usable buttons (left and right mouse) underneath. Made of nice attractive material it looks the part.
That was the good, now the bad: when first started (after a full charge) takes at least an hour plus to boot up. This of course includes the regulation search for the internet and setting up Windows for first use - I've never had a machine, either laptop of desk top which took that long, then you have to choose partition size - pardon; the last time I had to do that was on DOS based machines back in the `80's and if that wasn't bad enough if you choose less than 50 gig for the D drive the machine really don't like it which means that you end up with two partitions even if you don't want them, and who would!
What really disturbed me was the performance in trying to create back-up discs. The, well the only word is rubbish, paper documentation that comes with this machine, appeared to indicate that Samsung thought these would not be necessary, hey I wrote relational databases in the `80's and `90's and I've learnt the hard way to live by the motto "don't underestimate a computer's ability to really screw up your day". So I created back up DVD disks, well tried to. Firstly I got an old style DOS box with non too clear text which stated the machine would need 4 DVD's for the backup. I was a bit surprised and only a few weeks ago I created the backup desks on my new Dell Studio XPS i7 machine and that only took 2 disks, also took 45 mins to create those disks. Bearing in mind this is on a laptop that was a clean and new install I was puzzled about the time and number of disks required but it had to be done. Well, talk about lose the will to live.....It took 45 mins to create the first disk (we have preparing the disk, we have writing the disk and then we have verify the disk with transfer rate less than 4 meg a sec), the programme then decided that the next (brand new) DVD was no good and was rejected, as was the next DVD, it accepted the 3rd one however which again took 45 mins, as did the next disk, it then told me to put in the final disk, which I did and the programme re started the complete back up process from scratch telling me that I needed another 4 disks and then the machine locked up necessitating the battery being removed to stop it. Secondly, so now I have three disks and I don't know if I should have 4 or whether the three will work in an emergency: not at all satisfactory.
The case of the Samsung is also a magnet for dust and fingerprints as well as which the hinges conecting the screen to the main body do not feel that strong. The machine is slow, it takes several seconds after clicking on any icon for something to happen and I am concerned that when I start to put my own software on it may slow down even more. I'm not sure I am going to keep it and I would advise anyone to think very carefully before getting this machine, and if the paperwork that came with this machine is an example of Samsungs standard then If you are a newby I would avoid this like the plague. The Toshiba laptop I have not only came with lots of documentation but also with already created back-up disks.