Samsung NP500R5L-M03US is marketed as a laptop with dual drives. That might be an excellent feature due to increased storage and performance. But it’s not the only thing that makes a good notebook. Let’s see what the strong and weak points of this computer really are…
There are two excellent things in the engine room of Samsung NP500R5L-M03US. First is the processor, the dual-core Intel Core i7-6500U. The clock speed is 2.5Ghz while turbo takes it to a 3.1GHz maximum. Most likely, you won’t experience lag on this processor no matter what tasks you do (Photoshop and video editing included). Another thing, there is the dual-drive setup with 1 TB hard drive and 128 GB solid-state drive. When you put the files and programs you frequently access on the SSD, you’ll get a performance boost for sure.
The 15.6″ display should be decent, after all it’s sporting 1920×1080 maximum resolution and screens in this price category tend to be of very acceptable quality. It’s not a touch display and indeed the screen doesn’t rotate past ~180 degrees, so this is not a 2-in-1 device. A webcam is installed in the top bezel.
8GB DDR3 memory is installed, in my opinion it suffices for casual and power users alike. Unfortunately I couldn’t find information whether it can be upgraded or not.
There have been no user reports on the operating time, but specs state Samsung NP500R5L-M03US has 43Wh Li-Ion battery. You’ll get around 6 hours (web surfing or other lightweight work) with similar power sources on this kind of components.
USB ports selection isn’t anything special, just two USB 2.0 and only one faster USB 3.0. Video outputs include HDMI and VGA, you can hook up an external monitor to them. In addition to the 802.11ac dual-band WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1 adapter, also Gigabit RJ-45 port is available for networking.
Bear in mind this unit doesn’t have an optical drive! You need to get external DVD burner if discs are important for you. However, 3-in-1 media card reader is included.
In many regards Samsung NP500R5L-M03US is fast but sadly, when it comes to graphics, the laptop lacks real performance. It doesn’t come with dedicated graphics but only Intel HD 520 which is integrated on the i7 processor. You need to be careful with games as many will require low settings to run, for example GTA 5 at ~30FPS. Still, easier titles like Team Fortress or Minecraft will run smooth no matter the settings.
I would say Samsung NP500R5L-M03US is a decent choice for the money. It’s quite a powerhouse with the Core i7 processor, and the said SSD will make this thing fly compared to older, hard drive ridden laptops. And as expected for the price, the screen supports Full HD, so movie freaks and purists will have good times with their home entertainment stuff. Nothing seems to be inherently wrong with this laptop, so go for it if raw performance is what you appreciate!