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Jewish World Review
Feb. 27, 2009
/ 3 Adar 5769
Samsung's portable pleaser
Sometimes you forget things; I know I do. When I sat down with Samsung's P560
portable computer, I'd forgotten how big a 15.4-inch (diagonally measured) display
screen could be. It's not as large as a 17-inch notebook, but it's rather
impressive in and of itself.
I mention this because the P560, list price $1,349 but available from Amazon.com for
about $71 less, comes at a time when the "netbook" is all the rage, eight- or
ten-inch screens are what the world needs now, maybe a 13-inch mini-notebook if you
want to push it. Who wants to lug around a behemoth at 15.4 or, gasp, 17 inches, if
you can avoid it.
Were I trekking around the globe or climbing Everest, I'd go for something small
and light. But I'm doing neither most days. Instead, for those seeking a good
"desktop replacement" notebook, one you can park in the office most days and
take on the road when needed, I think this machine deserves consideration.
The P560 doesn't have the rich sound or over-stuffed multimedia features of some
portables: there's no TV tuner here, or BluRay Disc capability here; the sound is
adequate, but you'd want headphones to hear the best sound. This is more of a
business computer, and here, the P560 does very, very well.
My test unit arrived with Windows Vista, which I've replaced with a Beta copy of
Windows 7. There's a conflict between the newer operating system and the supplied
McAfee anti-virus software, so I trashed the McAfee programs for testing purposes.
If I were to keep this machine, I'd install a non-conflicting anti-virus; McAfee
is a good program but has too many annoying "please register this" messages for
On the productivity side, I installed OpenOffice.org's 3.0 release, and all worked
well. Ditto for the Google Chrome Web browser. I foresee few problems with most
mainstream applications here, though there might well be some exceptions.
Typing on the computer's keyboard was pleasant - good tactile response, which is
important. The touchpad was very good, too, responsive to double-taps in lieu of
mouse clicks; there are mouse buttons below the touchpad to boot. The display screen
is billed as "1280 x 800 WXGA, 220 nits, Non-glossy with [a] Ambient Light
Sensor," which translates to a good viewing experience. Don't know if I'd want
to watch "Dances With Wolves" here, but I could, and more importantly, I could
watch my work get done without hassle.
The P560 weighs just less than six pounds, making it an agreeable traveling
companion. The optical drive features LightScribe technology, which will
"burn" a disc label onto one side of the DVD or CD you create on the other.
It's a handy feature.
Wireless connections include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. An Ethernet port and built-in
dial-up modem are standard items. In short, this is the kind of computer you could
take just about anywhere and still be "in business," connected to the rest of
the world. It's got the power you'd want, and performance shouldn't be an
issue. My non-scientific tests revealed a battery life close to the claimed six
hours, and that's a pleasant surprise.
Overall, I'm impressed with the Samsung P560. It's a good computer, a good
value, and the company behind it certainly has the resources to offer good support.
Should you need one, or a dozen, for your business, it's well worth looking at.
You can find out more about the computer online at http://tinyurl.com/alne26.
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com