If you want a Windows 7 laptop that is slightly tougher than the norm, but doesn’t look like – or cost as much as – a fully rugged computer like the Dell Latitude E6420 ATG we looked at recently, then the Samsung 600 B5B might appeal. It has a tough chassis and hard drive protection among its credentials.
Adding it all up
If you’re a fan of separate number pads on your laptops, you’ll be very happy with the Samsung 600 B5B because, sitting to the right of the Qwerty keys is precisely that. It’s an indication that the Samsung 600 B5B chassis is sizeable. At 370x248x28.6-35.3mm, it takes up quite a bit of desk space. It’s also fairly heavy, too, at 2.6Kg. You’ll need strong shoulders to tote it around all day.
However, the Samsung’s size and weight mean it has a good-sized screen at 15.6in, and the build quality is robust. The Samsung’s Duracase ProMG chassis is certified to take weights of 1000kg, and drops of 76cm.
Present and correct
If you start looking at the specifications of the Samsung 600 B5B, you’ll see this is primarily a laptop aimed at business users. Graphics are integrated rather than discrete, for example. Still, a 500GB hard drive is always welcome, and the Intel Core i5 410M 2.3 GHz processor with 4GB of RAM mean the laptop skips along .
Those who need integrated mobile broadband need not linger with this review any longer – the Samsung offers no SIM card slot – but it does have two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a pair of USB 2.0 ports, so there’s easily space to plug a 3G dongle in.
Samsung does that odd thing of putting markers round the edges of the keyboard surround to remind you where the side ports are. While you get used to using a new laptop this is handy, but in the long term it just looks cluttered.
In addition to those four USB ports, the Samsung 600 B5B has Ethernet, VGA and HDMI ports, microphone and headphones jacks and an ExpressCard slot. One of the USB 2.0 ports doubles as an eSATA connector. There’s also a card reader for SD and compatible memory cards. And, of course, an optical drive. The battery gave us three hours of video watching before conking out. Reasonable, but not great.
- Solid build, separate numberpad.
- Heavy, chunky, lacks any outstanding features.
Slightly chunky, slightly clunky, a bit heavy, and a bit boring to look at - but sturdy, with a separate numberpad on the keyboard and shock protection for its hard drive. All in all, the Samsung 600 B5B is a solid enough laptop that's suitable for the accident prone among us.