After putting out a steady stream of excellent and affordable laptops last year, Samsung deservedly won our prestigious Best Laptop Manufacturer award. The R440-JA01UK offers good value for money, with strong performance and an excellent screen.

As with the Asus P52F-SO006X and Dell Vostro V130, one of Intel's Core i3 350M processors provides the power, allowing for strong performance on a budget. Core i5 laptops offer better performance, but this laptop has more than enough grunt to run several applications at once.

An integrated Intel GMA HD GPU has been used to process graphics, and the Samsung scored a fairly high result in our benchmark tests, just behind the Hi-Grade Notino D8000i. HD video plays smoothly, but editing your media is still a slow and jerky affair, and best avoided.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 211 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 221
3DMark 2003: 3491

Colourful chassis

The plastic chassis has been brightened with a purple textured design that covers the lid and palm rests, which some will love and others will hate. Regardless, it's a sturdy build with only a little flex around the DVD drive, and at 2.2kg won't weigh you down when you hit the road.

A battery life of three-and-a-half hours is above average and quite a good result. The touchpad is a little too compact, which is annoying when dragging the mouse cursor from one edge of the screen to another.

Thankfully multi-touch gesturing is supported and a scroll bar along the right edge allows swift navigation through documents and web pages. The keyboard is similar to the Dell's, and just as comfortable to type on. There's no separate numeric pad, though.

Samsung r440

We found the 14-inch screen to be bright and reasonably sharp, and a Super-TFT finish has been used to make images more vibrant. As with other Super-TFT laptops, reflections are a pain in brightly lit environments.

802.11n Wi-Fi has been included, for fast wireless networking. The Samsung also has the older 10/100 Ethernet for wired connections, while Bluetooth is available for wirelessly communicating with compatible devices.

The Samsung's 320GB hard drive should be plenty for most people to carry their important files and media collections. The memory card reader only supports SD cards, which provides less flexibility than other card readers.

We found the Samsung R440-JA01UK to be a usable and well constructed laptop, with a colourful screen and commendable performance. There are few flaws to speak of, making this an easy laptop to recommend.

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