Over the past few years, Samsung has repeatedly impressed us with its budget laptops, and the Samsung R510 is no exception, offering a good specification including a Dual core Pentium CPU, 2GB of RAM, a HDMI output, quality materials and a comfortable interface.
As with the other laptops here, the R510 features a 15.4-inch display. It's bright and crisp. We found colours appeared slightly washed out, however, despite the Super-TFT coating, and blacks and dark colours appear lighter than we'd like. The glossy coating also increases reflections, making it more difficult to work in bright conditions.
An integrated Intel chip controls the graphics, resulting in moderate multimedia performance. DVDs and movie files run without trouble, as do regular office tasks, but you'll have to spend more money if you're seeking a gaming machine.
The 15.4-inch screen creates plenty of space for a good-sized keyboard which offers great usability. It proved highly robust to type on, with large and comfortable keys, although it's not quite as tough as the very impressive Toshiba Satellite Pro A300-1OQ. The touchpad is also responsive and precise, helping to make this laptop quite comfortable to use.
The chassis is constructed from sturdy black plastics and, although it is quite a plain design, it's very well made. The glossy finish to the lid quickly attracts fingerprints, however, and we would suggest a protective case if you want to keep it looking good as new.
As with three other machines here, there's a 2GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core processor in place, along with 2048MB of memory. Performance is good, with enough power to run a few applications simultaneously without too much lag.
The system does tend to slow down when running very intensive programs, such as virus scanners, but otherwise runs smoothly at all other times. Battery life, at around three and a half hours, is average.
Unusually at this price, you'll find an HDMI port for hooking the laptop up to a high-definition TV. Gigabit Ethernet offers the fastest fixed network connections currently possible, letting you download files and browse the web at speed. 802.11g Wi-Fi also lets you join wireless networks when in range.
The 120GB hard drive matches the Toshiba, but offers a lot less storage space than the other two laptops in this group. A multi-format DVD rewriter lets you easily back up your files, and an SD card reader is also in place.
Well made, comfortable and with a reasonable set of features, the Samsung R510 is a good laptop, and will suit the casual user as well as the business user on a budget.