Samsung's R519 represents an affordable way into laptop ownership. Despite its low price, it has a modern design and sports a widescreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

The 15.6-inch screen is colourful and offers detailed images with good contrast. The glossy Super-TFT coating results in reflections in direct sunlight and it's not one of the brighter screens we have seen.

It's more than good enough for indoor use, however, where the widescreen aspect ratio makes it ideal for movie playback or viewing a couple of documents side by side.

The graphics card is an integrated Intel solution, offering enough power to carry out office tasks and watch DVDs, but you won't be able to play games.

It's a reasonably power-efficient solution and enables this machine to run for 193 minutes between charges.

Noisy keyboard

The keyboard offers good usability, with large keys that are firmly attached. It's not the quietest board, however, rattling noisily during use.

The plastics lack the high-quality feel of the Packard Bell EasyNote TJ65-AU-010UK and Acer Aspire 5410T-723G25Mn, although it's still a robust machine.

You'll find black plastics used throughout the chassis and it makes for a very conservative design. Even the Samsung logo below the screen is finished in black.

A budget Intel Pentium processor has been used to keep costs down, although, running at 2.16GHz, it is quite powerful. Multi-tasking is a possibility, as it's a dual-core chip, although the 2048MB of memory is limited in this company.

The 250GB hard drive offers ample storage space and should hold all of your files and folders.

There's a tri-format DVD rewriter on the right-hand side, letting you copy files to blank DVDs and CDs, and Samsung also bundles its own Recovery Solution III software, letting you easily create system backups and offering protection should anything happen to your hard drive.

A flash memory card reader lets you access files from digital cameras and other devices.

Wireless networking is provided by 802.11g Wi-Fi, with 10/100 Ethernet in place for fixed connections. Three USB ports are lined up on the left-hand side of the chassis.

You'll be able to connect an external display via an analogue VGA cable but, unlike some of its rivals, high definition displays are not supported.

The R519 may not offer the style or premium feel of some of the other laptops, but it does offer an excellent platform for no-frills computing. If you're after a cheap machine simply to browse the internet or create documents on, then this is well worth a look.

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