Not only is the Samsung R530 a great looking laptop, it also boasts great usability, performance and portability - and all at a very competitive price.
We very rarely see laptops that have exciting designs at this price point, but the Samsung took us by surprise with its moody red and black lid and mock brushed-aluminium palmrest – this is the sort of styling we would expect to see on a laptop costing significantly more.
It might not appeal to everyone, but it certainly helps the laptop stand out in the crowd and we like it a lot.
Build quality is also decent and, although the chassis doesn't feel as substantial as the Acer Aspire 5732Z-443G32Mn, it's quite a bit lighter, making it a better travel companion.
Its battery life is also decent - at 244 minutes - and will keep you productive on the road for quite a while.
The keyboard is excellent, with the typing action proving surprisingly firm and the travel smooth. The touchpad is fast and responsive, and also features Samsung's now trademark lighting effects round the edge, which make it easy to use in low light conditions, such as the cabin on a plane.
The 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel resolution screen is good, with brightness, detail and colour reproduction all excellent, making this laptop a great choice for watching films and viewing photos.
Using an Intel Pentium processor, performance is fairly standard, but you'll have no problem running office applications, such as email clients and word processing documents, as well as working with more resource-intensive programs for advanced uses.
The integrated Intel GPU is exactly the same as many others, but has the least available video memory. While this means the Samsung should provide the worst graphics performance, it in fact produces a very solid result with a 3DMark 2003 score of 1771. Photo editing and basic video editing is possible, as will playing older internet games.
802.11n Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet are on board, as are three USB ports for connecting up peripherals such as your smartphone or MP3 player. An HDMI out is also included for hooking the laptop up to a digital external display such, as your high-definition (HD) TV or projector.
The more we used the Samsung R530, the more we liked it. Performance is above average and the design and usability of the machine really endeared it to us.
If that wasn't enough, there's also decent portability chucked in for good measure, making this machine a good choice indeed.
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