Samsung was one of the first laptop manufacturers to put a Blu-ray drive in a more competitively priced laptop, and while the R780 isn't what you'd call budget, it is highly affordable and offers fantastic value for money.

Having said that, the Blu-ray experience is a little disappointing. The 17.3-inch screen features only a 1600 x 900-pixel resolution - far from a 1920 x 1080-pixel Full HD resolution - and this really shows during playback.

Images are sharp enough, but colours are very washed out, with blacks especially suffering.

You can connect the laptop to your high-definition (HD) TV using the HDMI out port and enjoy Blu-ray discs this way, but it isn't an ideal option.

Nevertheless, this is still one of the best looking laptops around and boasts a swirl pattern with a red and black design. It doesn't show dirt easily either, meaning it manages to always look smart.

Solid build

Build quality is good, with the laptop's panels proving sturdy under pressure. This firmness translates to the keyboard which provides an excellent typing experience. The isolated-key style has been employed, and there's also a dedicated numeric keypad for the regular number-crunchers.

Samsung build

The touchpad is large, responsive and features lights positioned in each corner. This looks great and makes it easier to use in low light.

One complaint we do have, however, is it's very easy to brush the touchpad while typing, causing erratic cursor behaviour, which is very irritating.

The laptop's portability is mixed. While the 2.9kg it weighs is remarkably light, the 169-minute battery life is a bit of a disappointment, as we expect a minimum of 180 minutes from all modern laptops. Part of the reason for the short battery life is the powerful but resource-intensive components used.

The Intel Core i5 processor is cutting-edge technology and provides performance second only to the Acer Aspire 8942G-526G64Bi – quite an achievement considering the price difference.

A powerful Nvidia GPU is included and provides good 3D performance - just behind the Acer Aspire 8942G-526G64Bi and Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H. This means that editing your holiday snaps and videos won't be an issue whatsoever.

802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are included, although it's worth noting that there's no ExpressCard slot, which might put some buyers off. A chargeable USB port is included for charging battery-powered peripherals when the laptop is off.

Despite its shortcomings, the R780 offers great value for money. While the Blu-ray playback is much better quality than DVD, it still falls behind the stiff competition.

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