Samsung's RC510 is a very powerful machine for the price. It isn't world-beating, and its graphical performance isn't as hefty as we'd hoped, but it's a solid machine with a clean, clever design.

It's Intel's Core i3 that does the really hard work. It truly is a high-performance chip at a budget price.

We liked

The overall design of the RC510 is a joy – the ports are placed sensibly, the glossy case exudes class and the island-style keyboard tops off the package nicely. Spacing the keys so far apart – further than any of Apple's chiclet keyboards, such as the MacBook's – makes a difference in terms of ham-fisted typos. The contrasting track pad distinguishes itself well from the glossy wrist-rest, too.

Inside, you're gifted with plenty of power, more than we'd expect from a machine of this price. It's very slick in desktop operations, handles high resolution videos well (and renders video quickly too, thanks to the Nvidia CUDA tech on board) and does a decent job at running games.

We disliked

Perhaps we expected too much, but for a machine with 1GB of video memory and a mid-range Nvidia mobile chipset, the Samsung RC510 doesn't seem like it's kicking down the polygon doors with any sort of force. It's capable, don't get us wrong, but unspectacular.

At three and a half hours from new, the battery life isn't up to much. We'd expect that to dwindle slowly the more you use it, as these things tend to do, meaning you'll end up with a machine that's more or less tied to the desktop. It's heavy enough that the RC510 isn't really a mobile device anyway, though – there are smaller, lighter laptops out there.

Finally, we can't get past the resolution of the screen. 1366 x 768 seems to be the res of choice for 16:9 laptops at the moment, but it shouldn't be. You deserve more pixels. This copes fine with 720p video, but it hasn't the space for 1080p.

Verdict

Solid. We've dragged out a few niggles, but you might not even see these as flaws. For the price, this is a very competitive, exquisitely designed laptop with enough power behind it to last for some time to come.