Samsung's RV511-S01UK is a great all-round laptop. From its excellent keyboard to the dedicated graphics, there's a lot to recommend.

One of Intel's previous-generation Core i3 processors is in charge and capably runs everything you throw at it, from word processors and web browsers to complex design software.

An impressive 6GB of memory is tonboard and keeps everything running smoothly. If your studies involve heavy design and editing work – for instance, touching up photos and videos or constructing artistic masterpieces – the Samsung is a great choice, thanks to its basic dedicated Nvidia graphics card.

Not only can you edit your media, you can also kick back and enjoy Full HD video or indulge in light gaming.

Of course, you'll need a decent screen so you can comfortably work all night on your course work (or indulge in a marathon of BBC iPlayer shows). While this laptop's display isn't very bright, and can't match the crisp images produced by the Packard Bell, it's still a colourful panel that produces vibrant images. We enjoyed browsing our photo collections and happily worked for hours at a time.

Decent speakers

Laptops are rarely given plaudits for their sound quality, but the Samsung's built-in speakers are surprisingly decent. Bass levels are almost non-existent, but you can definitely enjoy some music or watch a film without spending extra on external speakers.

At 2.5kg, the Samsung isn't the lightest laptop around and the battery was poor. We managed only 136 minutes of use when watching a movie before the laptop powered down, although you'll get closer to three hours if you restrict yourself to word processing and other basic tasks. If you need a machine to carry to classes each day, the Packard Bell EasyNote NS44 HR-033UK is still a much better option.

Tech Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 136 minutes
Cinebench: 7698
3DMark 2006: 10,383

While the brushed-metal body won't win any beauty awards, and something like the Dell Inspiron 15r stands out a lot more, it's still a smart design and feels reassuringly firm in all areas. Even better, it hides dust, dirt and other scuff marks well. A stunning portable it isn't, but at least it won't look its age too soon.

The Samsung is also one of the most usable laptops on the market, thanks to its wide isolation-style keyboard. Each key is separated from its neighbour, as they poke up through individual holes cut in the chassis. This makes it great for touch-typing, as you're less likely to hit the wrong key.

Samsung rv511

Anyone who has to work with spreadsheets for their studies will also appreciate the dedicated numeric keypad.

A generous 640GB hard drive gives you plenty of room for your files and applications, as well as thousands of photos and songs. Wireless networking is also fast, thanks to the built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi support.

While there are more portable and desirable machines, the Samsung delivers on almost all fronts, and at a price that can't be beaten. Performance is solid, due to the Intel Core processor and generous amount of memory, while the vibrant screen and decent speakers make it a good machine for enjoying movies and TV shows.

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