The Samsung R530-JA03’s bright, eye-catching design makes a refreshing change to the traditional budget laptop design: business-like slabs of black or grey.

Our review sample Samsung R530-JA03 came with a natty red pattered lid and liberal use of sweeping curves. It’s all part of a design which Samsung claims is as much about durability as it is about looks.

Opening up the Samsung R530-JA03's lid reveals a brushed-metal effect wrist rest, housing a two-button touchpad from behind which strategically placed LEDs emit a soft blue glow. The keyboard is without any dedicated control buttons, but comes with a full numeric keypad, while the cursor keys have been dropped down a little towards the touchpad for each access and recognition.

Another one of the larger laptops in this group, the Samsung R530-JA03 manages to weigh rather less than competing models of a similar size – yet still finds room for a DVD burner.

Gaming aside, performance of the Samsung R530-JA03 is the best of the bunch. Its 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 helped it to achieve a WorldBench 6 score of 93 points, which is a significant lead over even the Acer Aspire 5740 with its shiny new Core i3 chip. Remember though, the T6600 doesn’t have the improved built-in graphics capability of the Core i3, leaving the Samsung R530 with slower GMA 4500M integrated graphics.

Battery life also turned out to be rather good on the Samsung R530-JA03. Its near- 5 hour run with MobileMark 2007 meant it out-last all but the much smaller Toshiba Satellite T130 by a significant margin. It may be a little more expensive at £499, but coming out with the best system performance and excellent battery life at the same time is no mean feat.

There are a few things missing from the Samsung R530-JA03: our review model had no Bluetooth support and comes with only a 250GB hard drive which may seem stingy next to the 320GB drives supplied by almost everyone else.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Samsung R530-JA03: Specs

  • 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600
  • 15.6in glossy LED-backlit, 1366x768 display
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 250GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M (integrated)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • SD/SDHC/MMC webcam
  • 44Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 380x256x30-36.2mm
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600
  • 15.6in glossy LED-backlit, 1366x768 display
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 250GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M (integrated)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • SD/SDHC/MMC webcam
  • 44Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 380x256x30-36.2mm

OUR VERDICT

If you want small and light, the Samsung R530-JA03 isn’t the laptop for you. And if you want to try games, then think again. But, if you want great performance, style, build quality and useful battery life, the R530 is well worth your consideration.

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