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Laptops

Photos: Hands-on the Samsung R700 with Intel Penryn

Remember the budget Samsung R700 17-inch laptop? Samsung has been busy upgrading it with the very latest Intel Core 2 Duo chips

Last month we put you on to the Samsung R700, a 17-inch desktop replacement that was fantastic value for money. Since then, Samsung has been busy upgrading it with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo chips -- known in the industry as the 'Penryn' series.

The latest update features an Intel T8100 clocked at 2.1GHz, as opposed to the 1.66GHz part found in the old model. This bumps the price up from £570 to around £710, but it's still good value. RAM stays at 2GB of DDR2, you get the same 250GB hard drive, and you get an Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS graphics card, which is fine for running 3D games at a modest pace, playing HD movies and generally messing about on the Internet.

Now we have one of our own to play with, we can tell you a little more about the physical design. Check out the pictures over the following pages and have a good look around this thing -- we think you'll be mildly impressed at the very least. Oh, and when you're done, check back in a day or two for a thorough review, including benchmark tests. Peace. -Rory Reid

Update: Read our full Samsung R700 T8100 review

Remember that pristine black lid? Touch it and within about 37 seconds it's reduced to a mucky, fingerprint-encrusted shambles. It's not a massive problem for most of us, but a neat freak will be compelled to clean it constantly. And we do mean constantly.

Inside is mostly matte black. It's all very neat and tidily arranged -- with most keys where you expect to find them. The only exception here is the annoying backwards arrangement of the Fn and Ctrl keys. On an ordinary desktop keyboard, Ctrl is located at the very bottom left, where power users can quickly use it to invoke common shortcut keys. On the R700 it's the Fn key that's at the very bottom left. Fail.

Samsung has opted to use an HDMI graphics output port instead of DVI. This is a logical move, since most modern displays now use HDMI as an input method. Ordinary analogue D-Sub also makes an appearance round the back.

Each key is coated in Samsung's Silver Nano 'technology', which helps keep them free of harmful bacteria. We're not sure how effective this really is, but it's reassuring if you plan to share the machine with others with questionable personal hygiene. The neat freak will be pleased.

The R700's battery has an integrated charge meter. Push the button and a series of LED lights activate to tell you how much charge is left. This is very handy, as you can learn how much juice you have left without switching the laptop on.