Samsung's P-series laptops are aimed primarily at business users, so they don't have the same flash styling as some of the company's consumer efforts. That said, the 15.6-inch Samsung P530 is no ugly duckling and, priced at around £500, it's very affordable.
Rather than the glossy look that Samsung uses on its consumers laptops, such as the, this model has a more scratch-resistant matte finish. Samsung has tried to jazz up the design with a textured pattern on the lid and keyboard surround. The chassis does feel a little plasticky to the touch, but it's far from flimsy and does give you the confidence that it will stand up to a fair bit of abuse.
The keyboard is sort of a cross between an isolated design and a traditional one. It has the wide, flat keys you find on isolated keyboards, but these are packed together in the same way they are on a traditional model. The keyboard doesn't suffer from the flex you find on some cheaper models and the keys have a fair amount of travel, which makes them feel very responsive under your fingers. Samsung has also managed to find space to fit in both dropped cursor keys and a numerical keypad on the right-hand side.
Like many laptops aimed at business users, the P530's display features a matte rather than gloss coating. This helps to eliminate screen reflections, which in turn makes the screen easier to work with for prolonged periods of time -- ideal when you need to pull a late shift updating Excel spreadsheets or fine-tuning transitions on your PowerPoint presentation.
As with most of today's screens, this one is LED-backlit, so it's very bright and colours look impressively punchy. Its resolution of 1,366x768 pixels is a little pedestrian for a 15-inch model, but the display's viewing angles aren't bad, so you don't have to worry about where you position the screen hinge.
The P530 has 801.11n Wi-Fi on board, but unfortunately, it doesn't have Bluetooth, which is a little puzzling for a business machine. It doesn't excel when it comes to the range of ports on offer, either. It does have both VGA and HDMI sockets for hooking it up to external displays and there are three USB ports, but it lacks an ExpressCard slot and an eSata port, so expansion possibilities are a little limited.