Where once the 15-inch laptop ruled the roost, now all the main manufacturers seem to want to produce are humungous entertainment machines with 17-inch screens or tiny for those with pixie-sized fingers. We suppose this makes the Samsung R560, with its 15.4-inch display, something of a back-to-basics offering, but, priced at around £700, does it represent good value for money?
The R560 is part of Samsung's 'Touch of Colour' line-up, which encompasses a range of products, from TVs to laptops. The colour comes in the form of a red streak that runs across the palm rest and gradually blends into the glossy black finish on the rest of the laptop. It's a pleasant change that helps the machine stand out from the crowd, without appearing ostentatious.
In terms of ergonomics, the R560 is well laid out. The large keyboard is comfortable to type on and the smooth trackpad and chunky buttons are a pleasure to use. Some may bemoan the lack of a dedicated keypad, but, on a laptop of this size, we think it's wise of Samsung to use the extra space for the main keyboard.
The Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 ticks over at 2GHz and, although it's not the fastest processor in the world, it will handle most day-to-day tasks with ease. Samsung has added a generous helping of RAM -- 4GB. It's not surprising then that the R560 posted a score of 4,480 in PCMark05, which is highly respectable for a laptop in this price bracket.
Also, given the R560's price, the powerful Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS GPU is something of a surprise. It helped the R560 score 5,693 in our 3DMark06 test, which is good for a laptop in this class and means that, if you turn down the detail in new games, it will make a fair fist of running them.
The R560's battery life isn't half bad either. In the intensive Battery Eater Classic test, it managed to keep going for 2 hours and 5 minutes before needing a recharge.