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The large glossy black lid is a fingerprint magnet, but keep it clean and it looks great. The interior is all black, and even though it looks plasticky, it doesn't feel overtly like a budget model.

Samsung R700

Samsung’s desktop replacement is, unlike many of its rivals, a laptop with genuine potential, which despite its size and power, still manages to look good.

The large glossy black lid is a fingerprint magnet, but keep it clean and it looks great. The interior is all black, and even though it looks plasticky, it doesn’t feel overtly like a budget model.

It’s well built, too. The lid protects it from all but the most heavy-handed of prods and twists, and the base has only a slight hit of flex in it – surprising given its size.

A large chassis gives plenty of room for a fine, good-feeling keyboard, and that’s exactly what the R700 delivers. Each key has a nice light action, the layout is spacious and sensible, and there’s even space for a dedicated numeric keypad. We particularly liked the dainty click of the trackpad’s buttons.

And despite its 17-inch screen and larger dimensions, the R700 doesn’t weigh much more than many of the smaller laptops here. At 3.06kg it’s still a bit too heavy to carry every day, but it’s manageable. And with light use, battery life stretches to an unlikely four hours, with heavy use reducing this to one hour and 18 minutes.

Its longevity is matched by good performance. The Intel Core 2 Due T5450 trails its faster stablemates, but a score of 0.87 in our 2D benchmarks is still more than acceptable. And to even things up, the Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS graphics got the best result here – it’s one of the few machines on test with genuine gaming abilities.

For £477, Samsung’s R700 offers a superbly well-balanced desktop replacement. It’s good enough for most tasks, has usable 3D graphics, it’s quite light and is blessed with real stamina.

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