Samsung's R610 is available in various guises, and with an onboard Blu-ray Disc drive it is remarkable value.

Following current fashion, the Samsung R610-AS01UK gleams in a high-gloss black lacquer-like finish, inside and out, excepting the front edge of the main body which has a neat red gradient. Embedded within this area, to the left of the offset trackpad, are hidden light indicators that glow from behind the paintwork.

The Samsung R610-AS01UK's fit and finish is very good. The R610 is also the only Blu-ray laptop we've tested with a full HD screen, so that high-definition films will be played without any cropping or resizing. And the screen itself is good in terms of quality as well as quantity. Despite its high-gloss finish it's legible thanks to its remarkable sharpness and clarity.

The keyboard takes Samsung's special coating of nano-particles, which is designed to help keep it clean and free of bacteria. The Samsung R610-AS01UK's wide body accommodates the 16in 16:9 widescreen display panel but also means that there's space for a full numerical keypad to the right of the qwerty keys.

For BD film playback, Samsung includes CyberLink PowerDVD BD Edition software. The Samsung R610-AS01UK showed unacceptable interlacing artefacts under close scrutiny on some discs' fast moving scenes. Playback control was very good, with useful user controls for different playback modes.

Under Test Centre scrutiny it emerged that performance was this laptop's Achilles' heel: the Samsung R610-AS01UK produced a WorldBench 6 score of 80 points, the lowest of all the Blu-ray models we've tested. However, this was to be expected given its 2GHz CPU - and its significantly lower price than other BD models.

We are less forgiving about its very poor showing of 2hrs 1 minute in our MobileMark battery life test. This isn't an aspect that Samsung should have scrimped on and we were not impressed. The Samsung R610-AS01UK packs a dedicated graphics card in the shape of an nVidia 9200M GS, and even includes 512MB of video RAM which should assist in high-resolution playback. In our FEAR 3D graphics test it achieved an average frame rate of 16fps, which means you'll need to lower your expectations and detail settings to play the latest games.

OUR VERDICT

Well finished and very well specified, the Samsung R610-AS01UK is a promising laptop for all-round use, and the nearest thing to a favourite on test. We would have liked to have seen useful battery life though.