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Is it any wonder notebooks are taking over the world? Only a little while ago we looked at the Medion Akoya S5610, which won our Recommended Award by offering so much for so little. And though you can still get better-specified desktop systems for less money than the Akoya's £500 asking price, there is simply no comparing to the all-in-one convenience and portability of a notebook.
Samsung has always been a strong player in the value notebook market, also winning its fair share of awards on TR. At just over £650, its new R560 Notebook might not seem all that affordable, until you consider the impressive specifications this 15.4in machine brings to the table, including discrete nVidia 9600GS graphics.
It is part of Samsung's extensive Touch of Colour range, which in the case of notebooks gets you a band of colour across the palm-rest, visible whether the notebook is open or closed. For now, this means you'd better like red, since it's the only colour available and though we feel the implementation isn't nearly as subtle or attractive as on the company's LE32A656 32in LCD TV, many will still like the way it complements the rest of the R560's piano black chassis.
As ever, the glossy black finish is a fingerprint-magnet, so it's a good thing Samsung always provides a soft cleaning cloth. As long as you don't mind the high maintenance, it provides an attractive look.
Samsung's name is moulded in silver lettering on the lid, which works well against the shiny black. Opening the notebook up, it's aesthetically very similar to the previous Rose Red TOC notebooks we reviewed, the Q310 and the Q210. In fact, the only change is a silver trim that now separates the matte charcoal touchpad from its glossy black and red surroundings. This is complemented by a narrow silver strip above the keyboard and though combined they provide a little contrast, opinions in office were divided as to whether they were improvement over previous offerings.
Above the keyboard there's a dotted section, which does a good job of hiding the perforated speaker grills, while the power button sits flush with this section, glowing blue when the R560 is turned on. Likewise the activity indicators for hard drive or wireless activity and such are blue when active, easily visible from the notebook's front even with the lid closed. Surrounding the 15.4 inch screen is a matte screen bezel that will please many and this is matched by a matte keyboard, so at least you can't muddy the keyboard with your greasy fingers.