Though the likes of Dell offer the option of colourful lids and designs, in general PC manufacturers shy away from bold colours. Anything grey, black, or brown-ish goes down well, as has white in times past. Samsung, however, is unusual in making its laptops more than a little colourful. For the R580 and R780 we reviewed earlier this year the colour of choice was red, but the new R590 opts for a fetching deep blue instead.
Aside from the change of colour, the R590's chassis is more or less identical to its predecessors. Both the lid and body are punctuated by a pretty swirling pattern, and the touchpad is flanked by small blue LEDs on each corner. One difference, however, is that the R590 has a seamless, flat bezel surrounding the screen. This looks cool, but does suffer reflections worse even than the standard reflective finishes of most laptops.
In general the design is an attractive one. The R590 mightn't be as thin or light as the Q530 we reviewed earlier in the week, but its 2.6kg weight isn't too hefty and it's no thicker than the majority of laptops in this segment. Our only pressing criticism, a common one as it happens, is that the glossy finishes are very fingerprint prone - a problem not present on the Q530.
Where the R590 excels is in its generous specification. Despite actually costing less than the Q530, it boasts a faster 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Added to the 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and a capable 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics card, and the R590 ticks a lot of useful boxes. Also under the features column is the now obligatory 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, not to mention a 1.3-megapixel webcam.
You're unlikely to be left wanting for connectivity, either. There are four USB ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port, while another offers standby USB charging. HDMI and VGA are present, too, and the R590 is unusual in retaining a 34mm ExpressCard slot - useful if you want to add USB 3.0 support, for instance. Also included, but not shown above, is a memory card slot that's on the front edge.