Before buying this machine I compared Acer, Lenovo, Dell and HP. I bought the Samsung primarily because it offered an excellent processor speed (new gen i3) an Island keyboard, DHMI port and several other features I wanted, speed being the most important.
Overall, I believe this machine is excellent value for money and has been performing exceptionally well during its first few weeks of use. I can't really fault it, but in the interest of full detailed review there are a few annoying features, but even with these I believe it is well ahead of competitor products at this price level, with many feature usually only found on more expensive machines
So, the very good points are:
-Island keyboard, which are the raised button type (like apple laptops) are really excellent and usually found only on more expensive machines.
-Screen clarity and performance is excellent, probably the best screen in its class
-Good range of USB and other connectivity ports (but not USB 3)
-Functional simple design, without the design clutter of other models
-Quick start and shut down (sleep mode) are far quicker than other machines
-Outside case is ribbed so does not show finger marks or scratches
-It is very quiet, not much fan and disk noise
-RAM or hard drive upgrade is easily accessible via one removable panel
-Battery life is very good, as long as you use the batter and not leave it plugged into the main, which tends to kill battery performance
-The overall design is nice, doesn't look cheap or too plasticky. Much better than black plastic from othe manufacturers
The slightly annoying points:
-Keyboard has a very small shift key, pretty annoying when you miss it, I am getting use to it, but it should be larger (wider). Lenovo is the same which is why I ruled out that machine, but didn't realise Samsung was the same...oh well !
-Keyboard has a number pad which means the main letter keys are offset to the right and means you have to adopt a slightly left-of-centre typing style, that takes some getting used to. Other manufacturers do the same (except HP / compaq), but not sure why as I can't remember the last time I needed a separate number pad and number keys running under the `F' keys on the main keyboard..madness ! . Is it the bean counters getting their way I wonder !!!
-I sometimes hit the track pad with my palms when typing, inadvertently moving the cursor across the page.
-Mouse pad buttons have a very loud 'click' and lift up a little when you take your finger off them as skin tends to stick to the fake polished steel finish.
-The chassis flexes and bends a little too much. It is not possible to pick up the laptop with one hand near an edge because the chassis does not appear strong enough. It's no more flexible than other machines in this price range however.
-Web cam, no separate operating mode, needs to be used with Skype etc and I can't find out how to turn it on or even instructions how to do so. Would have been nice to operate this to take pics etc
-silver finish might wear and the ribbed finish is not carried over to inside.
-Screen will only tilt down to about 35 degress due contacting main chassis. This is the same on most machines at this price point, but as I am very tall and like my screen tilted a little further down than 35 degrees
Overall, this is a very good laptop for the entry level price. The processor is lighting fast and performance is to match. Set up is very easy and Samsung supply a good built in user guide which is simplicity itself. You can't expect business level laptop robustness or build at this price point and that does show, the whole machine feels slightly delicate, but no more so than competitors. For me the Acer and Toshiba came a close second to this machine when I made my buying decision. The reason for choosing this machine was a simple uncluttered design, next generation i3 processor and a better keyboard than competitors. If I was buying again, I'd probably buy a MacBook or alternative 500-1000 pound machine, I think in the long run it would be a better investment resulting in a more robust machine with a more thoroughly user tested experience. At this price however, I think the Samsung is as much (and more) than you could ask for and it's a nicely thought out and considered design.